Solving Complex Problems Scientifically
Standpoint takes an evidence-based approach to addressing issues for a regulator. We start with a central question or hypothesis that articulates a problem prioritized by the organization. Often these problems are creating a risk or a cost to the public or to the regulator, and may already have a task force or committee assigned to them. More often than not, the available information and data involves complex interactions and uncertainties, which can make objective analysis by a task force or team challenging.
We follow a scientific yet easy to understand process which provides working teams a clear path and well defined outcomes. How teams decide is often more important than what they decide. Better understanding of a decision process helps build stronger stakeholder consensus and implementation support for the outcomes, even when those outcomes are hard.
Model Where You Are, and Where You Want To Be.
We begin by formalizing the goals and objectives of the task force and then develop a conceptual model of the system that is influencing the likelihood of the desired outcomes.
Standpoint guides this model development, but the approach is consensus-driven. This gets everyone on the same page, and improves support when it comes time for implementation.
The modeling process probes the following questions:
Define success – How can we measure our desired outcomes so that we know when they have been achieved?
Available alternatives – What proposed decisions, actions or policies are within-scope to address the problem?
Data and expertise – What data and/or expert opinion can we use to forecast the implications of different decisions or policies?
The unknown – What is driving uncertainty and how can it be addressed or accommodated?
Analyze the Data and Predict the Future
Next, we use a scientific approach to formalize the causal model to analyze and measure the benefits of past management actions and/or to forecast the probable outcomes of future actions.
This approach then generates recommendations to the task force that are focused on important things such as:
- optimizing the resources of the organization and membership,
- reducing risk to the public, and,
- fostering continuous improvement through adaptive management