4 items tagged "Decision Making"

  • 3 Strategic Questions the Media Industry’s Future Depends On

    There is no question that the media industry is experiencing dramatic disruption on many fronts—in the way it creates content, distributes content to consumers, and monetizes audiences. These changes are driven by seismic shifts in consumer behavior and an explosion of both consumer- and B2B-facing technologies. The disruption reveals itself in the fast growth of newer content brands like Refinery29 and Vice, the increased use of technologies like Outbrain and Taboola to drive traffic, and the growth of programmatic approaches to advertising revenue. As we reflect on disruption across the industry there are key strategic questions, all of which fundamentally consider balance:

    • What is the right balance between humans and technology across the full media and advertising ecosystem?
    • How do we maximize our creativity as an industry while integrating data-driven approaches?
    • When and how do we shift our businesses from legacy operating models to ones that better reflect the future?

    It is these tensions that now shape the most important considerations for advertisers, their agencies, and the media companies that convene audiences at scale.

    Humans and Automation

    The tension between human-driven and technology-driven capabilities is often miscast, positioning automation as a threat to the people that drive our industry. However, the more strategic opportunity is to enable humans to do what they do best and leverage technology to drive processes that are best served either by highly repeatable algorithmic tasks or by analytical complexity that surpasses the capacity of the human brain. If we draw the line carefully between these complementary approaches, we can unleash the talent in our organizations and apply humans to areas of growth and competitive differentiation. The grounding principle is: let humans do what humans do best, and let technology do what technology does best.

    Approaches to content, distribution, and monetization across the media industry all afford opportunities to explore the nuances of blending people and automation:

    Content and creative. In the content arena, long-form, quality journalism depends on the highest-caliber talent in reporting and editing. However, new technologies like CrowdTangle are better suited to spotting trends from social media to inform reporting and to identifying the optimal promotional mix for a news organization. National Public Radio and Upworthy are just two media organizations using CrowdTangle to power fast-moving social media trend analysis and news curation. Advertising also offers opportunities to blend humans and automation. On the one hand, the recent creative from Nike celebrating “losers” could only have come from the raw ideation of the best creative minds, but at the automated end of the spectrum, hyper-targeted 1:1 digital campaigns may not only benefit from precision in finding consumers but perhaps also from dynamic creative strategies matching multiple creative options with precise audience targets, an approach which can only be executed at scale through technology — via tools like CPXi’s AdReady.

    Distribution strategies. In traditional marketing communications, a well-informed brief will shape a human-driven strategy and insight-guided planning process. Smart cross-functional teams cull through ideas on the best ways to find and influence consumers to embrace a particular perception or take a specific action. While that human ideation is still critical, the inputs get exponentially richer with the right use of data and technology. The transparency and volume of social media interactions, for example, enable us to look past traditional demographic or psychographic characteristics to find clusters of consumers or conversations that are defined by data science to have mathematical density and importance as real communities. Execution against such sophisticated targeting strategies is guided by human insight but also requires powerful data analysis and technology. In any data- or technology-driven process, if people don’t connect the dots between different parts of the strategy, add judgment and context to analyses, and help frame the questions that data enables us to answer, we will not achieve the right outcome. The balance is subtle and sophisticated.

    Monetization. Traditionally, marketplaces for media were largely created by people. Sales people from media companies, agency account teams serving brands, and the clients themselves connected demand with supply. Briefs from clients informed RFPs from agencies, which informed responses and pitches from media companies. Of course, at this moment, particularly for any media that is digital, supply and demand can intersect in real time via bidding in a range of auctions and exchanges. Programmatic technologies allow us to perform a match between placement and price in a highly dynamic, high-volume environment, as a complement to the people-driven processes. To declare that programmatic will become the entire marketplace of the future is too extreme and undervalues the balance between humans and technology. The future demands a balance between big ideas like sponsorships and branded entertainment that can only be developed through conversation and human ideation, and highly efficient media amplification strategies that can best be executed via technology.

    The more sophisticated our approach to balancing humans and technology, the more likely that we can simultaneously unleash the creativity and intelligence of our teams, while making them able to get more impact out of the ideas they create through scalable technologies.

    Creativity and Data

    Creativity sits at the core of brand stewardship, advertising, and content creation. Chief marketing officers and their teams contemplate and shape the brand attributes that best define the relationship between a product or service and its customers. Creative agencies unfurl their best ideas to make advertising memorable while informing or entertaining audiences. And at media companies, journalists, photographers, video producers, and illustrators bring their talent, skills, and experience to shaping stories and features, large and small. But the increased availability of data, and perhaps more importantly, the ability to derive meaningful insights from it, provide new opportunities to inform our creative ideas and to measure their impact.

    A willingness to embrace data strategies as part of a creative process can become a point of differentiation and advantage:

    Content creation. Whether we are shaping important news stories as journalists or producing award-winning advertising creative, storytelling is the means by which we connect messages to audiences in resonant, meaningful ways. Historically, content creation was an exclusively human process but careful blending of technology into the mix can drive even greater editorial or advertising success. Think of the story-building inspiration of a mood board, which is a collage of visual stimuli that evoke the essence, tone, identity, and intent of a potential advertising campaign hoping to reach a specific target audience. By contrast, contemplate the possibility of monitoring a data-defined cluster of that same target audience to evaluate the visual media (think Instagram, Pinterest, memes) that they might be sharing in real time on Twitter. A world of transparent social media engagement offers powerful new sources of insight into the content that most readily engages communities of customers. This data-driven approach yields a dynamic mood board algorithmically calculated based on tweet and retweet volumes within the target audience cluster (full credit to Scale Model at Betaworks for this concept). Data-driven processes cannot replace human creativity and judgment, but they can be a rich complement.

    Marketing strategies. A sharp creative mind can generate ideas to engage audiences by bringing stories to life. Revlon’s Times Square billboard, which projects real-time images of people gathered below on the street over the tagline “Love Is On” (also displayed online), would not have surfaced but for creatives who connected strategy with a means to bring the brand to life. It is one of countless examples where the sheer power of human ideas defines success. But as channels and platforms proliferate, it becomes less feasible to see creativity as the sole factor in deciding how to impact audiences—from media-mix models to precise digital targeting approaches. As the options continue to multiply, data becomes an objective means to evaluate potential strategies across paid, owned, and earned channels. And, instead of traditional demographic breaks dominating the media choices, data reveals more dynamic and meaningful views of audience segmentation to elicit true engagement. Still, while data can offer a starting point for more nuanced views of clustering, human judgment that allows us to discern the data worth a keener focus.

    Measurement. Data is used most robustly for measuring the results and impact of engagement strategies. Whether the metric is outcome-based, like sales, leads, and traffic, or more qualitative, like brand perception and lift, data is widely used to understand the effect of campaigns and to develop audience. And yet, measurement is perhaps the arena most challenged on the metrics front. The fragmentation of digital platforms has fostered a lack of consistent standards, and many of the most innovative experiences rely solely on proprietary publisher-owned metrics for reporting. Impact measurement only becomes more complex as ideas are executed across platforms. And most measurement scenarios do not offer a seamless view across paid, owned, and earned data sets. Yet even as better, more consistent measurement emerges, data will only take us so far in the journey to understand impact. Thoughtful analytics are best married to human judgment to derive insight laden with broader context. Ultimately, human judgment is best poised to truly understand the more subtle dimensions of brand equity and influence.

    Data enables us to free up time previously deployed against the manual parsing and review of the many marketing, communications, and media options, offering new opportunities to apply human creativity to bigger ideas that capture audiences’ imaginations.

    Future Transformation

    The future requires change on a massive scale for most organizations, and the best approach involves leadership’s embracing the complexity, not only of developing the right strategy but executing it with deep attention to the details that matter. Operating models can shift but require a conscious approach to a range of issues, including organizational structure, workflows, technology platforms and overall change management. The product mix can be re-architected to rely increasingly on newer and high-growth offerings, but not before buyers are ready to embrace the new opportunities beyond experimentation. The challenge is to lead the marketplace and be sure new supply connects with demand in real time. And from a financial perspective, investment decisions and revenue expectations require careful forecasting and pacing against expectations to understand the multifaceted shift from legacy business lines to newer ones.

    Disruption of the media industry often feels like a brute force, moving quickly and without discretion. However, the ways we must respond as participants in the ecosystem is quite the opposite, requiring judicious, nuanced approaches. The critical concept is to balance the tensions to drive powerful results.

  • Business Intelligence nog steeds hot….

    Business Intelligence outdated? Niets is minder waar zo bewees het Heliview congres ‘Decision making by smart technologies’ dat afgelopen dinsdag in de Brabanthallen in Den Bosch werd georganiseerd.

    200 Klantorganisaties luisterden naar presentaties van o.a. Rick van der Lans, Peter Jager, Frank de Nijs en Arent van ‘t Spijker. Naast het bekende geluid was er ook veel nieuws te beluisteren in Den Bosch.

    Nieuwe technologieën maken heel veel meer mogelijk. Social media en, moderne, big data technologie stellen organisaties in staat veel meer waarde uit data te halen. Hoe organisaties dat moeten doen is veelal nog een uitdaging. Toepassing van de technologie is geen doel op zich zelf. Het gaat erom toegevoegde waarde voor organisaties te produceren. Of door optimalisatie van processen. Dan wel door het beter bedienen van de klant door productontwikkeling. In extremis kan data zelfs de motor achter nieuwe business concepten of –modellen zijn. Voorwaarde is wel een heldere bedrijfsvisie (al dan niet geproduceerd met intelligent gebruik van data en informatie). Belangrijk om te voorkomen dat we ongericht miljoenen stuk slaan op nieuwe technologie.

    Voor de aanwezigen was het gehoorde geluid soms bekend, maar soms ook een confrontatie met zichzelf. Een ding is zeker: De rol van data en informatie bij het intelligent zaken doen is nog niet uitgespeeld. Business Intelligence leeft.

    30 JANUARI 2015

  • Finance gedwongen te moderniseren door digitalisering


    Gedreven door technologie en toenemende transparantie-eisen groeit finance uit tot het dataknooppunt van de organisatie. Hoe werkt dat in de praktijk? Drie CFO's bieden een blik achter de schermen.

     De finance-functie moderniseert. Met real-time analytics, altijd en overal beschikbare data, nieuwe samenwerkingstools en een behoorlijke dosis aanpassingsvermogen wordt de strijd aangegaan met de voortdurend veranderende omstandigheden waarbinnen de onderneming moet aantonen van toegevoegde waarde te zijn voor zijn stakeholders. 'Eigenlijk staat in elke branche het verdienmodel onder druk', zegt Robert van de Graaf, CFO met brede ervaring in de financiële sector. 'En overal ervaart men de noodzaak daar antwoorden op te formuleren. Het is immers een kwestie van 'to disrupt or to be disrupted'.' Dat finance in dat proces een leidende rol vervult, is in de ogen van Van de Graaf 'logisch'. 'Finance is per slot van rekening de hoeder over de continuïteit van de onderneming en het daarbij behorende businessmodel.'


    De sensationele voorbeelden - Uber en Airbnb die hele branches bedreigen - trekken uiteraard de meeste aandacht, maar de veranderingen zijn niet altijd meteen ingrijpend en zichtbaar. Wat overigens niets afdoet aan de noodzaak de confrontatie ermee te zoeken, vindt Van de Graaf. 'In vele branches heeft men nu nog een data-voorsprong op de klanten, maar over drie tot vijf jaar is daar geen sprake meer van. Denk aan de impact van The Internet of Things in de woning en scanners waarmee je de eigen gezondheid kan bepalen. Als je wacht tot het zover is, is het te laat. Je moet nú de vraag gaan beantwoorden wat die ontwikkeling gaat betekenen voor je onderneming.'

    In zijn rol van aanjager in dat proces moet finance uit zijn comfortzone stappen, vindt Van de Graaf. 'Ik zie graag dat finance het aangaan van kort cyclische projecten stimuleert. Eis dan niet een business case vooraf, maar spreek bijvoorbeeld af dat binnen drie maanden duidelijk wordt of er al dan niet een klantbehoefte is aangeboord. Houd daarbij de teams in eerste instantie klein, want dat bevordert de creativiteit.'


    Het is een proces waarmee inrichter Koninklijke Ahrend ervaring heeft. 'De vastgoedcrisis van 2008 halveerde de Europese markt voor inrichten en had daarmee een majeure impact op de omzet van dit bedrijf', zegt CFO Rolf Verspuij. Vervolgens kwamen daar de effecten van trends als digitalisering overheen. 'Flexwerken en thuiswerken zorgden voor een verdere volumedaling. De verkoop van kasten en werkplekken waren de kurk waar het bedrijf op dreef, maar dat tijdperk liep af, zoveel was duidelijk.'

    In 2012 ging daarom het roer om. 'Vanzelfsprekend' had finance een leidende rol bij die veranderingsoperatie, vindt Verspuij, die begin 2012 bij Ahrend in dienst trad. 'Uiteindelijk gaat het om het halen van financiële doelstellingen. Van alle onderdelen van het nieuwe businessmodel moet toch bepaald worden of en in welke mate ze bijdragen aan het resultaat.' Bovendien noopte de nieuwe koers tot het aanpassen van informatiesystemen voor meer inzicht in de performance.

    'Flexibiliteit en aanpassingsvermogen zijn zeer belangrijk geworden voor onze organisatie', aldus Verspuij, 'want we onderscheiden ons nu door marktgerichtheid. Vroeger was Ahrend min of meer een productiehuis: we ontwikkelden en produceerden een mooi product, om dat in hoge volumes weg te zetten. Nu is luisteren naar de markt het devies. We spelen daar vervolgens op in met nieuwe concepten en allerlei slimme inrichtingsoplossingen. '


    Waarbij Ahrend nu juist gebruikmaakt van digitalisering: if you can't beat them, join them. 'Zo maken we het de facility-manager gemakkelijk door meubilair te voorzien van geavanceerde technologieën waarmee registratie van gebruik en het creëren van overzicht tot de mogelijkheden behoort. Beheer, onderhoud en kostenbewaking zijn dan efficiënter uit te voeren.' Daarnaast wordt het interessant innovaties toe te passen waarbij gebruikgemaakt wordt van de mobiele telefoon.

    Door al deze veranderingen is Ahrends omzet weer gestegen, zelfs tot boven het niveau van 2007, mede door een aantal overnames vorig jaar. De doorgevoerde veranderingen dragen bovendien zichtbaar positief bij aan de resultaten. 'We zijn er nog niet', zegt Verspuij, 'maar er zijn grote stappen gezet.'


    Ook bij de HVC Groep, een afval-, energie- en grondstoffenbedrijf, hebben marktverschuivingen geleid tot digitalisering van het product- en dienstenpakket. Zo chipt HVC de afvalbakken. De beschikbaarheid van data is een stuwende factor voor de verbreding van de informatievoorziening door de finance-functie, zo vertelt CFO Ingrid Tigchelaar. 'Waarbij er duidelijk een wisselwerking is tussen vraag en aanbod. De roep om transparantie en de technologische mogelijkheden tot dataverzameling en -analyse versterken elkaar.' HVC Groep is in handen van overheden en in die zin een 'klassiek' nutsbedrijf. 'Dat betekent dus: talrijke stakeholders die steeds meer informatie willen over de prestaties en bedrijfsvoering van de organisatie', vertelt Tigchelaar. 'Transparantie is een maatschappelijke norm geworden.'

    Ze werkt momenteel aan de omwenteling om aan die norm te voldoen. 'In de basis is de HVC Groep een volcontinu procestechnologisch bedrijf. We waren al gewend veel gegevens te verzamelen over de bedrijfsvoering, vooral met het oog op de monitoring van de continuïteit en de veiligheid van de bedrijfsprocessen. Echter, die gegevens werden altijd alleen intern gebruikt. Om ze geschikt te maken voor andere stakeholders is een kwaliteitsslag nodig; de buitenwereld stelt nu eenmaal andere kwaliteitseisen aan die informatie. Met alle gevolgen dus voor de ordening, organisatie, verslaggeving en rapportage van die gegevens.'


    Kenmerkend voor de manier waarop finance zich ontwikkelt, zo zegt Tigchelaar, is dat financiële en niet-financiële informatie steeds meer verweven raken. 'In dit type bedrijf liggen de uitdagingen niet in het proces van de verwerking van financiële gegevens, dat is wel op orde. Wel is het belangrijk dat je die financiële gegevens kunt laten aansluiten op al die andere data die belangrijk zijn voor de bedrijfsvoering. Eén bron van informatie: daarmee verhoog je de betrouwbaarheid ervan enorm.'

    Om welke gegevens gaat het dan? Tigchelaar noemt als voorbeeld de hoeveelheid gerecycled afval. 'Met het Rijk zijn daar in de zogeheten VANG-doelstellingen afspraken over gemaakt. Zo moet in 2020 75 procent van het afval gerecycled worden. Deze doelstellingen zijn overgenomen door lagere overheden en die willen verantwoording afleggen aan de burgers. Dat betekent dat wij als inzamelaar en verwerker van afval daar informatie over moeten geven; dat is ook vastgelegd in de dienstverleningsovereenkomsten met onze stakeholders.'

    Een ander voorbeeld is de onlangs afgesloten brand- en ongevallenverzekering. 'Waarbij een goede registratie van alle incidenten in het bedrijf van groot belang is. Dat deden we al, maar alleen voor intern gebruik. Laten zien aan externe stakeholders dat we in control zijn, stelt extra eisen aan de verzameling en verwerking van de betreffende data.'


    source: www.fd.nl


  • How a Video Game Helped People Make Better Decisions


    oct15 14 games aResearchers in recent years have exhaustively catalogued and chronicled the biases that affect our decisions. We all know the havoc that biased decisions can wreak. From misguided beliefs about the side effects of vaccinating our children, to failures in analysis by our intelligence community, biases in decision making contribute to problems in business, public policy, medicine, law, education, and private life.

    Researchers have also long searched for ways to train people to reduce bias and improve their general decision making ability – with little success. Traditional training, designed to debias and improve decision-making, is effective in specific domains such as firefighting, chess, or weather forecasting. But even experts in such areas fail to apply what they’ve learned to new areas. Weather forecasters, for instance, are highly accurate when predicting the chance of rain, but they are just as likely as untrained novices to show bias when making other kinds of probability estimates, such as estimating how many of their answers to basic trivia questions are correct.

    Because training designed to improve general decision making abilities has not previously been effective, most efforts to debias people have focused on two techniques. The first is changing the incentives that influence a decision. Taxing soda, for example, in the hopes that the increased cost will dissuade people from buying it. The second approach involves changing the way information for various choices is presented or choices are made, such as adding calorie information to fast-food menus or offering salad as the default side order to entrées instead of French fries. However, these methods are often not always effective, and when effective, only affect specific decisions, not decision-makers’ ability to make less biased decisions in other situations.

    My research collaborators and I wondered if an interactive training exercise might effectively debias decision-makers. (The team included Boston University’s Haewon Yoon, City University London’s Irene Scopelliti, Leidos’ Carl W. Symborski, Creative Technologies, Inc.’s James H. Korris and Karim Kassam, a former assistant professor at Carnegie Mellon University.) So we spent the past four years developing two interactive, “serious” computer games to see if they might substantially reduce game players’ susceptibility to cognitive bias.

    There was scant evidence that this kind of one-shot training intervention could be effective, and we thought our chances of success were slim. But, as we report in a paper just published in Policy Insights in the Behavioral and Brain Sciences,the interactive games not only reduced game players’ susceptibility to biases immediately, those reductions persisted for several weeks. Participants who played one of our games, each of which took about 60 minutes to complete, showed a large immediate reduction in their commission of the biases (by more than 31%), and showed a large reduction (by more than 23%) at least two months later.

    The games target six well-known cognitive biases. Though these biases were chosen for their relevance to intelligence analysis, they affect all kinds of decisions made by professionals in business, policy, medicine, and education as well. They include:

    • Bias blind spot – seeing yourself as less susceptible to biases than other people
    • Confirmation bias – collecting and evaluating evidence that confirms the theory you are testing
    • Fundamental attribution error – unduly attributing someone’s behavior to enduring aspects of that person’s disposition rather than to the circumstance in which the person was placed
    • Anchoring – relying too heavily on the first piece of information considered when making a judgment
    • Projection – assuming that other people think the same way we do
    • Representativeness – relying on some simple and often misleading rules when estimating the probability of uncertain events

    We ran two experiments. In the first experiment, involving 243 adult participants, one group watched a 30-minute video, “Unbiasing Your Biases,” commissioned by the program sponsor, the Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA), a U.S. research agency under the Director of National Intelligence. The video first defined heuristics – information-processing shortcuts that produce fast and efficient, though not necessarily accurate, decisions. The video then explained how heuristics can sometimes lead to incorrect inferences. Then, bias blind spot, confirmation bias, and fundamental attribution error were described and strategies to mitigate them were presented.

    Another group played a computer game, “Missing: The Pursuit of Terry Hughes,” designed by our research team to elicit and mitigate the same three cognitive biases. Game players make decisions and judgments throughout the game as they search for Terry Hughes – their missing neighbor. At the end of each level of the game, participants received personalized feedback about how biased they were during game play. They were given a chance to practice and they were taught strategies to reduce their propensity to commit each of the biases.

    We measured how much each participant committed the three biases before and after the game or the video. In the first experiment, both the game and the video were effective, but the game was more effective than the video. Playing the game reduced the three biases by about 46% immediately and 35% over the long term. Watching the video reduced the three biases by about 19% immediately and 20% over the long term.

    In a second experiment, involving 238 adult participants, one group watched the video “Unbiasing Your Biases 2” to address anchoring, projection, and representativeness. Another group played the computer detective game“Missing: The Final Secret,” in which they were to exonerate their employer of a criminal charge and uncover criminal activity of her accusers. Along the way, players made decisions that tested their propensity to commit anchoring, projection, and representativeness. After each level of the game, their commission of those biases was measured and players were provided with personalized feedback, practice, and mitigation strategies.

    Again, the game was more effective than the video. Playing the game reduced the three biases by about 32% immediately and 24% over the long term. Watching the video reduced the three biases by about 25% immediately and 19% over the long term.

    The games, which were specifically designed to debias intelligence analysts, are being deployed in training academies in the U.S. intelligence services. But because this approach affects the decision maker rather than specific decisions, such games can be effective in many contexts and decisions – and with lasting effect. (A commercial version of the games is in production.)

    Games are also attractive because once such approaches are developed, the marginal costs of debiasing many additional people are minimal. As this and other recent work suggests, such interactive training is a promising addition to the growing suite of techniques that improve judgment and reduce the costly mistakes that result from biased decision making.

    Source: http://www.scoop.it/t/strategy-and-competitive-intelligencebig


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