Naturalistic Decision Making
Our approach is based on Naturalistic Decision Making (NDM) theory. NDM’s focus is on the decision-maker in the context of his/her environment and stands in contrast to traditional models of decision-making (e.g., Bayesian or other normative approaches). NDM places its emphasis on studying how decision-makers really operate in the real world and strongly leverages field research to generate its findings. NDM has its theoretical underpinnings in the Recognition-Primed-Decision Model, which places significant focus on the rapid, instinctual (or gut) decisions that are required in environments where conditions are complex and evolving rapidly. Applied Decision Science is unique in that it leverages the NDM framework to structure and evaluate decision-making challenges and combines that framework with the practical knowledge of how to design, develop, and implement real-world tools.
How it started
Our journey began with a small innovative company in Yellow Springs, OH founded by Gary Klein. Laura Militello and Steve Wolf started their careers as young research assistants at Klein Associates in the 1990s — when it was a small company developing techniques for interviewing and observing firefighters, nurses, pilots, and many others as they made decisions in high stakes environments. Gary Klein was their mentor. After pursuing different career trajectories, Steve and Laura reconnected in 2010 with a vision for building practical tools and applications using NDM models and methods. We started Applied Decision Science because we wanted to build on and extend the Naturalistic Decision-Making movement. Although Gary was committed to other projects, he agreed to be part-owner, advisor, and mentor to Applied Decision Science. Today Laura, Steve, and Gary continue to innovate, collaborate, and commercialize through four related businesses: