To Be Decided #2

post by Ian David Moss · 2019-11-08T02:35:42.084Z · score: 6 (3 votes) · LW · GW · None comments

Contents

  An Introduction to Decision Modeling
  What I've Been Reading
  Stuff You Should Know About
  That's all for now!
None
No comments

TBD is a quarterly-ish newsletter about deploying knowledge for impact, learning at scale, and making more thoughtful choices for ourselves and our organizations. This is the second issue, which was originally published in June 2019. Enjoy!  --Ian

An Introduction to Decision Modeling

Decision-making is life. Over time, our decisions carve an identity for ourselves and our organizations, and it is our decisions, more than anything else, that determine how we are remembered after we’re gone. Despite their importance, though, we barely pay attention to most of the decisions we make. Biology has programmed in us a powerful instinct to make decisions using our intuitions rather than our conscious selves whenever possible. There are good reasons for this; if we had to think about every little decision we made, we’d never get anything done. But complex decisions require us to compare the likelihood and desirability of many possible futures on multiple, disparate, and often conflicting criteria, something our intuitions just aren’t naturally equipped to do.

Thankfully, there is a better way. The secret to resolving complex, risky dilemmas with justified ease and confidence is to model your decisions explicitly. At its best, modeling our decisions can help us make the very human exercise of decision-making not only more likely to lead to the outcomes we want, but more instinctively satisfying as well.

(Keep reading)

What I've Been Reading

Most Funders Admit Their Own Evaluations Are Not Useful
I really wish that headline was an exaggeration, but it's not much of one. In 2015, the Center for Evaluation Innovation and the Center for Effective Philanthropy surveyed evaluation and program executives at 127 US and Canadian foundations with $10 million or more in annual giving. The resulting report, "Benchmarking Foundation Evaluation Practices," contains startling revelations about how little evaluation reports are used. Most remarkably, more than three-quarters of respondents reported that they have a hard time commissioning evaluations that yield meaningful insights for the field, grantees, or even their own colleagues!
(Twitter thread)

Our Cognitive Biases Can Tell Us a Lot About the Meaning of Life You probably know Daniel Kahneman's classic volume Thinking, Fast and Slow as a comprehensive catalogue of cognitive biases and errors in judgment. But it's more than that: it's also about the meaning of life. In the section entitled "Two Selves," Kahneman reveals that we remember pain and pleasure differently from how we experience it. You might assume that the reality of our experiences is what matters to us. But in fact that's not true. What we really care about is our memories of our experiences, and the story those memories cause us to tell ourselves and others about our lives. In other words, narratives don't just matter, narratives are everything. This might just seem like a curious artefact of the research, but it has enormous philosophical and practical implications for social sector leaders. (Twitter thread)

Stuff You Should Know About

That's all for now!

If you enjoyed this edition of TBD, please consider forwarding it to a friend. It's easy to sign up here. See you next time!

None comments

Comments sorted by top scores.