Decision Scaling

What is Decision Scaling?

While there is great investment in the pursuit of scientific insights, there is less focus on the process of ensuring those insights lead to better decisions.  The goal of this research group is to improve water-related decisions through analysis.  Decision Scaling is our approach to doing this.   Decision Scaling uses stakeholder engagement, a decision analytic framework, and systems analysis to tailor the scientific investigation to the variables that are most influential for decisions.

Decision Scaling

Decision Scaling Approach

The analytical heart of Decision Scaling is what we call the “stress test.”  The stress test is an analytical process by which we perturb the external factors or uncertainties affecting a system to identify the factors or combinations of factors that cause that system to fail.  In this way vulnerabilities are identified.  The vulnerabilities can be defined in terms of those external factors and the thresholds at which they become problematic.  This results in scenarios that are directly relevant to your decision and which serve as the basis for any necessary scientific investigation.

Decision Scaling saves time and money by ensuring that costly scientific investigations will be focused on the information that is actually critical to your decision.  The process also reveals risks and robustness of a proposed plan and can be used for evaluating and deciding among alternative plans.


Decision Scaling formed the basis of the World Bank’s Decision Tree Framework and the US Army Corps of Engineers’ Climate Risk Informed Decision Analysis (CRIDA)


This video is a 50+ minute lecture by Casey Brown on Decision Scaling.