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HEALTH SERVICE INNOVATION
Decision Modeling and Foresight Methodologies
By Pokrath Hansasuta, MD, DPhil (Oxon), FRCPath
Salo, Ahti. Decision Modeling and Foresight Methodlogies. Retrieved from www.inescc.pt/~ewgmcda/GrSalo.html
Helsenki Institute of Science and Technology Studies. Research Group on Decision-making Models and Foresight Methods. Retrieved from http://www.valt.helsinki.fi/blogs/hist/post29.htm
Professor Ahti Salo initiated the research group on Decision Modeling and Foresight Methodologies, which is based at the Systems Analysis Laboratory of the Helsinki University of Technology. Decision analysis as well as decision making and risk management have been among the key issues that the group wanted to make progress on. They were run in collaboration with the Helsinki School of Economics as of 1995. The activities have been enabled through basic and applied research projects funded by organizations such as the National Technology Agency (Tekes), the Academy of Finland, Ministries of the Finnish Government, industrial firms and the European Union.
With respect to decision modeling, the most relevant focal research topic is the modeling and exploitation of incomplete information in decision support processes. The topic is motivated by the realization that information on the performance of decision alternatives or the relative importance of the decision criteria can be difficult, impossible or prohibitively expensive to acquire. It is thus pertinent to examine how useful and defensible recommendations can be developed on the basis of the information that can be obtained through decent efforts.
The research group is directed by Prof. Ahti Salo of the Department of Mathematics and Systems Analysis, in Aalto University. The group develops decision analytic methods and tools; it also deploys these in the context of applied research projects carried out in collaboration with decision and policy makers on topics in relation to science, technology and innovation. In terms of methodology, particular attention is given to participatory approaches for technology foresight and assessment, as well as methods for addressing uncertainties in innovation management (e.g., prioritization of research themes). The research group consisted of Prof. Salo, four full-time researchers, three Master’s Thesis students, and two part-time research assistants.
In recent years, the main projects in relation to S&T decision and policy making were “robust portfolio modeling in innovation management” (a research project on the use of portfolio approaches in technology foresight, funded by Tekes and industrial firms); “A participatory exploration of business opportunities for the environmental cluster of Ylä-Savo” (carried out together with Savonia Polytechnic); “A resource allocation model for standardization activities at a telecommunication company” (Nokia); and “Decision Analysis in Project Portfolio Optimization” (Academy of Finland).
Elaborating in further details pertaining to the above projects, the methods being developed and utilized were built on the well-established frameworks for value tree analysis and some hierarchical weighting models. Four important methods can be investigated: