Brief updates from Austhink Consulting



Austhinking

YourView, Fairfax and the election
We're excited to announce that YourView, our online deliberation platform, will be integrated into the online election coverage of the Fairfax mastheads, going live at start of the official election period. 
Prediction in the public sector
We were recently asked by a government client to prepare a report for senior management on prediction and forecasting as it relates to the challenges facing the public sector. The report was to be a concise summary of the state of the art. This was a great opportunity to pull together some of the key ideas from the best recent research on the subject.  We hope to make a version publicly available. 
More about our cognitive process review offerings
Critical thinking in business
Each semester the University of Sydney Business School enrols 750-1000 students in a subject designed to enhance their critical thinking skills. Tim van Gelder is advising the University of Sydney Business School with regard rigorous empirical evaluation, and ways to improve the subject's impact on critical thinking skills.  
More about our critical thinking offerings
Bayesian reasoning and the Shakespeare conundrum
In late May, it came to our attention that a retired astrophysicist in the United States, Peter Sturrock, had published a book and created a website exploring application of Bayesian reasoning to the longstanding problem of who really wrote Shakespeare's works. His methods may have broad application to problems involving evaluation of complex sets of evidence, and have initiated a collaboration with Sturrock. 
Improving political debate
Why is public political debate so dismal these days?  And how might it be fixed?  On his blog, Tim van Gelder has a lengthy post suggesting that we view the problem through the lens of "playing by the rules" - and that new kinds of online forums can foster more rule-observance. 
Mapping the indictment of Roger Hollis
Several years after Paul Monk's damning review of Christopher Andrew's authorized history of MI5, a US group are arranging a conference in Washington DC next year, the centerpiece of which will be our argument mapping of the case by his accusers that Roger Hollis, Director General of MI5, was a mole for Soviet military intelligence.
More about our argument mapping offerings
Can we recognise a good leader?
In the light of Kevin Rudd's return to Prime Minister, we note a recent interesting report on the ability of ordinary people to pick good leaders. The "Dunning-Kruger effect" says that in many areas of life, if you're incompetent then you're not able to judge competence in others or even in yourself. Consequently you may overrate your own abilities. A new application of this idea suggests that if you're not a good leader, then you have a hard time telling who is, resulting in the situation where democracies tend not to choose the best leaders.  The controversial conclusion: People Aren't Smart Enough for Democracy to Flourish.
Austhinking previous editions: 
  • May 2013 - Meta-analysis, Mapping and Democracy
  • April 2013 - Collective Knowledge, Rise of China, Intelligence, and a Puzzler
Copyright © 2013 van Gelder & Monk, All rights reserved.
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