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  • Writer's picturePeter Franklin

Profit from Science

I have worked with the author of Profit from Science, George Danner, for many years now on issues impacting the energy world. These have ranged from modelling the impacts on energy demand of the take up of new energy technologies such as heat pumps and electric vehicles, through the dynamics of the global oil markets, to warehousing and distribution of energy equipment maintenance and repair products.

Modelling for problem solving

Now that George has brought together his thoughts in his new book, and having read it, I have now had the good fortune to get a coherent overview of the approaches I have seen him put into practice over the years - and learnt some new tips along the way particularly in the realms of how to create an appealing visualisation of a model, and how to resource model building within an organisation.

If you are dealing with a complex system, which typically all organisations, both large and small, do, adopting a scientific approach based on a model of the system gives you a powerful, collaborative tool to search out the solution to your problem and/or grasp that opportunity you seek. Profit from Science is an excellent primer on the "Why" and "How" to implement robust, effective, and efficient decision making in your organisation.

Whether you are looking to be a modelling user, or a practitioner, this book gives an excellent overview.

The book starts off by looking at why organisations should deploy models to tackle problems. Because computing is becoming cheaper and more powerful, and because data is becoming much more available and abundant and often free, means that building a virtual world to experiment with alternative solutions is more often than not a cheaper and quicker way to try out alternative solutions than experimenting in the real world. Model building should be part of every organisations' management toolkit. But note these are not spreadsheets, since these suffer from lack of separation of algorithms and data making them opaque to effectively anyone but the original author - who if not a regular user can also lose track of what is happening in the complex inner workings of the spreadsheet maze.

George goes on to explain the different types of modelling approaches, making the point that one should choose the appropriate tool for the job at hand. He also provides a chapter on effective visualisation - which I found particularly helpful. There is also a chapter on building modelling teams and finally some thoughts on what the future may hold in store for us.

All managers should have modelling in their armoury – this book explains why, and how to achieve it.

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