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Analytics Magazine


March/April 2010


Humanitarian Research Group Reacts To Haiti

Luk van WassenhoveIn the aftermath of the devastating earthquake in Haiti, one of the aftershocks facing the country is not seismic in nature, but concerns the struggle to coordinate relief efforts in order to reach those in need most effectively. INSEAD’s Humanitarian Research Group (HRG), part of the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre, has worked closely with many humanitarian organizations such as the International Federation of the Red Cross/ Red Crescent, World Food Programme, World Vision International and Médecins San Frontières. By listening to the needs and experiences of these partner organizations, INSEAD HRG has obtained first-hand knowledge of the issues affecting humanitarian logistics in responding to disasters. HRG has developed a rigorous methodology to analyze these issues, develop solutions and disseminate knowledge to those working in and with the humanitarian sector.

“We are closely monitoring events in Haiti and have been in contact with many of our partners who are working there,” says Professor Luk van Wassenhove (photo), director of the Social Innovation Centre and founder of INSEAD HRG. “It is already a country with a lot of poverty and weak infrastructure, so the logistical challenges faced by humanitarian organizations on the ground will be great.”

The tragedy in Haiti has prompted a rapid international reaction and outpouring of aid. The magnitude of the disaster combined with severe infrastructure, security and communication problems illustrates the crucial need to continue working on this topic.

For more on the INSEAD Social Innovation Centre, its reaction to the Haiti Earthquake and a video interview with Luk Van Wassenhove and Rolando Tomasini, manager of INSEAD HRG, click here:

Rapid Delivery Of Vaccines, Antidotes

Eva Lee

The ongoing threat of the H1N1 flu, future pandemics and biowarfare have given new urgency to pioneering research done by Professor Eva Lee (photo) of Georgia Tech on the rapid design and deployment of logistical strategies to deliver both vaccines and antidotes during medical crises. Lee, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control, is the creator of RealOpt©, a decision support system enabling real-time strategic and operational planning for large-scale systems modeling and optimization for public health.

RealOpt is designed to take the guesswork out of mass dispensing of medical countermeasures by providing good estimates of resource needs and operational performance. In numerous anthrax exercises and flu vaccination events conducted in the United States, emergency planners were able to determine best facility layout, optimal staffing and throughput, cost-effective operations, and perform strategic and operational planning. The system provides rapid scenario analysis and makes dynamic decision analysis instant and scalable.

A more mature system since first deployed in 2003, RealOpt is used not only by public health directors and coordinators (more than 1,600), but also by some fire departments, school districts and the U.S. military for the purpose of setting up vaccine dispensing sites. It has been used for efficient clinic layout design, optimal resource allocation and disease propagation analysis. Planning has been carried out for anthrax response exercises, actual flu vaccination clinic operations and for hepatitis vaccination.

Lee’s work has become an integral part of White House and DHS planning and discussions for preventing and preempting health care threats. Last year, the Department of Health and Human Services invited Lee to the White House for a public meeting to discuss H1N1 vaccine distribution issues and to share her knowledge on vaccination distribution, dispensing and tracking strategies with state, local and tribal public health directors.

Professor Lee also works with White House Biodefense Policy and Medical Preparedness Policy Directors on matters related to emergency response, mass casualty mitigation and medical preparedness and policy.

RealOpt-regional is an interactive online software enterprise that features visualization tools and large-scale optimization. The system equips users with spatial understanding of important landmarks in the region, assesses the population densities and demographic makeup of the region, and identifies the most cost-efficient network of dispensing sites and modalities for effective population protection.

Besides specifying the number of necessary healthcare workers, security personnel and operations personnel, the system displays the demographic mixture of the region to help emergency planners identify appropriate personnel for special needs (e.g.,pediatric assistants, translators). Economic analysis can be performed to identify combinations of dispensing modalities (walkthrough, drive-through, public, private, mobile, or postal) to accommodate the affected population in a timely and effective manner.

Lee’s effort aligns particularly well with the recent news that the Department of Health and Human Services will review in first-quarter 2010 how the nation can more quickly develop and produce medical countermeasures for public health emergencies.

Analytics Magazine Tom Davenport
Analytics Magazine Analytics MagazineJeanne Harris

‘Analytics’ Makes HBR’s List Of Top Ideas

“Competing on Analytics” wasn’t just a best-selling book by co-authors Tom Davenport (photo) and Jeanne Harris (photo), it was also one of 12 most influential management ideas of the millennium (so far) according to a handful of editors at the Harvard Business Review. “Decades of investment in systems capturing transactions and feedback finally yielded a toolkit for turning all that data into intelligence,” wrote the editors. “Operations research types, long consigned to engineering realms like manufacturing scheduling, got involved in marketing decisions. Managers started learning from experiments that were worthy of the name.”

Davenport and Harris both recently contributed articles to Analytics magazine. Davenport wrote “The Rise of Strategic Analytics” for the Executive Edge column in the Fall 2009 issue ( 63#/2d674a63/5), while Harris was co-author of a feature article, “How to Organize Your Analytical Talent,” that appeared in the January/February 2010 issue (http://viewer.zmags. com/publication/ed2f8ceb#/ed2f8ceb/16).

Along with “Competing on Analytics,” HBR’s list of most influential ideas included: “Shareholder Value as a Strategy,” “IT as a Utility,” “The Customer Chorus,” “Enterprise Risk Management,” “The Creative Organization,” “Open Source,” “Going Private,” “Behavioral Economics,” “High Potentials,” “Reverse Innovation” and “Sustainability.”

For the complete story, click here ( decade_in_management_ideas.html).



Does negative political advertising actually work?

While many potential voters dread campaign season because of pervasive negative political advertising, a new study has found that negative political advertising actually works, but perhaps not in the way that many may assume. The study “A Border Strategy Analysis of Ad Source and Message Tone in Senatorial Campaigns,” which will be published in the June edition of INFORMS’ journal Marketing Science, is co-authored by Yanwen Wang of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Michael Lewis of Emory University in Atlanta and David A. Schweidel of Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. Read more →

Meet Summit, world’s most powerful, smartest scientific supercomputer

The U.S. Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory on June 8 unveiled Summit as the world’s most powerful and smartest scientific supercomputer. With a peak performance of 200,000 trillion calculations per second – or 200 petaflops – Summit will be eight times more powerful than ORNL’s previous top-ranked system, Titan. For certain scientific applications, Summit will also be capable of more than three billion billion mixed precision calculations per second, or 3.3 exaops. Read more →

Employee engagement a top concern affecting customer experience

Employee engagement has surfaced as a major concern in delivering improvements in customer experience (CX), with 86 percent of CX executives in a Gartner, Inc. survey ranking it as having an equal or greater impact than other factors such as project management and data skills. “CX is a people issue,” says Olive Huang, research vice president at Gartner. “In some instances, the best technology investments have been derailed by employee factors, such as a lack of training or incentives, low morale or commitment, and poor communication of goals." Read more →



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