Explain innovative techniques for decision making, including brainstorming, evidence-based management, and after-action reviews.

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A. Start with Brainstorming

1. One of the best-known techniques for rapidly generating creative alternatives brainstorming. Brainstorming uses a face-to-face group to spontaneously suggest abroad range of alternatives for decision making. The keys to effective brainstorming that people can build on one another’s ideas, all ideas are acceptable no matter how crazy they seem, and criticism and evaluation are not allowed. The goal is to generate as many ideas as possible

2. Electronic brainstorming, called brainwriting, brings people together in an interactive group over a computer network. Recent studies show that electronic brainstorming generates about 40 percent more ideas than individual brainstorming alone and 25 to 200 percent more than groups.

B. Engage in Rigorous Debate

1. An important key to better decision making under conditions of uncertainty is to encourage a vigorous debate of the issue at hand. Good managers recognize that constructive conflict based on different points of view can focus a problem, clarify ideas, and stimulate creative thinking. It can also create a broader understanding of issues and alternatives, and improve broader decision quality. There are several ways to stimulate rigorous debate

a. One way is by ensuring diversity in terms of age and gender, a functional area of expertise, hierarchical level, and experience with the business.

b. Some groups assign a devil’s advocate, who has the role of challenging the assumptions and assertions made by the group.

c. Another approach is to have group members develop as many alternatives as they can as quickly as they can.

d. Another approach is a technique called point-counterpoint, a technique in which two subgroups assigned competing points of view. The two groups then develop and exchange proposals and discuss the various options until they arrive at an acommon set of understandings

C. Avoid Groupthink

1. Avoiding groupthink helps groups make better decisions. Groupthink refers to the tendency of people in groups to suppress contrary opinions. When people slip into groupthink, the desire for harmony outweighs concerns over decision quality. Group members emphasize maintaining unity rather than really challenging problems and alternatives. Some disagreement and conflict are much healthier than blind agreement.

2. Even though the new workplace encourages risk-taking and learning from mistakes, it also teaches a person to know when to pull the plug on something that isn’t working. Escalating commitment means that organizations often continue to invest time and money in a solution despite strong evidence that it is not appropriate to do so. Managers might block or distort negative information because they don’t want to be responsible for a bad decision, or might not accept that their decision is wrong.

“Evidence-based management (EBM) is an emerging movement to explicitly use the current, best evidence in management and decision-making. Its roots are in empiricism and well developed in evidence-based medicine and evidence-based policy. These are quality movements aimed at applying the scientific method to evaluating practice. With EBM the main components are Scientific Evidence, Organizational Evidence, Experiential Evidence, and Stakeholder Evidence. The first source of evidence is scientific research published in academic journals. The second source of evidence is the organization itself. Organizational evidence comes in many forms. The third source of evidence is the professional experience and judgment of managers, consultants, business leaders, and other practitioners. The fourth source of evidence is stakeholder values and concerns. Stakeholders are any individuals or groups who may be affected by an organization’s decisions and their consequences. Most management decisions are not based on the best available evidence. Instead, practitioners often prefer to make decisions rooted solely in their personal experience. However, personal judgment alone is not a very reliable source of evidence because it is highly susceptible to systematic errors – cognitive and information-processing limits make us prone to biases that have negative effects on the quality of the decisions we make.” EBM is important to help any business succeed as well as maintain proper structure

An after-action review is a detailed examination and discussion of the events that occurred, from the first detection to final recovery. This is usually performed in the incident response process. Incident Response consists of four phases: Planning, Detection, Reaction, and Recovery. An after-action review is most commonly performed in the recovery phase before returning to routine duties. It is done in order to learn from the event. The after-action review should force team members to review their actions during the incident and identify areas in which the incident response plan worked, didn’t work, or should be improved. The final documented AAR can serve as a training case for the future


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