Conference Room at Prince Philip House, London

Decision-Making Under Deep Uncertainty Workshop

05 Mar 2019 8:30–19:00

On 5th March 2019, a workshop was held at Prince Philip House to discuss Analysis under Uncertainty for Decision-Makers. The workshop attracted a broad set of audiences including defence, water, energy, forestry, engineering sector, and academia, with 75 attending. The attached draft report represents a summary of the event.

The workshop was the fifth workshop hosted by Imperial College London and Warwick University on Decision Making under Uncertainty in 3½ years. The theme for this AU4DM Network workshop focused on ‘Decision Making Under Deep Uncertainty?’ and sought to unpick, through a range of clinics, the types of skill sets and tools that analysts, policy makers, and decision-makers from all sectors and a range of domains—can use when making decisions under deep uncertainty. It also sought to allow cross-fertilisation of thinking between members as well as find out what they want from this, at present, informal network.

The Workshop Outputs relative to the agenda can be found below:

  • Survey feedback—see link
  • Keynote speech: “What do you need to make a Good Decision?” Dr Emma Soane, Assistant Professor of Management.
Clinic 1

‘Expert Judgement Best Practise’ with Mark Burgman.

This clinic took ideas and contexts from the participants to identify where expert judgement is used and what the problems are that might arise from it. The session explored ways of engaging with experts to generate more accurate and better conditioned estimate of quantities, and the outcomes of future events. Participants were given some simple and effective strategies for improving the quality of expert inputs to decisions.

There was no presentation delivered during the session—a presentation related to the session can be found here.

Clinic 2

‘What does it mean to be a Decision Quality Organisation?’ with Craig Smalley, Emma Soane, Simon French, and Martine Barons.

This clinic proposed a Decision Quality (DQ) framework for ensuring the key elements necessary for making a good decision are present at the time the decision is being made. The session discussed the elements of DQ, and how it can be applied to individual decisions and at an organizational level. The advantages of achieving organisational DQ were addressed, as well as some of the potential barriers and how these may be overcome.

The opening session presentation by Craig Smalley on `What is decision quality’ can be found here. Nadia Papamichai’s presentation on `What is organisational DQ? How it can be achieved and what are the benefits’ can be found here. Peter Naylors presentation on `What does it mean to be a Decision Quality Organisation’ can be found here. Finally. Will Hill’s presentation on `Stronger Decision Making Stories’ can be found here.

Clinic 3

‘Visualization of Uncertainty’ with Polina Levontin, Jana Kleineberg, and Joseph Lindsay Walton.

The aim of this clinic was to review the state of visualisation of uncertainty, to share experiences from different fields, and to run an interactive clinic with a focus on several case studies.

The basis of the clinic was the newly compiled AU4DM Network Catalogue of Visualisations. The current version (which is updated from the one handed out in the clinic)  can be found here.

The presentation which accompanied the clinic delivered by Polina, Jana, and Jo can be found here.

Clinic 4

‘Dynamic Adaptive Pathways’ with Geoff Darch.

Dynamic adaptation pathways provide a technique for strategic planning that helps make decisions on which (sets of) options perform robustly over time and under uncertainty. This session described the evolution of the pathways approach, with practical examples provided. The work of the British Standards Institute in developing new guidance for adaptation pathways will be introduced. Participants will be able to discuss the use of adaptation pathways in their own work.

Geoff Darch’s opening presentation on ‘Introduction, need and terminology regarding Dynamic Adaptive Pathways’ can be found on this link. Tim Reeder’s presentation on ‘Development of adaptive pathways and water resources planning case study’ can be found on this link. Peter von Lany presentation on ‘Adaptive pathways in coastal management’ can be found on this link. Finally, Katy Roelich’s presentation on ‘Adaptive pathways in transport planning’ can be found on this link.

Pop-up talks sessions
  • Pop-up talks session I: 5 x 10 min talks by attendees—session talks available here.
  • Pop-up talks session II: 5 x 10 min talks by attendees—session talks available here.
Panel Session: “What do you need to make a Good Decision?”
  • Nick Mabey, CEO, E3G. (Chair)
  • Justin Hughes, Founder and Managing Director, Mission Excellence.
  • Niva Thiruchelvam, Deputy Director for Education and Skills in HM Treasury.
  • Rebecca Heaton, Head of Sustainability and Policy, Drax Group.
  • Geoff Darch, Water Resources Strategy Manager at Anglian Water

Networking Drinks


Prince Phillip House
3 Carlton Terrace
London SW1Y 5DG