Complex Decision–Prevent Groupthink

PROBLEM: A professional association was formulating its three year plan. The group that had to develop and approve it consisted of 22 members from around the country. The problem was that all of the members were leaders in their own right and strong willed, and with different needs and opinions. The 22 opinions took a considerable time, effort and frustration to work out. Historically, these meetings were long and drawn out with lengthy argument and sometimes acrimonious debate. The new leadership of the association decide to try the software in order to reduce the contention and enhance the quality of the result.

BREAKTHROUGH: With the use of the software the entire atmosphere changed. For the first time they could clearly see the different views directly in front of them in immediate comparison. Most of the possible alternatives were quickly seen to be inadequate on several of the criteria. What was interesting is that even the individuals who supported those losing views could see it and accepted the conclusion. That was something that had not occurred previously since these members would often argue at length for their losing position. That was the breakthrough. The entire process went considerably faster. They also they achieved almost unanimous support for the conclusion, because, due to the software, everyone could see its value visually right there in front of them. As a consequence, commitment was distinctly higher than ever before. That was another breakthrough.

ESTIMATED VALUE: millions of dollars

June 10th, 2013 Posted by Professor Zangwill

Competitive Bidding–Role Play Produces Win

PROBLEM: A firm was in a competitive bidding situation. If they won the deal it would be a sizable benefit for the firm. They had worked hard on the proposal and were confident they had done an excellent job and would win. Just to check and be doubly sure, they applied the software. It identified that their proposal would lose, this opposite of what they believed. This astounded the partners since they had put considerable thought into the proposal and felt it was excellent.

BREAKTHROUGH: A careful examination of the analysis, however, validated that the software was correct. It helped them see the reasoning from the viewpoint of the firm that was the customer, the one that was going to select the best bid. They thought they had considered that, but the software helped them do it significantly more precisely and to perceive the problems. It also helped them see the inadequacies with their proposal and what to do about it. They then developed a brand new proposal with an entirely different strategy. That was the breakthrough. It took considerable effort including adding new members to the team, but with the new proposal, they ended up winning the deal.

ESTIMATED VALUE: millions of dollars

June 10th, 2013 Posted by Professor Zangwill

Acquisition–Turns Loss Into Success and Corrects Financial Analysis

PROBLEM: Acquisition in India. Management considered a variety of factors via the traditional means of analysis and discussion. A financial analysis confirmed that the acquisition in India would be good.

As a quick check, they then applied the software, just to be sure. The software issued a huge suprise warning of 40%. It also warned them of possible biases, that they were overeager to grow quickly and that was possibly distorting their thinking and erroneously inflating the value of the acquisition.

BREAKTHROUGH: The software helped them see that the Indian acquisition as incorrect.There would be too many problems with the government and the labor situation. Instead, with the software they were able to develop a superior concept, that they should have acquired the US subsidiary only. This would cut the risk substantially and yielded significant profits, a demonstrably better opportunity. That was the breakthrough.

The first financial analysis that confirmed the value of the Indian acquisition was overly optimistic due to their bias in favor of a big acquisition to help them quickly grow large. Acquiring only the US subsidiary was validated financially but with data deemed more accurate and more objective due to the the software analysis.

ESTIMATED VALUE: millions of dollars

June 10th, 2013 Posted by Professor Zangwill

New Products—Avoid Surprise

The Situation: New product development

The Challenge: The management of a [industry] company had developed two new product ideas. After devoting a great deal of time and resources to the idea generation process, they were quite satisfied with the results.

But when they applied Decision Command, they were stunned. The software alerted them to a 31 percent probability that they had missed an opportunity—possibly a major one. The management team knew they couldn’t leave a potentially profitable idea on the table. To identify that idea, they had to revisit the product development process.

The Breakthrough: Once again, the management team turned to Decision Command. The software prompted them to conceive two new products based on concepts that had previously not been considered. These new ideas were considerably better than the original ones. By identifying the gaps in the decision-making, Decision Command alerted the team to the most promising options available.

Estimated Value: Approximately million $$$

June 6th, 2013 Posted by Professor Zangwill