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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).



Study: The magic of animated movies not tied to latest technology

In the nearly 60 years between the 1939 release of Hollywood’s first full-length animated movie, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” and modern hits like “Toy Story,” “Shrek” and more, advances in animation technology have revolutionized not only animation techniques, but moviemaking as a whole. However, a new study in the INFORMS journal Organization Science found that employing the latest technology doesn’t always ensure creative success for a film. Read more →

Six finalists named for Edelman Award

INFORMS selected a diverse group of six finalists for the 47th annual Franz Edelman Award for Achievements in Operations Research and Management Science, the world’s most prestigious award for achievement in the practice of analytics and O.R. The 2018 finalists, who will present their work before a panel of judges at the INFORMS Conference on Analytics & Operations Research in Baltimore on April 15-17, included innovative applications in broadcasting, healthcare, communication, inventory management, vehicle fleet management and alternative energy. Read more →

Are Super Bowl ads worth it? New research suggests benefits persist

On Feb. 4, more than 40 percent of U.S. households will watch the 2018 Super Bowl game on TV. Advertisers will pay up to $4 million for a 30-second spot during the telecast. Is the high cost of advertising worth it? A new study finds that the benefits from Super Bowl ads persist well into the year with increased sales during other sporting events. Further, the research finds that the gains in sales are much more substantial when the advertiser is the sole advertiser from its market category or niche in a particular event. Read more →



2018 INFORMS Conference on Business Analytics and Operations Research
April 15-17, 2018, Baltimore


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