Thinking different with decision analysis

January 20, 2010

When Wayne Eckerson foresees a trend, it’s news even if others might have already foreseen it. He’s the director of TDWI Research and one of the industry’s most thoughtful observers, and one of the most deliberate.

In this morning’s blog post, he suggests improving BI by enlisting those who study how people make decisions.

To take BI to the next level, we need better insights into human behavior and perception. In other words, it’s time to recruit psychologists onto our BI teams.

He gave an example of one place that could have benefited from visits to the shrink’s couch.

A recent article in the Boston Globe called “Think Different, CIA” provides some instructive lessons for companies using BI tools to make decisions. The article describes a phenomenon that psychologists call “premature cognitive closure” to explain how humans in general, and intelligence analysts in particular, can get trapped by false assumptions, which can lead to massive intelligence failures. It turns out that humans over the course of eons have become great at filtering lots of data quickly to make sense of a situation. Unfortunately, those filters often blind us to additional