In the past, it was considered as the main challenge to overcome the lack, uncertainty or vagueness of information. The core assumption was that more information and a complete overview of the situation, decision-makers are able to make better decisions.
An example is this map, the first that was published on humanitarianresponse.info after the Typhoon made landfall. The map shows Haiyan's path, and population in the regions. According to the traditional paradigm, this map should be enriched with more and more accurate information over time, to enable a more effective and efficient response operation. Today (June 2014), almost 3,000 updates and more than 700 maps and infographics on Haiyan are available - on reliefweb alone.
From data to decision driven information
As a new paradigm, we propose staringt from a decision-centric perspective. Rather than generating more and more information products, only because data is available, we should focus on relevant and actionable information. Decisions differ in terms of information required, time scales, geographical scope and involved actors. Yet, the purpose, for which infographics and maps actually designed, remains often hidden and implicit.
our vision: Decision-tailored information
In the field, limited bandwidth and time pressure serve as natural filters. Queries from the field are therefore indicators for information that is actually vital, but not provided - at least not in a form that is easy to find or retrieve.
In many interviews, we heard that queries most often are made directly: instead of searching online, trying to understand maps, graphics, sitreps, decision-makers reach out directly. Via sat phone or radio, they would ask a person they trusted for the information they needed. Communication is hence highly efficient - no searching for the right keywords, platforms, or granulariy; no need for interpreting or processing information; no redundancies or time lags.
Yet, efficiency comes at a cost: despite its (potential) relevance this information is not available and lost for others.
The answer in this new paradigm: by providing tailored information products, created and designed in near-real time for a purposeful decision in a given context. For us, the greatest potential for innovation and improvements lies in understanding decisions such that we can generate less information to make better decisions.