5 Ways to Celebrate the 50th Birthday of Decision Analysis!

Get your party hats out folks. Fifty years ago our DA forefathers, Howard Raiffa and Ron Howard, independently established the field of decision analysis as it is practiced today in thousands of companies and universities across the globe. For those of you who aren’t in the know, Decision Analysis, put simply, is a formal method for making decisions. This method typically includes techniques for structuring decisions (i.e., influence diagrams, decision trees), quantifying uncertainties, assessing alternatives, and evaluating options in order to maximize value and realize business goals.

Happy Birthday, DecisionAnalysis!

So without further ado, here is my list of the top 5 ways to celebrate DA’s 50th year:

Join a Professional Decision Analysis organization of which there are a few, with all equally striving to further promote the field of Decision Analysis:

  • DAS (Decision Analysis Society, under the umbrella of INFORMS)
  • SDP (Society of Decision Professionals)
  • DAAG (Decision Analysis Affinity Group)

Jump on a plane and head to San Francisco, a veritable hotbed of Decision Analysis practice, this November for INFORMS Annual Meeting and attend the Decision Analysis 50th Anniversary Gala Event.

Bonus: You might get a meet and greet with Howard Raiffa and Ron Howard!

If you can’t get the travel expenses ok’d from up top for #2 above, do the next best thing by perusing your local library (or the internet) for these foundational DA tomes:

  • Raiffa, H. (1968). Decision Analysis: Introductory Lectures on Choices Under Uncertainty. Reading, MA: Addison-Wesley.
  • Howard, Ronald A. (1966). “Decision Analysis: Applied Decision Theory”. Proceedings of the 4th International Conference on Operational Research. pp. 55–77.
  • And if you’d like to take it way back: Ramsey, Frank (1926). “Truth and Probability”, in Ramsey, 1931,The Foundations of Mathematics and other Logical Essays, Ch. VII, p.156-198. (Bonus #2: There’s even a PDF!)

Put your best Decision Analysis application forward for the Decision Analysis Society Practice Award Competition.

Note: It may too late to win this year’s award, but it’s never to early to start working on a submission for 2015!

Plant a Decision Tree! And by that I mean, obtain some decision tree-based analysis software and start deploying decision analysis techniques within your organization now. It’s a small investment of your time and money that can truly deliver great rewards.