Strategic Problem Solving for Data Scientists | Fred Pelard


January 29th, 2021

1 hr 12 mins 29 secs

Season 8

Your Host
Special Guest

About this Episode

For the last 20 years, Fred been lecturing on strategic thinking and complex problem solving; with an audience that has included the CEOs and management teams of major corporations and consulting firms around the world. Today he’s here to talk to us about his book. And share some tips with us on how we can be better problem solvers and more strategic.






[00:11:10] "When you're solving problems, you're starting point pretty much every time is going to be complexity. If it's not complex, it doesn't need solving"

[00:14:05] "When your chest is puffed out, you know the answer. You're in expert mode."

[00:17:58] "A lot of what these profession share is one similarity, which is a lot of the essence of their work is in the past. Lawyers solve past problems. Investigative journalists reveal past crimes. Engineersing actions build things in the present. But you see a theme emerging. None of these people really focus on the future. And so when you focus on the future, the data runs out of road and you have to use a different method."

[00:20:29] "You don't need real Data to have real options. You need real Data to have real solutions. And that's one of the slight drawbacks of a lot of the people I work with who tend to be analytical in their mindset."

[00:23:57] "I want to know which of my ideas is wrong early so I can reallocate my scarce time and resources towards the ones that work. And then once you've done that, now you feel very confident in your ideas."

[00:25:17] "It's creative first and analytical second. So first, have lots of ideas about a problem in the future and then bring the cavalry of the data to sort of whittled them down to one."


[00:01:35] Guest introduction

[00:02:10] Where Fred grew up and what it was like there

[00:03:15] What Fred was like in high school

[00:03:45] The transition from rocket science to the business world

[00:05:09] The inspiration for the book: How to Be Strategic

[00:07:59] Being strategic is a mindset

[00:10:47] Complexity, completion, clarity, certainty, and conviction.

[00:13:43] The expert mode of problem solving

[00:15:33] The analytical mode of problem solving

[00:17:34] The creative mode of problem solving

[00:20:29] Solutions versus options

[00:21:29] And moving on now to the strategic method. Talk to us about that and maybe give us the example and some benefits like you're just doing.

[00:27:51] The difference between qualitative and quantitative problems

[00:30:28] Qualitative problems have a unique set of challenges

[00:37:26] The power of positive framing

[00:40:59] A twist on The Lean Startup Philosophy

[00:49:10] Sell your ideas with impactful words

[00:53:42] Memorable metrics

[00:58:02] Road test your metrics

[00:58:59] How to create a compelling story

[01:02:30] It’s 100 years in the future, what do you want to be remembered for?

[01:04:17] The Random Round

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