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Environment, Value, Advocacy. NOW.


Redefining solutions to meet agency and program objectives and eliminate bureaucratic dysfunction. Objective-oriented solutions that address problems, not just statements of work. 


Redefining the ‘Average.’

Does the Average User Really Exist?

Military jet technology took great strides forward during the 1950's but 

But the American Air Force also noted that its pilots were crashing at a surprising rate. 

Following some initial finger-pointing at trainers and pilots, the AAF quickly discovered that the problem was a physical one: plane cockpits were not properly sized for the pilots. With more and more good pilots crashing good planes, the AAF decided to carry out research into the ‘average’ pilot size, using their findings to design a new cockpit.



But the research showed that there was no such thing as the average pilot size. Each pilot was a different size and build, so there couldn’t be a one-size-fits-all cockpit design. Averages could be defined, but no one individual pilot had measurements anywhere close to the ‘average’. It soon became clear that creating a new cockpit for the ‘average’ pilot meant creating one that was essentially designed for no one

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The solution? Adjustable cockpits with seat controls, spacing and layout all optimizable by the pilot at the beginning of each flight. Cheap and easy, this quickly solved the problem.

Toy Airplane

Survivorship Bias 

During World War II, researchers from the Center for Naval Analyses conducted a study on the damage done to returned aircraft after missions. They then recommended adding armor to the areas that showed the most damage to minimize bomber losses to enemy fire.

However, Abraham Wald suggested differently.

Wald was a Hungarian mathematician and a member of the Statistical Research Group (SRG), where he applied his statistical skills to various wartime problems.

He noted that the study was only conducted on the aircraft that had survived their missions. It didn’t paint a complete picture when the bombers that had been shot down were not presented for the damage assessment.


How not to fall prey to survivorship bias

With that, the holes in the returning aircraft were areas that need no extra armor — since the bombers could take damage and still return safely. On the other hand, the areas where the returning aircraft were unscathed are those areas that, if hit, would cause the plane to crash and be lost.

Wald then proposed that the Navy reinforce areas by adding more armor to them — which was a perfect demonstration of how to not fall prey to the survivorship bias.

Seeing the full picture

Being aware of survivorship bias and knowing how to avoid falling into it comes with massive upsides. On the surface, it helps us see through the incomplete information others provide intentionally.

But ultimately, it saves the government from wasted resources like time and money by helping to reach a good, well-informed decision. If making better decisions is important to your agency and your mission, then Let's Talk.

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