The AOAI provides a window onto three areas of analytic study posing a challenge for society. These three are:
The foregoing considers three expanding horizons of study, each posing a dichotomy for the analyst – what they should analytically consider versus competing human tendencies that may undermine purity of analytic science.
AOAI is fostering discussion in these three areas of interest by drawing on the strength of the existing analytic community. Each of the three is the basis for a “program” recommended herein and each program draws on the generally accepted analytic practice in eight representative archetypes, referred to herein as “modules”.
It is hoped that expanded discussion will foster a common awareness of the importance of effective analytics with the potential to expand the work to establish toward an Institute – perhaps an “Analysis of Analysis Institute.”
“The mark of a good theory is that it can explain, in a coherent way, all or at least most of the relevant facts and is not contradicted by any of them. A bad theory is one that is contradicted by some of the relevant facts. An outrageous theory would be one that is contradicted by virtually all the relevant facts.”
- David Ray Griffin
The extent to which society can achieve a consensus on “objective truth in analysis” will determine the effectiveness with which we confront adversity on issues of profound import to our daily lives. As individuals, the synthesis of our observations into actions depends on our approach to analysis and, to a significant extent, on the cognitive circuitry we apply in developing our understandings. If there is single, abstract analytic truth, we can best achieve an awareness of it by isolating the mind-specific factors that introduce diversity and bring a focus to a common universal analytic truth.
As individuals we are simultaneously equipped with a mixed bag of onboard rationalities from logic in analytic science, to faith-based intentions, to emotional interests and instinctive needs. The resulting uniquely fashioned analytic interpretation can take us down diverging paths of understanding. Consider the following major issues for which we do not have a consensus: freedom of information, freedom of religion, surveillance of the public, suspension of constitutional liberties, legalization of torture, legalization of marijuana, same sex marriage, abortion, euthanasia, stem cell research etc.
The variation in cognitive mindset can also be the product of benefit-in-analysis over taking integrity-in-analysis, as for example in the corporate setting where the bottom line may override reasonable interpretations of the truth. Consider the following corporate actions that remain wrapped in mystery that have significantly shaped our destiny: the privatization of the Federal Reserve, the Hindenburg disaster, Thalidomide, the Assassination of J.F. Kennedy, the Assassination of Martin Luther King, the Assassination of R.F. Kennedy, Chappaquiddick, the Kent State Riots, the Moon Landing, Watergate, Pinto fires, the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa, Jones Town, Iran Hostage Taking, the Challenger Disaster, Chernobyl, the O.J. Simpson Trial, Genetically Modified Foods, Election 2000 anomalies, the Gulf Oil Spill, the depletion of blue collar America, the bankruptcy of Detroit etc.
A third concern in analytics is the potential for “gaming”, an intentionally devised misunderstanding of analytics to shape a desired tactical objective of benefiting parties. On the world stage, we have encountered mystery regarding: the sinking of the Titanic, the sinking of the Lusitania, World War I, the rise of Hitler, World War II, Hiroshima-Nagasaki, the Treaty of Versailles, the United Nations, the Korean War, the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Gulf of Tonkin, the Vietnam war, the Energy Crisis, the end of Apartheid, the Trade Centre bombing, the Oklahoma City Bombing, Iran Contra, the Soviet Union Collapse, the invasion of Iraq, Global Warming, Carbon Tax, the re-Invasion of Iraq, the Project for the New American Century (PNAC), 9/11, Anthrax attacks, H1N1, Economic Meltdown 2008, Benghazi, the rise of China, and the sinking of the US dollar etc.
Analysis of Analysis herein proposes a universal “lens” through which society can find a common perspective on the analyses upon which we rely.
AOAI is intended to provide:
AOAI is not intended to provide:
By admission, the site is based on rational science, mathematics, statistics, engineering and the like. Hence, the material is not intended to disprove theories that are based on non-scientific rationalities such as religious-based belief systems.
It is the intention of this website to promote enhanced professionalism in analysis. Learning is proposed through an analysis of today’s analyses, to acquire an understanding of analysis as it relates to a broad spectrum of applications. This is attempted through identification of commonly held, largely pre-existing, definitions for the use by the AOAI membership that will help shape integrity in their analysis. It is to provide a contextual reference for efficient relation between analysis and the truth, to, thereby, enhance application of integrity in our analyses, for our own benefit as inquisitive learners, for our enhanced value within the surrounding corporation for which we work, and for the betterment of society at large.
AOAI is Analysis Of Analysis Introspectus per:
Putting it together, the intent is an explanation of the nature and meaning of how we use our thoughts and feelings to derive our explanation of the nature and meaning of something or, put simply, a review of our personal approaches to analytics in various settings.
One might think the name of the model, “greenFields”, comes from the definition “not previously developed” per Merriam-Webster, however, the truth is this is the name of a nice pub in Ottawa, Canada, where many an hour was spent reviewing material.
So, on the face of it, analysis of analysis is a multi-facetted and highly complex subject area. Our bid to bring objectivity to the analysis of analysis requires a model that simplifies the subject matter. We require a model that renders the subject area “as simple as possible, but not simpler than possible” (ref. Einstein) thus retaining a meaningful depiction of the key parameters that shape the extent of objectivity in analysis.
The collage of study areas the overlay the types of analyses with the types of individual, system and meta system behaviours that challenge the purity of our analyses…this is where the greenFields Model comes in.
The Dynamic Baseline Model (herein after DBM) is a project management taxonomy for complexity classification. It results in:
This paper provides the material for the lecture series “The Dynamic Baseline Model –for Project Management” provided to MBA students at the University of Ottawa over the past decade. Many thanks to my co-author, Quang Duong, and to Professor John Rakos for bringing me into his classes over the years.
"People will generally accept facts as truth only if the facts agree with what they already believe"
- Andy Rooney
Selling the concept of truth can be a daunting task when everyone has already got one, yet, bringing our analyses to a common perspective remains vital to developing a common understanding of an agreed ultimate or “Universal Truth.” These analyses hold the key to some very profound questions that shape our daily lives, the vitality of our companies, the directions on our global community and the hope for a common understanding.
The interplay between information we acquire and our internal belief system processors will determine our stance on issues. The information itself can vary amongst sources such as learned institutions, mainstream media, colleagues, friends and family, social media and other internet-based communications. Some variation in the information is the natural product of the complexity of the subject matter, some is the result of misunderstanding or naivety, and some the results of malfeasance – a deliberate attempt to alter the truth.
Terminology useful in our deliberation of truth includes:
This baseline of terminology on our concept of truth is the starting point for addressing explainable variations in analysis.
According to Merriam Webster, meaning means “the logical connotation of a word or phrase.” So there can be many connotations depending on the rationality. A few words of reference include:
With an established terminology on meaning, we can now refine our explainable variations in analytic interpretation.
Science is “knowledge about or study of the natural world based on facts learned through experiments and observation” (ref. Webster’s). Classical science is limited to observable study. It cannot be logically applied to hypotheses of nature that extend beyond the observable. Theoretical Physics enables conjecture beyond that which is directly observable. Further extension of conjecture strays into “philosophy”.
Philosophy is “a particular set of ideas about knowledge, truth, the nature and meaning of life, etc.: a set of ideas about how to do something or how to live.” (ref. Webster’s)
“Do scientists need faith?…not in the sense of faith as meaning belief in something for which there is no evidence."
- Richard Dawkins
The word “protocol” signifies a behavioural comportment of the analyst, a self-imposed limitation to inquiry or more formally “The accepted or established code of procedure or behavior in any group, organization, or situation” (ref. Oxford)
The generally accepted protocol for science, on the other hand, would not limit consideration of the facts. Thinking outside the box of convention is appropriate.
With that, it is suggested that the protocol of analytic behaviour expected by society and the protocol of science are in conflict.
The branches of inquiry, within which science is situated is provided in the illustration below, borrowed from a Jason Wells website.
As analysis is the central theme, it would be appropriate to have a clean definition of what we are referring to here. From Oxford Analysis means “detailed examination of the elements or structure of something” (ref. Oxford).
Terminology recommended for discussion of logic includes:
Herein the term “Scientific Method” is intended in the broad sense of the term, to encompass analyses in domains not traditionally view as one of the sciences per se. In its expanded application, the procedure holds for Statistics, Reporting and Journalism, Debate Protocol. Legal Investigation, Decision Theory, Proposal Speculation etc. etc. When one claims the use of scientific method, the term brings with it certain strict adherences. The components are interdependent and must be adequately completed to conform to “Scientific Method.” Reduction of the process or external interpretations may undermine the brand scientific method and should include clear explanation for the audience on what was adjusted and what was added to ensure transparency and to avoid mislabelling faith or philosophy as science.
Terminology considered here includes:
As individuals, analytics are a fundamental cornerstone to our outlook on life and our interaction with others. As most of us learn in our youth, through arduous study in High School, the methods and procedures in analytics become well understood. If, for example, we were to undertook a scientific experiment of something, the implicit, if not stated, context for the initiative would entail due diligence to scientific procedure. This practice is “schooled into us” and is general understood in society. In the innocence of our school days, the academics served us well. However, when we confront the environment in which we apply this integrity-in-practice to situations where we may have a vested interest in particular outcomes, the learned procedure can be lost. Hence, the AOAI Program 1 offers a refresher on the general accepted academic procedures and allows the ability to cross connect to the various disciplines established within the eight modules. The natural tendencies that may compete for our attention to objectivity in analysis are addressed in the “Human Factors” section of each module. Eight of these tendencies are addressed, each assigned to one module for the purposes of streamlining the material and adapting the material for ease of learning. Scientific Method entails:
For Program 1 the obligation of the analyst is to operate the sound analytic procedure such that results obtained would be the same regardless of any practitioner conducting them.
Ethics: “Moral principles that govern a person’s behaviour or the conducting of an activity” (Oxford).
Principles in a Code of Ethics include:
The AOAI Program 2 reviews the situation confronted by Professional analysts in our society that work within a corporate system and are thus guided by the goals of that system. Hence, the dichotomy of allegiance to the profession and allegiance to the goals of the organization is the focal point of Program 2. The protection society expects from professionals are addressed through the ethics ascribed by our professional associations. For example, a Professional Engineer’s obligation to adherence to design standards required in construction versus a corporate objective to avoid material costs that reduce profitability.
A professional is thus, not just an analyst, but one upon which society depends upon for adherence to principles of the profession. Such principles include: honesty, integrity, transparency, accountability, confidentiality, objectivity, respectfulness and adherence to law.
Analysts that exercise a professional calling in analytics are subject to certification exams and continue to be reviewed through the course of their career to ensure adherence to principle. This certification procedure and their overarching duty to society is well understood by professionals through the course of their certification. Terminology here includes:
Program 2 recognizes that the professional's obligations-in-analysis extends beyond the fundamentals of operating an objective procedure as addressed in Program 1. Here the analyst faces choices amongst competing objectives. The resulting choices will be analyst dependent, however, the framework of ethics provides a "fencing" for the latitude such that the interests of society remain primordial.
For example, the results of a science experiment conducted to date fossil artifacts will not vary with beliefs held on creationism or evolutionism.
Moral Obligation of World Leaders
Principles of Democracy include:
Undertaking of the President of the United States is:
“I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States…" (ref. United States Constitution).
Undertaking of members of the United States Congress is:
“I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter…” (ref. United States Constitution).
Unlike the expected norms of individual analysts and professionals operating in a system, norms and expectations for analytics in this third Program is not, as yet, well established. Hence, through study of Program 1 and Program 2, it is hoped the Program three will become better defined by triangulating extension of the first to programs with the eight selected modules pertaining to world affairs.
The Program 1 “adherence to method” and Program 2 “adherence to principle” must also be treated differently in Program 3. It is suggested that society’s outlook on world affairs need be resolved on the basis of modeling – mapping out the power brokers on the world stage, following the path of cui bono (who benefits), using Bayesian logic to determine whether events indicate the high probability of a fair system – institutions doing as the represent – or a high probability of gaming – a manipulation. It is also suggested that analysts at Program 3 need be satisfied with resolving analysis to this probability, avoid the temptation to force conclusions into a black and white box of intellectual convenience.
It is suggested that the vast majority of societal analysis of world affairs are shaped by adherence to protocol – expected behaviours to define what is appropriate to look at and what is not. Contrary to science, this unnaturally truncates the analysis and inhibits learning - for example, the social stigma associated with looking beyond the Oswald theory in the assassination of John F. Kennedy. These protocols are addressed in each of the eight modules of the greenFields model for Program 3 and form a major component of the analysis of world affairs analyses.
Program 3 enables greater flexibility in analytic license compared to Programs 1 and 2. Here, there is room for the potential for to rationalize that the end justifies the means. Appropriateness of analytic conduct extends beyond the mere objectivity in procedure and ethics in judgement, to hold analysts to account for the morality they exercise in their analyses.
For example, a leader's stance on conflict may be skewed to message support for efforts that are in public interest.