8 posts categorized "learning & education"

17 May 2016

How women decide, Pay for Success, and Chief Cognitive Officers.


1. Do we judge women's decisions differently?
Cognitive psychologist Therese Huston's new book is How Women Decide: What's True, What's Not, and What Strategies Spark the Best Choices. It may sound unscientific to suggest there's a particular way that several billion people make decisions, but the author doesn't seem nonchalant about drawing specific conclusions.

The book covers some of the usual decision analysis territory: The process of analyzing data to inform decisions. By far the most interesting material isn't about how choices are made, but how they are judged: The author makes a good argument that women's decisions are evaluated differently than men’s, by both males and females. Quick example: Marissa Mayer being hung up to dry for her ban on Yahoo! staff working from home, while Best Buy's CEO mostly avoided bad press after a similar move. Why are we often quick to question a woman’s decision, but inclined to accept a man’s?

Huston offers concrete strategies for defusing the stereotypes that can lead to this double standard. Again, it's dangerous to speak too generally. But the book presents evidence of gender bias in the interpretation of people's choices, and how it feeds into people's perceptions of choices. Worthwhile reading. Sheelah Kolhatkar reviewed for NYTimes books.

2. Better government through Pay for Success.
In Five things to know about pay for success legislation, Urban Institute staff explain their support for the Social Impact Partnership to Pay for Results Act (SIPPRA), which is being considered in the US House. Authors are Justin Milner (@jhmilner), Ben Holston (@benholston), and Rebecca TeKolste.

Under SIPPRA, state and local governments could apply for funding through outcomes-driven “social impact partnerships” like Pay for Success (PFS). This funding would require strong evidence and rigorous evaluation, and would accomodate projects targeting a wide range of outcomes: unemployment, child welfare, homelessness, and high school graduation rates.

One of the key drivers behind SIPPRA is its proposed fix for the so-called wrong pockets problem, where one agency bears the cost of a program, while others benefit as free riders. "The bill would provide a backstop to PFS projects and compensate state and local governments for savings that accrue to federal coffers." Thanks to Meg Massey (@blondnerd).

3. The rise of the Chief Cognitive Officer.
On The Health Care Blog, Dan Housman describes The Rise of the Chief Cognitive Officer. "The upshot of the shift to cognitive clinical decision support is that we will likely increasingly see an evolving marriage and interdependency between the worlds of AI (artificial intelligence) thinking and human provider thinking within medicine." Housman, CMO for ConvergeHealth by Deloitte, proposes a new title of CCO (Chief Cognitive Officer) or CCMO (Chief Cognitive Medical Officer) to modernize the construct of CMIO (Chief Medical Information Officer), and maintain a balance between AI and humans. For example, "If left untrained for a year or two, should the AI lose credentials? How would training be combined between organizations who have different styles or systems of care?"

4. Creating a sports analytics culture.
Stylianos Kampakis describes on the Experfy blog how to create a data-driven culture within a soccer club organization.

5. Blockchain is forcing new decisions.
@mattleising writes for Bloomberg about happenings Inside the Secret Meeting Where Wall Street Tested Digital Cash. Thanks @stevesi. Everywhere you look are examples of how Blockchain will change things.

28 April 2016

Bitcoin for learning, market share meaninglessness, and fighting poverty with evidence.

College diploma

1. Bitcoin tech records people's learning.
Ten years from now, what if you could evaluate a job candidate by reviewing their learning ledger, a blockchain-administered record of their learning transactions - from courses they took, books they read, or work projects they completed? And what if you could see their work product (papers etc.) rather than just their transcript and grades? Would that be more relevant and useful than knowing what college degree they had?

This is the idea behind Learning is Earning 2026, a future system that would reward any kind of learning. The EduBlocks Ledger would use the same blockchain technology that runs Bitcoin. Anyone could award these blocks to anyone else. As explained by Marketplace Morning Report, the Institute for the Future is developing the EduBlocks concept.


Market share MIT-Sloan

2. Is market share a valuable metric?
Only in certain cases is market share an important metric for figuring out how to make more profits. Neil T. Bendle and Charan K. Bagga explain in the MIT Sloan Management Review that Popular marketing metrics, including market share, are regularly misunderstood and misused.

Well-known research in the 1970s suggested a link between market share and ROI. But now most evidence shows it's a correlational relationship, not causal.


Adolescent crime

3. Evidence-based ways to close gaps in crime, poverty, education.
The Laura and John Arnold Foundation launched a $15 million Moving the Needle Competition, which will fund state and local governments and nonprofits implementing highly effective ways to address poverty, education, and crime. The competition is recognized as a key evidence-based initiative in White House communications about My Brother’s Keeper, a federal effort to address persistent opportunity gaps.

Around 250 communities have responded to the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge with $600+ million in private sector and philanthropic grants, plus $1 billion in low-interest financing. Efforts include registering 90% of Detroit's 4-year-olds in preschool, private-sector “MBK STEM + Entrepreneurship” commitments, and a Summit on Preventing Youth Violence.

Here's hoping these initiatives are evaluated rigorously, and the ones demonstrating evidence of good or promising outcomes are continued.


Eddie Izzard

4. Everyday health evidence.
Evidence for Everyday Health Choices is a new series by @UKCochraneCentr, offering quick rundowns of the systematic reviews on a pertinent topic. @SarahChapman30 leads the effort. Nice recent example inspired by Eddie Izzard: Evidence on stretching and other techniques to improve marathon performance and recovery: Running marathons Izzard enough: what can help? [Photo credit: Evidence for Everyday Health Choices.]

5. Short Science = Understandable Science.
Short Science allows people to publish summaries of research papers; they're voted on and ranked until the best/most accessible summary has been identified. The goal is to make seminal ideas in science accessible to the people who want to understand them. Anyone can write a summary of any paper in the Short Science database. Thanks to Carl Anderson (@LeapingLlamas).

12 January 2016

Game theory for Jeopardy!, evidence for gun control, and causality.

1. Deep knowledge → Wagering strategy → Jeopardy! win Some Jeopardy! contestants struggle with the strategic elements of the show. Rescuing us is Keith Williams (@TheFinalWager), with the definitive primer on Jeopardy! strategy, applying game theory to every episode and introducing "the fascinating world of determining the optimal approach to almost anything".

2. Gun controls → Less violence? → Less tragedy? Does the evidence support new US gun control proposals? In the Pacific Standard, Francie Diep cites several supporting scientific studies.

3. New data sources → Transparent methods → Health evidence Is 'real-world' health evidence closer to the truth than data from more traditional categories? FDA staff explain in What We Mean When We Talk About Data. Thanks to @MandiBPro.

4. Data model → Cause → Effect In Why: A Guide to Finding and Using Causes, Samantha Kleinberg aims to explain why causality is often misunderstood and misused: What is it, why is it so hard to find, and how can we do better at interpreting it? The book excerpt explains that "Understanding when our inferences are likely to be wrong is particularly important for data science, where we’re often confronted with observational data that is large and messy (rather than well-curated for research)."

5. Empirical results → Verification → Scientific understanding Independent verification is essential to scientific progress. But in academia, verifying empirical results is difficult and not rewarded. This is the reason for Curate Science, a tool making it easier for researchers to independently verify each other’s evidence and award credit for doing so. Follow @CurateScience.

Join me at the HEOR writing workshop March 17 in Philadelphia. I'm speaking about communicating data, and leading an interactive session on data visualization. Save $300 before Jan 15.

11 December 2015

Social program RCTs, health guidelines, and evidence-based mentoring.

 1. Evidence → Social RCTs → Transformational change More progress toward evidence-based social programs. The Laura and John Arnold foundation expanded its funding of low-cost randomized controlled trials. @LJA_Foundation, an advocate for evidence-based, multidisciplinary approaches, has committed $100,000+ for all RCT proposals satisfying its RFP criteria and earning a high rating from its expert review panel.

2. Stakeholder input → Evidence-based health guidelines Canada's Agency for Drugs and Technologies in Health seeks stakeholder input for its Guidelines for the Economic Evaluation of Health Technologies. The @CADTH_ACMTS guidelines detail best practices for conducting economic evaluations and promote the use of high-quality economic evidence in policy, practice, and reimbursement decision-making.

3. Research evidence → Standards → Mentoring effectiveness At the National Mentoring Summit (January 27, Washington DC), practitioners, researchers, corporate partners, and civic leaders will review how best to incorporate research evidence into practice standards for youth mentoring. Topics at #MentoringSummit2016 include benchmarks for different program models (e.g., school-based, group, e-mentoring) and particular populations (e.g.,youth in foster care, children of incarcerated parents).

4. Feature creep → Too many choices → Decision fatigue Hoa Loranger at Nielsen Norman Group offers an insightful explanation of how Simplicity Wins Over Abundance of Choice in user interface design. "The paradox is that consumers are attracted to a large number of choices and may consider a product more appealing if it has many capabilities, but when it comes to making decisions and actually using the product, having fewer options makes it easier for people to make a selection." Thanks to @LoveStats.

5. Hot hand → Home run → Another home run? Evidence of a hot hand in baseball? Findings published on the Social Science Research Network suggest that "recent performance is highly significant in predicting performance.... [A] batter who is 'hot' in home runs is 15-25% more likely... to hit a home run in his next at bat." Not so fast, says @PhilBirnbaum on his Sabermetric blog, saying that the authors' "regression coefficient confounds two factors - streakiness, and additional evidence of the players' relative talent."

24 November 2015

Masters of self-deception, rapid systematic reviews, and Gauss v. Legendre.

1. Human fallibility → Debiasing techniques → Better science Don't miss Regina Nuzzo's fantastic analysis in Nature: How scientists trick themselves, and how they can stop. @ReginaNuzzo explains why people are masters of self-deception, and how cognitive biases interfere with rigorous findings. Making things worse are a flawed science publishing process and "performance enhancing" statistical tools. Nuzzo describes promising ways to overcome these challenges, including blind data analysis.

2. Slow systematic reviews → New evidence methods → Controversy Systematic reviews are important for evidence-based medicine, but some say they're unreliable and slow. Two groups attempting to improve this - not without controversy - are Trip (@TripDatabase) and Rapid Reviews.

3. Campus competitions → Real-world analytics → Attracting talent Tech firms are finding ways to attract students to the analytics field. David Weldon writes in Information Management about the Adobe Analytics Challenge, where thousands of US university students compete using data from companies such as Condé Nast and Comcast to solve real-world business problems.

4. Discover regression → Solve important problem → Rock the world Great read on how Gauss discovered statistical regression, but thinking his solution was trivial, didn't share. Legendre published the method later, sparking one of the bigger disputes in the history of science. The Discovery of Statistical Regression - Gauss v. Legendre on Priceonomics.

5. Technical insights → Presentation skill → Advance your ideas Explaining insights to your audience is as crucial as getting the technical details right. Present! is a new book with speaking tips for technology types unfamiliar with the spotlight. By Poornima Vijayashanker (@poornima) and Karen Catlin.

13 October 2015

Decision science, NFL prediction, and recycling numbers don't add up.

1. Data science → Decision science → Institutionalize data-driven decisions Deepinder Dhingra at @MuSigmaInc explains why data science misses half the equation, and that companies instead need decision science to achieve a balanced creation, translation, and consumption of insights. Requisite decision science skills include "quantitative and intellectual horsepower; the right curiosity quotient; ability to think from first principles; and business synthesis."

2. Statistical model → Machine learning → Good prediction Microsoft is quite good at predicting American Idol winners - and football scores. Tim Stenovec writes about the Bing Predicts project's impressive record of correctly forecasting World Cup, NFL, reality TV, and election outcomes. The @Bing team begins with a traditional statistical model and supplements it with query data, text analytics, and machine learning.

3. Environmental concern → Good feelings → Bad recycling ROI From a data-driven perspective, it's difficult to justify the high costs of US recycling programs. John Tierney explains in the New York Times that people's good motives and concerns about environmental damage have driven us to the point of recovering every slip of paper, half-eaten pizza, water bottle, and aluminum can - when the majority of value is derived from those cans and other metals.

4. Prescriptive analytics → Prescribe actions → Grow the business Business intelligence provides tools for describing and visualizing what's happening in the company right now, but BI's value for identifying opportunities is often questioned. More sophisticated predictive analytics can forecast the future. But Nick Swanson of River Logic says the path forward will be through prescriptive analytics: Using methods such as stochastic optimization, analysts can prescribe specific actions for decision makers.

5. Graph data → Data lineage → Confidence & trust Understanding the provenance of a data set is essential, but often tricky: Who collected it, and whose hands has it passed through? Jean Villedieu of @Linkurious explains how a graph database - rather than a traditional data store - can facilitate the tracking of data lineage.

29 September 2015

Data blindness, measuring policy impact, and informing healthcare with baseball analytics.


1. Creative statistics → Valuable insights → Reinvented baseball business Exciting baseball geek news: Bill James and Billy Beane appeared together for the first time. Interviewed in the Wall Street Journal at a Netsuite conference on business model disruption, Beane said new opportunities include predicting/avoiding player injuries - so there's an interesting overlap with healthcare analytics. (Good example from Baseball Prospectus: "no one really has any idea whether letting [a pitcher] pitch so much after coming back from Tommy John surgery has any effect on his health going forward.")

2. Crowdsourcing → Machine learning → Micro, macro policy evidence Premise uses a clever combination of machine learning and street-level human intelligence; their economic data helps organizations measure the impact of policy decisions at a micro and macro level. @premisedata recently closed a $50M US funding round.

3. Data blindness → Unfocused analytics → Poor decisions Data blindness prevents us from seeing what the numbers are trying to tell us. In a Read/Write guest post, OnCorps CEO (@OnCorpsHQ) Bob Suh recommends focusing on the decisions that need to be made, rather than on big data and analytics technology. OnCorps offers an intriguing app called Sales Sabermetrics.

4. Purpose and focus → Overcome analytics barriers → Create business value David Meer of PWC's Strategy& (@strategyand) talks about why companies continue to struggle with big data [video].

5. Health analytics → Evidence in the cloud → Collaboration & learning Evidera announces Evalytica, a SaaS platform promising fast, transparent analysis of healthcare data. This cloud-based engine from @evideraglobal supports analyses of real-world evidence sources, including claims, EMR, and registry data.

14 July 2015

Data-driven organizations, machine learning for C-Suite, and healthcare success story.

1. Great stuff on data-driven decision making in a new O'Reilly book by Carl Anderson (@LeapingLlamas), Creating the Data-Driven Organization. Very impressive overview of the many things that need to happen, and best practices for making them happen. Runs the gamut from getting & analyzing the data, to creating the right culture, to the psychology of decision-making. Ugly Research is delighted to be referenced (pages 187-188 and Figure 9-7).

2. Healthcare success story. "Data-driven decision making has improved patient outcomes in Intermountain's cardiovascular medicine, endocrinology, surgery, obstetrics and care processes — while saving millions of dollars in procurement and in its the supply chain."

3. 1) description, 2) prediction, 3) prescription. What the C-Suite needs to understand about applied machine learning. McKinsey's executive guide to machine learning 1.0, 2.0, and 3.0.

4. Place = Opportunity. Where kids grow up has a big impact on what they earn as adults; new evidence on patterns of upward mobility. Recap by @UrbanInstitute's Margery Austin Turner (@maturner).

5. Open innovation improves the odds of biotech product survival. Analysis by Deloitte's Ralph Marcello shows the value of working together, sharing R&D data.

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