Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Questioning value of intuitive decisions in shaping system performance

It is hard for us to understand how the system works because the constantly changing interactions between people and processes are mostly invisible, complex, non-linear, hard for our brain to digest and for computers to model.  As a result, we often make system decisions partly based on interpretation of simplistically computed data and partly by trusting our intuition unaware of cognitive biases shaped by what we see and by our experiences. The problem is that what each of us see and experience is different. 

To avoid these biases, we need to get closer to the truth beyond numerical values representing the system outcome and express it in an easy-to-understand, actionable way, so that the risk of underperformance in cost and service quality is kept at the lowest level. 

We can get there if we start learning from cross-system variables, focus on what matters from system perspective, put it in a meaningful context, and know what questions to ask before our gut feelings slip in. In this way, we are allowing smart system analytics and intuition to work in concert.

The practical framework for making system decisions is described in the second edition of my book ‘Beyond Airline Disruptions: Thinking and Managing Anew’ and are at the core of my consulting work.