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Analytics Magazine

INFORMS Initiatives: Pro bono analytics, essential skills class, strategy science origins

Innovative and Pro Bono Analytics: a winning combination

Pro Bono Analytics

Pro Bono Analytics

When Wes Chaar, José Antonio Carabajal, CAP, and Peter Williams from Turner Broadcasting won the 2017 Caterpillar and INFORMS Analytics Society Innovative Applications in Analytics Award (IAAA) for their application entitled “Audience Targeting Solutions Powered by Advanced Analytics,” they knew that they wanted to do some good with their $2,000 in prize money. Fortunately, they did not have to look far; they decided to team up with the INFORMS Pro Bono Analytics (PBA) program to support two important initiatives. Half of the prize money will further PBA’s commitment to Star of Hope Mission, which serves the homeless population in Houston. PBA sponsored a micro-volunteer opportunity with Star of Hope for attendees of the 2017 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Houston. The other half of the prize money will be used as seed money to support a similar micro-volunteer event at the upcoming fall 2018 INFORMS Annual Meeting in Phoenix.

“We greatly appreciate the generosity of the Turner Broadcasting team,” says PBA Committee Chair Dave Hunt. “One of PBA’s activities is to give back to the host city for the INFORMS fall conference, and the donation from Turner is being used to support nonprofit organizations working with disadvantaged residents of Houston and Phoenix.”

Pro Bono Analytics links operations research and analytics professionals who are willing to volunteer their analytical skills with nonprofit organizations working in underserved areas or with underserved populations that could benefit from analytics. To sign up as a Pro Bono Analytics volunteer or to learn more about the program, visit

Turner’s award-winning, innovative analytics application dramatically improves the granularity with which it can target audiences, benefitting advertisers, audiences and Turner alike. As it turns out, through PBA, the application also benefits the homeless and others in need, and that’s truly a winning combination.

This year’s finalist for the Innovative Applications in Analytics Award will make presentations on April 16 during the INFORMS Prize track at the INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research in Baltimore.

– Erick Wikum and Dave Hunt

Essential practice skills workshops set for Denver, Washington, D.C.


Patrick Noonan

Patrick Noonan, a former management consultant, business owner and college professor, will lead two-day workshops in Denver and the Washington, D.C., area later this year as part of INFORMS’ Professional Development and Continuing Education program. The workshops, “Essential Practice Skills for High-Impact Analytics Projects,” will be held June 20-21 at the University of Denver in Denver and Sept. 19-20 at the AMA Washington D.C. Area Executive Conference Center in Arlington, Va.

In the workshops, Noonan combines a hands-on teaching and learning approach honed from his faculty positions at Harvard, Duke and most recently Emory University, with real-world experience from his business career starting at global management consulting giant McKinsey & Co. By the end of the course, participants will: 1) Learn to link their subject-matter expertise to the challenges of messy, unstructured problems, organizational noise and non-technical decision-makers; and 2) Understand best-practice techniques, including: problem statement summaries, issue trees, interview guides, work plans, sensitivity analysis, stress-testing recommendations, the “Pyramid Principle” of story logic, story-boarding, slide-craft, delivering presentations and fielding Q&A.

Participants in the workshop will learn and hone the skills they need to turn analytical insights into organizational actions that drive innovation, growth and efficiency. Past participants have come from a wide variety of industries, including manufacturing, healthcare, finance, transportation and many more, and have ranged from CFOs and data scientists to research analysts, business intelligence professionals, academic program directors.

For more information or to register, click here.

Journal collection explores the origins of strategy science

The collection explores strategy science in a unique and inspiring way. Photo Courtesy of | © Sergey Nivens

The collection explores strategy science in a unique and inspiring way.
Photo Courtesy of | © Sergey Nivens

Where do great strategies come from? How can opportunities be maximized? How can the most successful strategies be identified? These questions and more are explored in a one-of-a-kind collection of essays by prominent thought leaders in strategy science. This one-of-a-kind collection began with a collaborative workshop hosted by Apple and was ultimately published by INFORMS, the largest international association of operations research (O.R.) and analytics professionals.

“On the Origin of Great Strategies” consists of original essays, published as a special edition of the INFORMS journal Strategy Science, a leading publication of research on the challenges of strategic management in both business and nonprofit organizations. The content in the special essay collection serves as a valuable resource to practitioners, students, media and industry, especially those interested in taking a deeper dive into the fundamentals of strategy science or looking for a fresh perspective on how to approach their own research.

The collection is the result of a uniquely collaborative effort, with the authors providing early drafts of their essays for a workshop led by Joel Podolny, fellow collection author, vice president at Apple and dean of Apple University. During the workshop at Apple headquarters, the authors presented their essays for critique and discussion among the other authors, who represent leading universities and O.R. and analytics programs from across the United States.

“This collection explores strategy science in a unique and inspiring way,” said Giovanni Gavetti, a special guest editor of the collection from Dartmouth College. “We challenged each of these authors to take a new approach to many of the basic questions that serve as the founding principles of strategy science, and each provided a thoughtful and original viewpoint. Given the caliber of the authors and the fact that the question we asked them strikes right at the heart of the field, there is a good chance that the special issue will be remembered as an important contribution to strategy, both the theory of strategy and its practical and pedagogical implications.”

In addition to Gavetti, Joe Porac of New York University also served as a guest editor, under the guidance of the editor in chief of Strategy Science, Daniel Levinthal of the University of Pennsylvania. While Strategy Science traditionally publishes the latest research and studies in strategic science, On the Origin of Great Strategies provides an original opportunity for previously published authors to take a deeper dive and explore the origins and fundamental ideals that structure the field.

“This collection is not only a wonderful resource but an exciting departure from the more conventional approach of a traditional edition of Strategy Science,” said Porac. “We feel it will be of great interest and value to anyone interested in the field of strategy science, regardless of their experience level.”
Part 1 of the collection is available here; Part 2 is available here.

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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.


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


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