Life's Little Bets
Out of the blue, a relative sends you a gift of 1000 euros. A nice sum of money, but not quite enough to purchase that dream home, let alone retire on. You decide to use this unexpected handout to play the French National Lottery, where the prize money announced is more than you’ve ever dreamed. Even if the probability of winning is slim, surely persistence can pay off. You decide to wager 20 Euros each week during the next year, with the idea of doubling down on the next bet with your eventual winnings. How much will you have won in one year's time?Read more
Analytics is also about solving life's little problems – like finding a parking space at the beach….
After the results of Sunday’s French elections, we decided to head off to the beach at the Old Port of Biarritz for the extended weekend break. A short hour’s drive from our apartment in Pau, the challenge of staying in Biarritz is finding a parking space anywhere close to the seaside hotels. As you drive through the town’s narrow streets, the parking spaces become few and far between. The eternal question for anyone who looks at the data (or at least at the beach) is: should I take the first available parking space and walk a couple of kilometers to the hotel, or wait until maybe a find a closer spot?Read more
"I just don’t have the time to make better decisions…."
Former Watergate chronicler Bob Woodward spoke passionately last weekend about the importance of taking our time in getting the facts right when taking decisions for ourselves and influencing those around us.  The high potential managers in the audience smiled wryly, for they know only too well that the pressures of modern management have made time the rarest commodity of all. They have just too many decisions to take every day – there just isn’t any time to think about the best obtainable version of the truth.Read more
Que signifie la capacité de prendre de meilleures décisions pour vous et vos clients ?
Peu importe si notre regard porte sur la politique, l’économie ou la société, chaque jour semble apporter son lot de mauvaises prises de décisions. Jack Zenger et Joseph Folkman en ont récemment identifié les causes : la négligence, le manque d’anticipation, l’indécision et l’isolement. Est-ce que notre lecture quotidienne de fausses nouvelles, de faux fats et d’opinions manipulées est la cause ou le résultat de décisions contestables ? Que peut-on faire pour améliorer nos compétences sur la prise de décision dans nos organisations, pour nos clients et dans nos carrières ?Read more
And if Digital Transformation wasn't the end goal?
On one level I greatly enjoyed last week’s Fnege conference on digital transformation, on the other I can’t help but feel that somehow we are missing the point. The conference topics focsed on the the keys to the digital transformation of organizations, the importance of the digital economy, and the importance of customer value. The presentations by Essec’s Nicolas GLADY, Insead’s Axel TAGLIAVINI, and Catherine MONGENET of Fun-MOOC on the importance of digital platforms, practices and Moocs were all interesting in their own right. Yet, despite the brillance of the orators, several critical points on the role of digital technologies, the nature of digital economy, and the value of customer perceptions went largely unaddressed.Read more
Comment définir une grande décision ?
Nos conférences sur l'amélioration de la prise de décision conduisent inévitablement à des questions sur la meilleure manière de prendre des décisions. Dans notre esprit, il existe une distinction claire entre bonnes, meilleures et grandes décisions. De bonnes décisions sont possibles dans des environnements décisionnels « déterministes » dans lesquels la bonne réponse se trouve dans les données disponibles. Malheureusement, la plupart des décisions d'affaires sont prises dans des environnements « stochastiques » dans lesquels la bonne décision ne peut être déduite des données disponibles. Dans ces cas, il faut privilégier les meilleures décisions possibles afin de réduire les causes d'incertitude. Enfin, de grandes décisions sont celles dans lesquelles le contexte, les défis et les solutions nous permettent de réexaminer la nature même du processus décisionnel.Read more
The Decisive Moment
During our trip to Paris last week we took the time to visit the Henri Cartier-Bresson Foundation near Montparnasse. The exhibit on the second floor is dedicated to one hundred twenty odd photographs published in the 1952 collection “The Decisive Moment”. The beauty and the orginality of this work sparked a generous debate over the existence of “decisive moments”. Are there rare, specific points in time when everything seems to fall in place? Are these the fleeting moments that define important decisions, spawn innovation, and make leaders great?Read more
What exactly is a “Great Decision”?
Our workshops on improving decision-making inevitably lead to questions on what better decision-making really means. In our minds, there is a clear distinction between good, better, and great decisions. Good decisions are possible in deterministic decision environments in which the right answer is in the data at hand. Unfortunately, most business decisions are taken in stochastic environments in which the right decision cannot be deduced from the available data – but better decisions are possible in reducing the causes of uncertainly. Finally, great decisions are those in which the context, challenges and solutions allow us to re-examine the nature of the decision-making process itself.Read more
Is leadership just an illusion in an economy in which everyone prefers posting to listening?
With a regularity surpassing that of the timeless migration of Artic terns, I ask my management students to explore and explain how birds flock together. After discussing whether birds have leaders and followers, we explore various hypotheses of where they learned to fly south. We then compare such bird flocks to markets, corporations, and territories with similar questions about leadership, followship and organizational learning. In an “attention economy”[i] in which everyone is posting and no one seems to be listening we can justifiably wonder whether any one “bird” has the vision, charisma, information to lead the flock.Read more
If our leaders are making up the facts as they go along, do we really need to look at the data?
Given the course of current events, I try to take a few minutes each day to read various interviews and analysis of our political and economic leadership on both sides of the “Pond”. Try as I might, I’m having trouble ignoring the claims of faked facts, fake news and radically divergent opinions. In an age where empirical data is omnipresent, I can’t help but worry that a significant percentage of our political and economic leadership seems to be making things up as they go along. Perhaps our daily realities are too complex, too uncertain, and too ambiguous to make sense of the data at hand. Perhaps our decision-making process is flawed when we tend to use the facts only to support our own beliefs and prejudices. In any case, we can legitimately ask whether data has become useless, or whether we need data more than ever.Read more