「華人戴明學院」是戴明哲學的學習共同體 ，致力於淵博型智識系統的研究、推廣和運用。 The purpose of this blog is to advance the ideas and ideals of W. Edwards Deming.
In love as in equities, we are regularly fooled by randomness
As the year ends, the author of a weekly column should look back and acknowledge the things he got wrong. I made at least one serious mistake. I wrote that if men think about sex on average every seven seconds, the average man last thought about sex three and a half seconds ago. I should have consulted the poet Wendy Cope, who wrote that: “Bloody men are like bloody buses – / You wait for about a year / And as soon as one approaches your stop / Two or three others appear”.
Her analogy is helpful. If a bus arrives at fixed intervals of seven minutes, you will wait an average of three and a half minutes. But, as Ms Cope knows all too well, the interval is unpredictable: two buses come at once and then there is a lengthy wait for the next one. The average frequency of the bus may still be seven minutes. But if the intervals are alternately zero and 14 minutes the expected wait is now seven minutes, not three and a half. If someone is standing at a bus stop, it is more likely that they are victim of a bus which is late than the beneficiary of one that is early.
You may think this does not matter very much. But this summer the UK business secretary Vince Cable asked me to devote an entire year to thinking about equity markets. I discovered that the arithmetic of thinking about share values is the same as the arithmetic of thinking about sex. The average length of time for which buyers hold shares today is very short. But the average length of time for which shares have been held by their current owner is much longer. There are many more high frequency trades than passive investors, but passive investors hold a high proportion of outstanding shares.
The people queuing for a bus are the people whose bus has not arrived, and the people on yachts are those whose boat came in. What we see will always be influenced by the ways in which the sample studied is selected. The traders we interview are mostly successful because mostly it is the successful who are still trading – and this past success may be no guide to future performance. As the essayist Nassim Taleb has observed, we are regularly fooled by randomness, identifying skill where there was only luck, finding patterns in data when none really exist.
The sometimes counter-intuitive mathematics of variation crops up in many different places. If Persil is sometimes on special offer, the percentage increase when it goes back to its usual price will be larger than the percentage price reduction when it goes on special. If that seems an unremarkable fact, it was enough to send several hundred thousand government employees on strike a month ago.
The average of price changes shows an increase even though the price has remained the same. And perhaps you buy more, perhaps even spend more, when the item is on offer than when it is at full price. After all, that is why they put it on special. These issues pose problems for compilers of price indices, and there are different methods of handling them. That is the principal reason why the new European harmonised index of consumer prices generally increases by less than the old retail prices index. The UK chancellor George Osborne is planning to make large savings in public expenditure by shifting pension indexation from one basis to the other.
The same problem arises in measuring benchmarks and portfolio performance in equity markets. If you average a 50 per cent fall and a 100 per cent increase, you show a 25 per cent gain. But if that happened to your shares, you would – just – have recouped your initial investment. Neither method of calculation is necessarily a guarantee to the experience of real investors.
I may have made another mistake in my earlier column. Since it appeared, details have been published of a study by researchers at Ohio State University. They surveyed college students – who, one might expect, think about sex more often than the average of the population. The subjects were asked to make a note each time the topic entered their heads. Men thought about sex, on average, 19 times a day (the figure for women was only 10). Does this mean that we should correct “every seven seconds” to “on average, once every waking hour”? Only if men think about sex at absolutely regular intervals. And neither love nor equity markets are so predictable.
在先前的專欄文章中，我可能還出過另一個錯誤。那篇文章發表後，俄亥俄州立大學(Ohio State University)的研究人員發布了一項調查的詳細結果。人們可能認為大學生想到性的頻率比一般人高，於是研究人員就對大學生進行了調查。他們要求調查對象每次想到性時，就在記錄中記上一筆。結果顯示，男生平均每天有19次想到性（女生則只有10次）。這是不是意味著，應該把“每7秒”修改成“醒著的時候平均每小時想到一次”？不見得，除非男人想到性的時間間隔是絕對固定的。而且，無論是預測愛情還是預測股市，都沒那麼容易。
1983年11月8日(我近30年之後才注意到出版日)，台北的徐氏基金會出版我翻譯的《可靠性入門》Reliability by Arnold Kaufmann (Paperback - 1972)。我的「編譯序」如下：
「可靠性」這門學問，經過數十年來的研究和應用，已成為系統科學的一大主流。然而其文獻和資料太過艱難和浩瀚，所以青年學者每每不得其門而入，只有望「可靠性」而興嘆。鄙人有感於此，特根據昔日留英所購之一本精彩導論，編譯了惡本《可靠性入門》。原書為斐譽世界的法國數學家 M. ARNOLD KAUFMANN 等人為法國的青年所寫，由於深入淺出，精彩無比，所以英國的空中 (開放)大學列為參考書。
本書所探討的概念，對於有志成為科學家(如生物學家) 、工程師 (可靠性的許多經驗和需求，都是源自工程學)社會科學家(如保險精算師、應用統計學家)的青年，都是必備的修養和和工具。可靠性所探討的生命曲線(Mortality Curve )適用於各種生物、工程和人文現象，只是其實際曲線之形狀，要依各系統(不論是電子、機械或生物)的可靠性而定。本書的另一特色，是對基本兒重要的可靠性原理，都有淺顯兒深入的介紹，誠為一本不可多得的入門書。有心想進一步研究的青年朋友，請不吝向編譯者連絡。
Introduction to Fuzzy Arithmetic: Theory and Applications (Van Nostrand Reinhold Electrical/Computer Science and Engineering Series) by Arnold Kaufmann, Madan M. Gupta, Arnold Kaufman and Bob Esposito (Paperback - Jul 1991)
The Science of Decision-Making: An Introduction to Praxeology by Arnold. Kaufmann (Paperback - Jan 1968)
Dynamic Programming by Arnold Kaufmann and R. Cruon (Hardcover - Dec 1967)
Graphs, Dynamic Programming and Finite Games by Arnold Kaufmann (Hardcover - Oct 1967)
Introduction to Operations Research by Arnold Kaufmann and R. Faure (Hardcover - Nov 1968)
Integer and Mixed Programming Theory and Applications by Arnold Kaufmann and Arnaud Henry-Labordere (Hardcover - Dec 1977)
Methods and Models of Operations Research by Arnold Kaufmann (Hardcover - Dec 1963)
Science of Decision Making: Introduction to Praxiology by Arnold Kaufmann and R. Audley (Hardcover - Mar 1968)
Fuzzy Mathematical Models in Engineering and Management Science by Arnold Kaufmann (Hardcover - Oct 1988)
Points and Arrows by Arnold Kaufmann (Paperback - Sep 22 1972)
Gingrich drew inspiration from management theorist
Deming led Japan back after WWII
The Washington Times
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
In March 1992, House Minority Whip Newt Gingrich sent copies of two major speeches to a man about twice his age living in Washington.
The first speech was what Mr. Gingrich referred to as his “basic speech.” He called it “the necessary revolution.” The second was a policy speech he had given to the American Hospital Association about ways to bring down costs.
In a letter along with the speeches, Mr. Gingrich privately confided that he was certain that both speeches “contained significant errors and lack some key principles.”
“If you could read these speeches and identify both the mistakes that are in them and the principles that I have missed that need to be included,” Mr. Gingrich added.
The recipient of the letter was a 91-year-old management guru named W. Edwards Deming, a statistician and consultant credited with helping Japan become a world power after World War II through manufacturing. Mr. Gingrich made no secret of his admiration for Mr. Deming’s teachings while in Congress.
During the last three years of his life - from 1991 to 1993 - Mr. Deming corresponded regularly with Mr. Gingrich. Today, the correspondence shows the presidential candidate, who talks often about his days as a history professor, in the clear role of student.
“I am hereby applying to be an apprentice to you,” Mr. Gingrich said in a handwritten note to Mr. Deming in July 1991 after Mr. Deming visited Congress. “Monday was an historic day in the Capitol,” Mr. Gingrich wrote. “You won a number of converts to ‘profound knowledge.’
“Now we must study and learn,” he wrote, adding that “with your help, training and leadership, I believe we can transform America.”
Mr. Gingrich included a copy of the Congressional Record, which contained Mr. Gingrich’s speech on the floor of the House about Mr. Deming’s visit to the Capitol. On the front page of the document, Mr. Gingrich jotted another note.
In his House speech, Mr. Gingrich referred to Mr. Deming as “the founder of the quality movement” and added that he was known as “the man who initially in the late 1940s and early 1950s educated the Japanese into the process of quality.”
Aside from advice on the speeches, Mr. Gingrich sought a reading list.
“Every time we meet, I learn more about your philosophy and how deeply it would transform our society,” Mr. Gingrich wrote. “If there are books or articles that profoundly influenced you, I would be glad to read them to get a better understanding of the context of your philosophical development,” he told Mr. Deming.
A spokesman for the Gingrich campaign did not respond to a request for an interview about the correspondence, which is contained in a collection of Mr. Deming’s papers on file at the Library of Congress.
Newt's big week!According to some polls, the bloviating Newt Gingrich is the new GOP front-runner. It won't last(37)不知道此號人物者 請找本blog
By MIKE McINTIRE and JIM RUTENBERG
Newt Gingrich is adamant that he is not a lobbyist, but in the eight years since he started his health care consultancy, he has made millions of dollars while helping companies promote their services.
Gingrich Earned $1.6 Million Calling Freddie Mac 'Insane' Newt Gingrich made at least $1.6 million from consulting contracts with Freddie Mac over a period of eight years, Bloomberg News reports. Asked in a recent debate what he did for Freddie, Mr. Gingrich said he "offered them advice on precisely what they didn't do," calling the mortgage finance company's practices "insane."
RECOMMENDED: SEA CHANGE
A report from the NEA's Commission on Effective Teachers and Teaching calls for "systemic changes in the [nation's] educational structures by engaging teachers in the decision-making processes that impact student learning." The report urges "moving from a top-down hierarchical model to a circular structure of shared responsibility" that will "engage students as active participants in their own learning." To place student learning at the center, schooling must transform from a time-oriented system based on grade level and credits earned to a performance-based system aligned to national learning standards. Student learning must be at the center of decisions about instructional models, scheduling, school structure, and flexibility. To set student-learning goals and assess outcomes, teachers must work in collaborative teams and use professional judgment based on teaching standards and practice. At the same time, teachers must have authority to make instructional and educational management choices and decisions. Teachers must also share in the responsibility for teacher selection, evaluation, and dismissal. In sum, the teaching profession requires transformational changes in recruitment, selection, preparation, professional learning, evaluation, compensation, and career advancement. This information is from PEN NewsBlast.
Dr. Berwick’s Pink Slip
By JOE NOCERA
Published: December 5, 2011
Dr. Donald Berwick was already in Massachusetts when I spoke to him Sunday afternoon. He was back in the Newton home where he’d lived for 30 years, being pleasantly interrupted during our conversation by his 2-year-old grandson. His last day in Washington as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services had been Thursday. Friday was packing day. Saturday was moving day. And, by Sunday, he was already talking about his too-short, 17-month tenure as the nation’s top Medicare official in the past tense. Which, alas, it was.
Earl Wilson/The New York Times
Dr. Berwick, I’m here to tell you, was the most qualified person in the country to run Medicare at this critical juncture, and the fact that he is no longer in the job is the country’s loss. Berwick started out as a pediatrician and health care researcher at the Harvard School of Public Health and eventually became vice president of the Harvard Community Health Plan (now known as Harvard Pilgrim Health Care). There, he became enamored with the ideas being promulgated by management gurus like W. Edwards Deming and companies like Toyota, which believed that companies could create processes — and a mind-set — that would allow for both continuous improvement and continuous cost reduction. Indeed, they believed that the two went hand in hand.
Latching onto these ideas, Berwick helped start — and, for the next 19 years, run — the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, which was devoted to applying them to health care. The result would be healthier patients who spent less time in hospitals — and a culture that wasted less money on things that didn’t lead directly to a healthier population.
As the insurer of one out of every three Americans, Medicare is in an enviable position to push for health care improvements, if it chooses to. And with a budget larger than the Pentagon’s — and a consensus that its spending must be brought under control — no government agency has a more urgent need to cut costs. Surely somebody who has spent his career focused on these two issues would seem to be just the ticket.
But there’s one more thing about Berwick: He believes that President Obama’s health care reform is “an important moral step toward universal health care.” As he put it when we spoke: “Because of it, our country is, at last, making health care a basic human right. It is a majestic thing.”
Naturally, this view made him anathema to Republicans, who blocked his nomination in the usual way. They pored through his old speeches and articles, plucked out a few comments they objected to — he once praised the British health care system! — and announced that they would never confirm him.
President Obama was not deterred the way he had been when Republicans objected to Elizabeth Warren becoming the chief of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. Instead, in July 2010, Obama named Berwick to the post in a recess appointment that did not require Senate confirmation. But, like all recess appointments, it was temporary. Berwick left the post just weeks before his appointment was set to expire.
What did Berwick accomplish in those 17 months? A lot — though not nearly as much as he would have liked to. His focus, as it has always been, was on improving the quality of health care and cutting costs. “On my third day,” he said, “I held a staff meeting for all 5,000 members of the staff, and I said, ‘You all think that you are in the business of paying bills. Yes, you do that. But I also think Medicare can be a force for change.’ ” He added, “I tried to reconceptualize it as an improvement organization.”
As Berwick tells it — and others affirm — the Medicare staff had been hungering for such a mission. “We had a triple aim,” he says. “Better health care. Better health for the overall population. And lower costs. I thought that, my goodness, given the resources and the reach — and the great staff, which was a wonderful surprise — we ought to be able to help health care providers do much better.”
Health insurers and hospitals, who had generally thought of Medicare as little more than a stodgy, bureaucratic insurer, began to see it in a different light as well, as Medicare staffers, trained as “improvement coaches,” began to share ideas and push for simple, sensible steps that would, for instance, keep people with chronic medical problems from having to be constantly readmitted to the hospital.
Of course, 17 months is hardly enough time to complete such a transformation, and it is hard to know if Berwick’s emphasis on quality will stick. What he needed, most of all, was more time — precisely what the Republicans wouldn’t give him.
By refusing to confirm him, Republicans won a pointless victory against the president. But, if the day ever comes when they — and the country — truly get serious about reforming Medicare, they may regret giving a pink slip to the best man for the job.
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