The primary ingredient for making right decisions is having the right information “There is nothing worse than doing the wrong thing well” (Peter Drucker). Typically analyst and or managers provide information to executive. Information is often gathered through meetings, interviews, focus group or surveys. Unfortunately, these techniques do not always provide all the insight and facts.
For example, a line manager of a money management company complained the back office was overloaded and needed more employees. After having studied their operations with the cognitive approach, it was discovered that 50% of the workload in the back office was due to subtle, but preventable human errors at the front offices. Many of these errors were not detected with traditional mean of observations. Instead of hiring more employees as requested originally by the line manager, executives decided to follow our recommendation and invest to prevent these errors. The result was, a reduction of 30% of the number of employees at the back office, and an increase in the quality of the service.
In other example, the statistics of an online operation were showing low usage of the service, while surveys were indicating full client satisfaction. Observation and analysis of the user interaction with the cognitive approach revealed that the users were in fact hesitating and lack understanding about the service provided. Instead of investing only in marketing campaign to increase the number of costumers, the executive decided to follow our recommendations and allocate a portion of the investment to fix the user interface design. It resulted in a 400% increase of completion rate. While meetings, focus groups, interviews or surveys might provide insight, there is many under-covered operation that are difficult to recall and express because they are instinctive. a. It is difficult for people to verbally describe visual-spatial operations. For example, five people witnessing a car accident will tell five different stories b. It is harder, almost impossible, for someone to recall, in detail and experience out of context Our experience has show over more than 100 projects that these operations are often critical for understanding the business
Doing the right thing – The Cognitive Engineering Approach
The Cognitive Approach comes from Industrial engineering. It is an Integration of Engineering, and Cognitive Ergonomics. From the Greek words “ergon” (work) and “nomos” (science of), “Ergonomics” means the study of humans at work. Like a medical scanner that provides a clear view of the inside of the human body, the cognitive approach provides and inside view of the business. Why:The Cognitive approach permits to gather information and understand operation up to the thinking processes level. It allows a deeper understanding of the business problems or needs. This thorough understating will be then translated into better decision. Overall, the Cognitive approach comprises rigorous practice of gathering information, human information processing, analysis, business modeling, and simulation.