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Don Philip Faithful's Blog Posts Tagged 'analysis' (18)

Market Alignment - An Application of Systems Theory for Organizations

The main components of systems theory that readers might remember are “inputs,” “processes,” and “outputs.”  The part that tends to get neglected is “feedback mechanisms.”  These mechanisms tell the system the extent to which operations fit the environment.  If there is lack of fitness, there is stress.  One adaptive impulse is to make processes more complex and intelligent - i.e. sometimes described as the fight response.  Another impulse is to give up and run away - i.e. the flight…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 23, 2018 at 9:00am — 1 Comment

Reconciling Opposing Performance Metrics Using Operational Simulations

Sometimes when dealing with performance metrics, there are contradictory signals.  For instance, although both are desirable, it is common for efficiency and efficacy to be in opposition.  An agent in a call centre can handle lots of calls while at the same time getting few sales; this is especially true if the agent’s main objective is to do lots of calls.  This is a highly efficient person albeit unsuccessful in terms of expanding the business.  Conversely, another agent by spending a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 6, 2018 at 3:30am — No Comments

Technical Boundary Analysis

About a month ago, I posted a blog on “Technical Deconstruction.” I described this as a technique to break down aggregate data to distinguish between its contributing parts: these parts might contain unique characteristics compared to the aggregate.  For instance, I suggested that it can be helpful to break down data by workday - that is to say, maintaining separate data for each day of the week.  I said that the data could be further deconstructed perhaps by time period and employee: the…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 14, 2018 at 8:00am — No Comments

Technical Deconstruction

The term “technical analysis” usually refers to the study of stock prices.  A technical analyst might use real-time or closing prices of stocks to predict future prices.  This is an interesting concept because of what is normally excluded from the analysis - namely, everything except prices.  Given that the approach doesn’t necessarily consider the health or profitability of the underlying companies, a purely technical approach seems to offer guidance that is disconnected from reality.  Yet…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 17, 2018 at 3:00am — No Comments

When Aggregates Fail

In general, any expression of performance that applies to a department can, if the data system is configured properly, be stated in relation to individual workers.  For instance, if # of sales contracts / # of customer enquiries = success rate, the success rate can be given for the entire dealership and also for each sales agent in that dealership.  Due to the differences in performance between agents, it can be problematic to only make use of the aggregate.  Some agents might be blamed for…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 25, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

Applied Ontology and the Drivers of Data Recognition

I shared my story in a few blogs about returning to university to do a graduate degree.  In my first class, I found myself being asked to define “ontology.”  It was a course on the Geography of Disability.  I returned to class the following week with some details.  I said that strangely enough, this is not a word that can be found in all of my dictionaries.  One dictionary listed “oncology,” which I believe is the study of cancerous tumours.  My Collins Cobuild dictionary says, “Ontology is…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 11, 2018 at 7:30am — No Comments

Judging Health Through Metrics of Conformance

I have written in the past about the difference between market demand and operational capacity - and how difficult it is to determine what exactly is being measured in relation to either.  Has the demand for a product declined, or is the organization simply less capable of satisfying it?  For example, the fact there are no bananas in the grocery store does not mean that there is no demand for bananas; but the absence of revenues from the sale of bananas might be regarded, rather erroneously,…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 9, 2017 at 10:30am — No Comments

Using Selection to Find Superman - More on Demand and Capacity

During my childhood, our school librarian said that I was invited to attend a conference of writers.  I felt honoured and privileged.  I asked what the writers intended to ask me.  She smiled and said that actually I would be asking the writers questions.  Not quite sure why I would ask these people anything and why their thoughts would matter, I nodded anyways and at some point attended the most boring event imaginable for a young child.  I thought I had died, I really did.  I sat there…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 7, 2017 at 6:00am — No Comments

The Weak Karate of Six Sigma

Six Sigma is a quantitative approach to problem solving - to solve certain types of problems. At the root of Six Sigma is an improvement methodology that can be described by the acronym DMAIC: define, measure, analyze, improve, and control [1]. Those interested in reading up on Six Sigma might consider the book for dummies, which I found fairly succinct. Those wondering what I mean by "certain types of problems" should consider how to apply the approach to their own business circumstances. I…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on February 5, 2017 at 7:40am — 4 Comments

Risk as a Narrative Construct



I had some magical moments in my life. Perhaps the most magical was the summer I went to work wearing shorts and running shoes. Captain C. said to me, as I sat in our shared office, “If you want to work during the weekend, you can borrow the keys to the building.” It didn’t seem like a big deal at the time. I had already borrowed a military vehicle that, as per Captain C., I could park anywhere in Canada without receiving a parking ticket. So I borrowed the keys to the building. I went…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on December 25, 2016 at 8:00am — 2 Comments

The Institutional Response



When I talk about "the institutional response," I am referring to an increasingly common occurrence: a standardized or large-scale approach is supported, promoted, and applied by a particular institution - sometimes governmental in nature - premised on its apparent suitability or superiority to achieve desirable outcomes. I suspect that in recent years, there has been a push to get citizens to file their income tax returns electronically. I know that in Canada, it has become difficult…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 16, 2015 at 8:48am — No Comments

Algorithmic Sensitivity to Social Phenomena Using Fractals

I took only a single biology course during my years in university. My environmental toxicology professor explained that when testing for the LD50 (the dose that kills 50 percent of a population) a certain percentage will probably die right away; on the other hand, some might be able to tolerate unusually high exposure levels. There is a distribution of responses. A related principle applies to stress. People respond differently to stress: some might flee from their stressors (avoid or evade)…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on March 7, 2015 at 6:34am — No Comments

Qualitative Engine for Organizational Simulations

Given the nature of the community, presumably many visitors already have a strong understanding of the nature of quantitative data. Perhaps more mysterious is the idea of qualitative data especially since it can sometimes be expressed in quantitative terms. For instance, "stress" as an internal response to an externality differs from person to person; yet it would be possible to canvas a large number of people and express stress levels as an aggregate based on a perceptual gradient: minimal,…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on October 25, 2014 at 6:37am — No Comments

Data Instrumentalism

Being the son of a mechanic, I have spent many years handling power tools. I'm especially fond of a couple of hammer-drills in my possession. They can effortlessly drill holes through concrete. At least, this is what my father once claimed. He handed down his most treasured tools to me. I'm big on pliers and screwdrivers. This might be due to my vocational training as a technician. Even today - long after I completed my diploma and continued to further my education - I still carry a licence…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on September 27, 2014 at 7:39am — No Comments

Standardized Performance Friendly to Big Data

Somebody once mentioned to me that there is a need for a standard method of performance evaluation that can be applied to all employees regardless of their exact duties: e.g. to compare a janitor to an accountant. In my jurisdiction, there is a regulatory requirement for "equal pay for work of equal value" that can affect companies with government contracts. I consider the concept of "equal value" complicated due to its subjective nature. Certainly two people handling exactly the same work…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on July 5, 2014 at 7:31am — No Comments

Causality, Closet Nazis, and the Metrics of Criteria

A few semesters into my undergraduate studies, I decided to move away from campus in order to escape the incessant party atmosphere. I chose to rent an old but roomy apartment in Kitchener, Ontario. I read somewhere that this city was formerly called New Munich. One day in the dead of morning, I heard loud banging and smashing downstairs. It seemed that neither I nor my cat could sleep, so I went to investigate. I saw the owner of the building at the front entrance of the apartment holding a…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on June 21, 2014 at 6:27am — No Comments

Addition of Different Dimensions to Data

I was often the lone wolf among my peers in university because I supported a prominent place in society for corporations and an important social role for capital. I questioned whether the directors and executives of companies entered into boardrooms really intending to “oppress” people such as minorities and people with disabilities. Did they deliberately make bathrooms inaccessible to people in wheelchairs perhaps to advance their preconceptions of who gets to go to the bathroom, I pondered…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on May 10, 2014 at 9:44am — No Comments

Data Embodiment – an Ecosystemic Approach

Embodiment is comparable to the idea of an “ecosystemic” or “holistic” approach. In an ecosystem, each thing affects everything else. In light of the interrelationship, a person would not attempt to correct a problem by considering only a single piece of the puzzle. Instead, there is a need to bring together many aspects of the body. To understand embodiment, it is necessary to recognize how “the body” separates an organism from its environment; in a manner of speaking, the body represents…

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Added by Don Philip Faithful on April 19, 2014 at 7:30am — No Comments

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