FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHO IS THE STE FORESIGHT SERVICE FOR?
- For decision makers in organizations,
- For those who wrestle with reoccurring (wicked) problems,
- For those who want to reduce the risks associated with decision making,
- For those who want to ensure a favorable outcome in advance,
- For those who must justify their decisions before acting.
IS THIS BIG DATA?
It is not. Big data typically means producing conclusions with large amounts of data.
STE models are based on a combination of available data and expert knowledge. The models describe real-world dependencies. Unlike big data, STE Analytics models provide not only numbers but also an understanding of how the system works and of the logic underlying the results.
WHAT DO YOU DELIVER AT STE FORESIGHT? HOW DOES IT ACTUALLY HAPPEN?
The customer gets a practical solution to their problem.
The customer receives a simulation model that serves as a tool to solve the problem. A well-constructed simulation model can also be used to produce solutions to organizational problems in the future.
STE Analytics provides the support services you need to use and maintain your model.
AS YOU ARE MATHEMATICIANS, HOW CAN YOU UNDERSTAND ANYTHING ABOUT HUMAN DECISIONS?
In addition to the physical operating environment, the structure of social systems consists of the mental models, the decision-making practices, and the culture of the people who operate in it.
Our models also incorporate the tacit knowledge of experts through expert interviews.
Our long experience in modeling helps us to mathematically describe how people act.
DO YOU HAVE ANY EXPERIENCE IN OUR INDUSTRY?
It is entirely possible that we have not operated in your industry, even though we have modeled dozens of different industries. In fact, our mathematical tools can be applied to any industry. In our projects, we bring together the practical knowledge of your experts in a mathematical format.
HOW LONG DOES IT TAKE TO DELIVER THE SERVICE?
The duration of the project varies depending on the scale of the problem.
The typical duration is
- Modeling a new industry: 2 months
- Customization and delivery of an existing model: 2 weeks
WHAT RESOURCES DOES A TYPICAL PROJECT REQUIRE FROM US?
- 3-5 expert group interviews (2-hour workshops) with 2-4 experts each. So each expert will have to invest max two hours.
- One hour per week from the project coordinator.
- A 2-hour reporting event for the project steering group.
- Two 2-hour training sessions for your analytical team.
WHAT ARE THE SPECIFIC PRODUCTS OR SERVICES YOU DELIVER?
- Recommendations on how to solve the problem
- A simulation model
- A final report
- Technical support and training
WHY TO CHOOSE STE ANALYTICS OVER OTHER PROVIDERS?
We have 20 years of experience in simulation models, and we have done projects for many kinds of industries and public organizations. Our customers’ satisfaction is high, which is indicated by the fact that 4 out of 5 customers come back to us with new orders, and the longest customer relationships have lasted over 15 years.
With our methodology, we are often able to solve problems that others are not. Our process reveals the whole picture and always triggers new thinking in everyone who participates in the project. When the whole structure is seen and simulated, it is easy to establish the variables that have the biggest impact on the problem at hand and focus on them.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER THE RESULTS ARE SUBMITTED?
- We generate and report the results as requested or in a regular manner. We will use the model as you wish and will be responsible for maintaining it. We will also know the results. All you need to do is listen to the reports and perhaps suggest scenarios for which to run the model.
- You will receive a local copy of the simulation model. You can run all the scenarios you want on it on your own and interpret the results. Your workload will be moderate. We will still be responsible for maintaining the model and thus have access to the results.
- You will receive a full simulation model. The responsibility for model updates, and its use will pass to you. This requires knowledge of the modeling software (Vensim) and methods. We can provide training for this, but we do not recommend this option until at least after the first year. We will not see the results unless you submit them separately.
THERE IS NO HISTORICAL DATA AVAILABLE, WILL THIS HINDER THE PROJECT?
No. The model uses three types of information: the knowledge of your experts, our experience in organization/industry structures, and historical data. The model simulates all the variables. Our method is not data-based, and the role of data is to validate expert opinions and test the model. Data gaps can be filled with expert knowledge.
WILL WE MANAGE WITHOUT YOU AFTER THE PROJECT?
If you need a one-time solution, yes.
If the model is to be used continuously, we can train your personnel to use it independently. Using the model software requires some level of IT skills, and therefore customers often decide to outsource some parts of continuous use to us. Typically, we take care of at least the required model updates.
WHY SHOULDN’T WE DO THE ANALYSES OURSELVES?
- The mathematical simulation model is objective, cold, and unemotional. We can offer you an outside neutral view to help you avoid your own blind spots and the burden of knowledge.
- Cost-effectiveness. We are specialized in building models, therefore we’re likely to do this faster and more efficiently than your own experts.
HOW CAN THE MODEL STAY UP TO DATE WHILE THE WORLD IS CHANGING ALL THE TIME?
Often, when something seems unpredictable, it is because there is no understanding of the structure or the behavioral issues and their interactions. The model can be used to reveal these structures and issues. The model specifically helps to anticipate “unpredictable” events and changes.
HOW CAN YOU KNOW WHAT WILL HAPPEN IN THE FUTURE WHEN NO ONE CAN?
Physical models can very accurately predict the behavior of physical phenomena, such as the orbit of a satellite. This is because the laws affecting the phenomenon are well-known. The same is true for socio-economic phenomena if the structure is known with sufficient precision.
No one can know what will happen in the future, but the model will be able to simulate different options. This will help you to respond to these situations in the best possible way.
DID YOU FORECAST THE TIMING OF COVID-19?
No, such phenomena are very difficult if not impossible to predict. However, once something as unpredictable as Covid-19 happens, the models will be able to immediately assess its impact on your operating environment.
Some of our customers strive to prepare for unexpected events by simulating different scenarios beforehand. As a result, they already have plans in place if such a surprising event emerges.