Value Focused Thinking

Ralph KeeneyProfessor Ralph L. Keeney  is a Professor Emeritus in the Viterbi School of Engineering at USC and in the Fuqua School of Business at Duke University. He received his PhD from MIT in operations research. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, three which are directly relevant to this course: Value-Focused ThinkingDecisions with Multiple Objectives with H. Raiffa, and Smart Choices, with J. S. Hammond and H. Raiffa. Dr. Keeney was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 1995 and received an honorary doctorate in engineering from the University of Waterloo (Canada) in 2014.

Course Description: 

This two and a half-day will present the basic foundations of value-focused decision-making and the evaluation of decisions involving multiple objectives. Value-focused decision-making includes concepts and procedures to identify and address the critical softer aspects of making sound important decisions. These include structuring the decision to be addressed, by identifying the full range of relevant objectives and creating innovative alternatives. The technique of value-focused brainstorming is illustrated for decisions involving a team. How to be proactive by creating and acting on decision opportunities to avoid potential future decision problems is included. The concepts of value models and value tradeoffs to evaluate alternatives with multiple objectives are discussed and illustrated.

Objectives: participants will

  • Enhance their skills for structuring complex decisions.
  • Gain experience with value-focused techniques to identify objectives, create alternatives, and define decision opportunities.
  • Learn how to logically and practically evaluate alternatives with multiple objectives.
  • Understand how the above can be used and useful in major business decisions.


Recommended Reading

Value Focused Thinking bookValue-Focused Thinking: A Path to Creative Decisionmaking by Ralph L. Keeney