Making High-Quality Decisions: A Practical Guide to Decision Analysis

Even the largest companies struggle with decision-making, often investing far too much in market research reports, marketing campaigns, or capital investments. Similarly, with personal decisions, we often find ourselves plagued with regret after purchasing an electronic device, an insurance policy, or perhaps even a home. Decision analysis is a field of engineering developed in the mid-20th century by mathematicians at Stanford and Harvard. It uses a mix of math, philosophy, and gut instinct to guide individuals and organizations toward making better decisions. This method has been used in many large organizations, such as Chevron, Pfizer, and the US military. When Chevron mulls over, “Should we drill for oil here or not?” or when Pfizer asks, “Should we invest in an advertising campaign?” they employ techniques of decision analysis to guide their thinking. This course will provide a step-by-step guide on how to use the wisdom of decision analysis to avoid the decision traps we commonly fall into. Students will learn mathematical and conceptual tools that, while relatively simple, are incredibly powerful. Topics we will explore include influence diagrams, decision trees, value measures and functions, statistical interference, and sensitivity analysis. This course can be useful to anyone interested in strengthening their ability to make decisions of consequence and works equally well in both business and personal applications.

Richard Kim
Co-Founder and Senior Systems Engineer, Aerospace Technical Services


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Online, instructor-led
Jan 29 - Mar 22, 2024
Stanford Continuing Studies