Tools For Thinking

By | February 19, 2016

tools for thinking

“Tools for Thinking: Modelling in Management Science”, by Michael Pidd is an introductory text on how modelling can support decision making and decision makers. Rather than going into excruciating detail on any particular approach, this book is more of a quick rundown of the kind of techniques that are available, along with their features, strengths and weaknesses.

A key distinction Pidd makes in Tools for Thinking is that of the differences between ‘soft’ and ‘hard’ modelling techniques. Hard techniques typically involve a mathematical approach and may involve forecasting or simulation. Soft techniques on the other hand are less widely recognised, and often involve looking at decision making from a human perspective and

Soft Tools For Thinking

Soft techniques and models are used to explore disagreements between people, and the uncertainties that exist about a system. The goal of soft techniques is usually to arrive at an agreed consensus or commitment to action from the relevant parties. Rather than crunching numbers, soft tools generally involve a more facilitative approach to work through the different perceptions of the reality of a problem.

Examples of soft analysis that Pidd gives include:

Hard Tools For Thinking

Hard tools consist of what might be considered more conventional models. Hard approaches use mathematics, statistics and logic, and rely on quantification to support decision making.

Examples of hard analysis techniques given by Pidd include: