San Francisco 2014
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I left my (Analytics) heart in San Francisco

by Glenn Wegryn on November 12th, 2014

What a great 3 days at the Annual Conference!   I spent most of my time networking (which is THE most important thing to do at any  conference), attending Decision Analysis sessions, holding the Analytics Section business meeting and participating in a panel discussion on OR and Analytics.

Some comments on each:

Decision Analysis — this is something close to my heart, as I learned decision analysis methods from a DA master at Procter & Gamble and dear friend, Joel Kahn, who recently passed away from MS.  It was wonderful to see the elders of DA – Ron Howard, Jim Matheson, et al, talk about life lessons on practical applications and what they would have done differently.  That alone was worth the price of admission!

Analytics Section — this year we transitioned leadership of this section from Don Kleinmuntz to myself, and along with Jim Williams (CAP Numero Uno), Polly Mitchell-Guthrie and Tarun Lal, making up the leadership of this fast-growing Section for 2015.   The attendance at the business meeting was excellent — roughly 80 or so — and many engaged in several spirited conversations on CAP (which is now outpacing PMP in participation rate) and positioning of Analytics.  We discussed focus areas for 2015, including increased Capabilities (CAP, Maturity Model) Visibility (communications), Recognition (awards),  Conferences (Annual, Regional, International), Outreach (supporting the Analytics Ecosystem).   We received great feedback from the audience on where to focus our energy in each of these areas.  The good news is that based on a recent survey,  75% of the 1,065 members of the Analytics Section were willing to volunteer to help drive these efforts forward.  Go Analytics!

Networking — it’s great to meet up with colleagues who you only have an opportunity to see once or twice a year, at best, as well as meeting new people.    First, congratulations to the newly inducted INFORMS Fellows, and particularly to my friends Russ Labe and Radhika Kulkarni.  I’ve known both for over 10 years and can attest to their passion and to their contributions to our profession.  Congratulations!  I also spent time meeting new connections through the “Coffee with a Member” initiative — what a great idea!  Sign me up for next year!

Panel Discussion on OR and Analytics – Polly Mitchell-Guthrie did a great job recapping this in an earlier post, so I won’t repeat that here, but will reinforce that Analytics is, among many things, a way to frame the conversation with others outside of our profession.    As I mentioned during the discussion, P&G “re-branded” Operations Research as Analytics over 30 years ago, for many of the same reasons why INFORMS uses the term Analytics today — to provide a “kinder, gentler” way to engage decision-makers.  Thanks to Don Kleinmuntz for organizing and to Jack Levis for leading this discussion.

Along those lines, I also offer here a simple way to think about that framing.  As originated by Tom Davenport and further developed by SAS and IBM and is now represented in the Analytics Maturity Model as “Descriptive, Predictive and Prescriptive”.  I prefer “DAD” — Describe, Anticipate, Decide.  More on that in a later post, perhaps.

Overall, a great 3 day event and I’m looking forward to the  Practice Meeting in Huntington Beach.  Thanks to all of the INFORMS staff for all their hard work!

1 Comment
  1. thanks Glenn for sharing the happy news.
    Russ and Radhika – both have been mentors in my eyes,
    and continue to bring strong analytic contributions to our society and to our world. I join in applause from San Antonio!

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