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2020 Session 1

Test Drive Your Critical Decisions


Why do so many critical business decisions go awry? And what can leaders do to improve decision quality and outcomes? This presentation answers the first question using the Law of Unintended Consequences (LUC), which states that attempts to intervene in complex situations tend to produce unexpected and often unpleasant consequences. We explain the primary causes of LUC − cognitive biases and bounded rationality. Next, we present a method for improving decisions by “bending” LUC. This method, called a decision   “test drive,” combines scenario planning and “what-if” simulations to help leaders practice critical decisions and learn safely from virtual rather than real mistakes. This process helps leaders improve their anticipation of the future, reducing the frequency and severity of unintended consequences. Finally, we illustrate this method in action by presenting a test drive solution for strategies to manage transformational change. Test driving change strategies is crucial because disruptive business decisions often fail not because they are unsound, but rather because companies don’t adapt and embrace the internal changes those decisions entail.

Tuesday 9th June 2020
1:00pm - 1:50pm 



Richard M. Adler is a management consultant, software architect, executive, author, and speaker. He has more than three decades of experience building software tools and applications to automate and improve business operations and critical decision-making. Richard has worked for Control Data, MITRE, Computer Sciences Corporation, as well as start-up companies including Symbiotics, Avrio, and DecisionPath. Early in his career, Richard developed artificial intelligence systems, including an operations support solution for the Launch Processing System for NASA’s Space Shuttle Fleet. As the founder and president of DecisionPath, he created advanced decision support solutions for problems including competitive marketing, counter-terrorism strategy, and enabling organizational change. Richard has published on topics including intelligent and distributed systems, simulation, homeland security, and knowledge management. He holds advanced degrees in Physics and the Philosophy of Physics.

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