Malcolm spoke at LMS 2007. He is the author of the Tipping Point and Blink. Both have sold millions of copies (he could not tell me the actual numbers apart from ‘loads’).
In a fascinating talk, he reflected on decision making. If we expect a justification of all decisions before we are able to make them, we put people in an impossible position. His solution:
Relax the requirement for why
Trust the people you work with
Forgive them if they screw up.
This leads to more creative decisions from people with knowledge and experience (not novices!).
To make good decisions you have to strip away data not add information. You can obscure facts in a fog of information. He cited the A and E Department in a major hospital in New York as an example of this. When the Doctors were making a decison on whether a patient was having a heart attack or not, the accuracy of diagnosis went up when the data presented was reduced to only 4 variables rather than the 10 or 12 they were used to working with.