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INFORMS Initiatives: Board elections, crop challenge, how not to respond to critics

Georgia Tech’s Keskinocak elected president-elect of INFORMS

Georgia Tech’s Keskinocak elected president-elect of INFORMS

Pinar Keskinocak

Pinar Keskinocak (photo), the William W. George Chair and Professor in the Stewart School of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Georgia Institute of Technology, and an INFORMS Fellow, was elected president-elect of INFORMS following a vote of the Institute’s membership. After a year on the INFORMS Board as president-elect, Dr. Keskinocak will assume the presidency in 2020.

Dr. Keskinocak served as the Secretary of INFORMS and the Vice President of Membership and Professional Recognition on the INFORMS Board. She co-founded and served as the president of the Public Sector Operations Research Section and the Junior Faculty Interaction Group Forum, as well as the president of the Health Applications Society and the Women in OR/MS Forum.

At Georgia Tech, Dr. Keskinocak is the co-founder and director of the Center for Health and Humanitarian Systems and serves as the College of Engineering ADVANCE Professor. Dr. Keskinocak’s research focuses on the applications of operations research and management science with societal impact, particularly in health and humanitarian systems, supply chain management, and logistics/transportation.

Other newly elected members of the INFORMS Board for 2019 include: David Hunt of Oliver Wyman (Treasurer), Cole Smith of Clemson University (Vice President-Publications), Melissa “Missie” Bowers of the University of Tennessee (Vice President-Education), Tamas Terlaky of Lehigh University (Vice President-Meetings), Subramanian “Raghu” Raghavan of the University of Maryland (Vice President-Technology Strategies) and Laurie Garrow of Georgia Tech (Vice President-Sections/Societies).

Syngenta Crop Challenge to test and award analytical skills

Syngenta Crop Challenge to test and award analytical skills

Syngenta Crop Challenge

The 2019 Syngenta Crop Challenge in Analytics, organized by the Analytics Society of INFORMS, is now open. By accepting the crop challenge, team contestants demonstrate how data can be used to feed the future world for a chance to share in prize money of $5,000 for first place, $2,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place. This year’s problem addresses the tolerance of various corn hybrids to stresses that might be encountered during the growing season. Visit the competition website to sign up. For more information and to download the submission template, click “Learn More.” For answers to questions, fill in the email template under “Contact.”

Submissions are due Jan. 18, 2019. Finalists will be announced in March 2019, and they will present their work during the INFORMS Business Analytics Conference April 14-16, 2019, in Austin, Texas, where the winners will be announced.

When managers respond to online critics, negative reviews ensue

When managers respond to online critics, more negative reviews ensue

Mangers should reconsider responding to negative online reviews. Image source: ThinkStock

A new study in the INFORMS journal Marketing Science found that when managers respond to online reviews it’s possible that those responses could actually stimulate additional reviewing activity and an increased number of negative reviews.

The study, “Channels of Impact: User Reviews When Quality is Dynamic and Managers Respond,” is authored by Judith Chevalier of the Yale School of Management and NBER, Yaniv Dover of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Dina Mayzlin of the Marshal School of Business at the University of Southern California. Their research focused on online reviews of “dynamic-quality” goods and services, such as hotel and travel/hospitality services, as compared to “static-quality” goods and services, where the consumer experience is not as influenced by direct managerial involvement.

The purpose of the research was to learn about the role and effectiveness of managers responding to online reviews and the motivations of consumers who engage in online reviewing. The researchers studied online reviews of hotels and analyzed reviews and data from portals that included TripAdvisor, Expedia and Hotels.com. They focused on the drivers for word-of-mouth that are influenced by the presence of a managerial response, or lack of response, to online reviews. In the end, the authors found that managerial responses are likely to stimulate reviewing activity.

Study author Yaniv Dover says that one of the key differences between consumers who review dynamic-quality and static-quality goods and services is that there are two audiences for the reviews of dynamic-quality goods and services. “In the case of … a review of a product purchase on Amazon, the reviewer’s audience is more than likely other consumers,” he says. “But when reviewing dynamic-quality goods and services, the reviewer could be motivated by an intent to impact the manager, and not just other consumers.”

The entry of the firm’s manager into the conversation potentially changes the nature of the discourse, which in turn affects the customers’ incentives to post reviews,” Dover adds. “The response functionality transforms a peer-to-peer review system into a hybrid system that includes both peer review and a customer feedback avenue.”

In working to understand the consumer profile of those who engage in online reviewing, particularly, in response to managerial posts, the authors said that having the ability to influence the targeted firm could be a major factor. “Based on our research, we believe that managerial response activity disproportionately stimulates negative review production since the negative feedback may be seen by reviewers as particularly impactful,” Dover says.

For the full study click here.

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Headlines

Using machine learning and optimization to improve refugee integration

Andrew C. Trapp, a professor at the Foisie Business School at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI), received a $320,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to develop a computational tool to help humanitarian aid organizations significantly improve refugees’ chances of successfully resettling and integrating into a new country. Built upon ongoing work with an international team of computer scientists and economists, the tool integrates machine learning and optimization algorithms, along with complex computation of data, to match refugees to communities where they will find appropriate resources, including employment opportunities. Read more →

Gartner releases Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 rankings

Gartner, Inc. has released its 10th annual Healthcare Supply Chain Top 25 ranking. The rankings recognize organizations across the healthcare value chain that demonstrate leadership in improving human life at sustainable costs. “Healthcare supply chains today face a multitude of challenges: increasing cost pressures and patient expectations, as well as the need to keep up with rapid technology advancement, to name just a few,” says Stephen Meyer, senior director at Gartner. Read more →

Meet CIMON, the first AI-powered astronaut assistant

CIMON, the world’s first artificial intelligence-enabled astronaut assistant, made its debut aboard the International Space Station. The ISS’s newest crew member, developed and built in Germany, was called into action on Nov. 15 with the command, “Wake up, CIMON!,” by German ESA astronaut Alexander Gerst, who has been living and working on the ISS since June 8. Read more →

UPCOMING ANALYTICS EVENTS

INFORMS-SPONSORED EVENTS

INFORMS Computing Society Conference
Jan. 6-8, 2019; Knoxville, Tenn.

INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics & Operations Research
April 14-16, 2019; Austin, Texas

INFORMS International Conference
June 9-12, 2019; Cancun, Mexico

INFORMS Marketing Science Conference
June 20-22; Rome, Italy

INFORMS Applied Probability Conference
July 2-4, 2019; Brisbane, Australia

INFORMS Healthcare Conference
July 27-29, 2019; Boston, Mass.

2019 INFORMS Annual Meeting
Oct. 20-23, 2019; Seattle, Wash.

Winter Simulation Conference
Dec. 8-11, 2019: National Harbor, Md.

OTHER EVENTS

Advancing the Analytics-Driven Organization
Jan. 28–31, 2019, 1 p.m.– 5 p.m. (live online)

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