Multi-disciplinary insights

“[AIG’s] Science Team intentionally refrains from using the words “data” or “analytics,” as the team’s capabilities stretch far beyond these two disciplines: behavioral economists, psychologists, engineers, and change management experts work hand-in-hand with data scientists, mathematicians, and statisticians. And for good reason: this multidisciplinary approach is essential to go beyond merely generating new insights from data but also to systematically enhance individual human judgment in real business contexts. Ninety percent of the team was recruited from beyond the insurance industry to enable it to challenge the status quo approach to decision-making. The Science Team not only prepares data and builds models, but also emphasizes the identification of business opportunities and education, change management and implementation—the complete value chain from framing questions through to changing behaviors.”
Murli Buluswar and Martin Reeves
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The PAOSS blog often discusses the need for OSS to develop a relevance far beyond the operations teams that they’ve traditionally serviced. In fact it’s just dawned on me that OSS should be re-named to Organisational Support Systems rather than Operational Support Systems.

The AIG example listed (and linked) above provides a forward-thinking approach to deriving insights / opportunities from the masses of data that organisations collect using OSS, BSS and other tools. To use another visual, the diagram below represents a set of connections / knowledge / insights. The central region shows a vast number of linkages, which could be representative of the wealth of knowledge stored by operations teams.

But the diagram depicts that this grouping of linkages is already fairly saturated. I think that it’s the ability to link to outliers (ie groups / functions / opportunities outside the inner core of the operations teams) that will unlock some of the more profound organisation-wide insights that OSS are waiting to deliver.

To follow AIG’s lead, this may suggest that 90% of your “Science Team” should come from outside the telecommunications industry to challenge the status-quo of decision making. If that’s not an option for whatever reason, are you able to identify the people within your organisation that act as connectors across diverse business units? They might be in the executive suite or they might be inquisitive interns. Can you identify and leverage their unique talents / knowledge?

Note: See this link for more info about Sociograms and Holes as shown in the diagram above.

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