Decision Science for Data Science Leaders

All the data in the world won't help if you're solving the wrong problem.

This 2-day course for data scientists and those who oversee data science teams will introduce the most powerful concepts from decision science. 


  • Overview
  • Curriculum
  • Instructors
  • Testimonials

Senior decision makers are increasingly looking to their data science teams for data and analytics to support their decisions. But it’s not always clear what decisions should be made or how data science should support those decisions to create maximum value. As a result, many data science teams find themselves committed to projects and initiatives simply because they are technically possible and seem like they should be valuable. In other words, you might be working on the “right answers to the wrong question." This two-day course for data science teams and the executives they support will introduce applied decision science that can provide a line of sight from data science to value creation. Using the framework of decision quality (DQ), the most advanced approach to value creation from decision making, data science teams can win a seat at the table where strategic decisions are made. 

Takeaways from this 2-day class
  • Take a stakeholder's view of risk and opportunity
  • Make important decisions when your data can't reveal how the future will unfold
  • Recognize when and how to supplement data with expert judgment
  • Judge the quality of a decision before you make it, rather than in hindsight
  • Use probabilities to describe risk and uncertainty
  • Calculate the monetary value of the information gleaned from your analytics
  • Produce the tools and displays decision makers need most
  • Prioritize data science projects to make sure you are working on the most valuable initiatives.  

Topics   This course is a blend of lively presentations, group discussions, and hands-on exercises. Emphasis is placed on those topics of greatest interest and discussion is focused on how the concepts can be used to increase the value generated by data science.   

  • The fundamentals of normative decision science
  • The six requirements for smart, timely decisions
  • Evaluating the frame for a decision
  • The role of data analytics in creative alternative generation
  • Developing the relevance diagram—the bridge from data to decisions
  • Use of the "tornado analysis" to recognize the swing factors for a decision
  • Calculating the value of information
  • Interpreting analysis results to identify the best alternative
  • Understanding biases that impact data and decisions 
  • Building commitment to action to make decisions stick

Carl Spetzler Thought leader, business strategist, and author, Carl works with top management teams to create innovative new strategies that deal with the complexities of uncertainty and risk over long time horizons. Widely recognized for his pioneering contributions to the field of decision science, he is the lead author of the 2016 book Decision Quality: Value Creation from Better Business Decisions.  

Jennifer Meyer Originally trained as a data scientist, Jennifer helps clients incorporate data insights into economic evaluation, strategy development, and business portfolio modeling. A senior leader in SDG's executive education practice, she creates and delivers online and live courses that foster leadership and decision capability in organizations. She is a coauthor of the 2016 book Decision Quality: Value Creation from Better Business Decisions.  

SDG has a 35-year history of delivering world-class courses and workshops on decision making, applied decision science, and risk. Participants uniformly say they "agree" or "strongly agree" with the statement "This course is valuable to me and my company." Here is a sample of recent comments. 

  • Impactful. Everyone should take this course.
  • Great use of time. Valuable addition to my skillset.
  • This course challenged me to move beyond my obsession with “the numbers” and focus on the “bigger picture.”
  • The best career course I have ever taken; very useful.
  • Will definitely impact the way I make decisions & influence decision-makers.
  • 'Decision Quality' will help me become an even bigger contributor to my company's success.
  • Intensive & enlightening set of strategies to become a good decision-maker.
  • This is an eye-opening course that will benefit us in both work and life in making decisions.
  • Made me rethink a lot of things I was “sure” about. Thank you!
  • What the hell was I doing before this course? AMAZING COURSE!  


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