O.R. IN THE NEWS

Racial slurs, famine relief and more

Complied by Barry List

The INFORMS archive of podcasts continues to offer provocative conversation with leading O.R. practitioners and thinkers. The latest podcasts include an interview with Stephen Budiansky, author of the new title, “Blackett’s War: The Men Who Defeated the Nazi U-Boats and Brought Science to the Art of Warfare;” Atanu Basu on prescriptive analytics; Matthew Liberatore and Wenhong Luo on the different skills needed for pros in O.R. and analytics; Brett Gordon and Wesley R. Hartmann on advertising in U.S. presidential campaigns; and Forrester’s Michael Gualtieri on predictive analytics. Visit www.informs.org, to download the latest selections.

Visit the INFORMS Newsroom at https://www.informs.org/About-INFORMS/News-Room for news about analytics and INFORMS press releases. Remember to share your news-making research with the INFORMS Communications Department. Contact INFORMS Communications Director Barry List at barry.list@informs.org or 1-800-4INFORMs.

And now, O.R. in the news:

Paper on racial slurs examines bystanders

“Racial slurs remain a problem in the workplace, and efforts to eliminate them should focus not only on those making the slurs but on those who observe them and remain silent – especially white men, a researcher at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business says in a new paper.

“Working with colleagues at universities in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom, Ashleigh Shelby Rosette reports in the paper that white men are more likely than others to overhear racial slurs in work settings but may be less likely to speak up about them. Their paper, ‘Why Do Racial Slurs Remain Prevalent in the Workplace: Integrating Theory on Intergroup Behavior,’ has been published online in the journal Organization Science.

– Fuqua School, March 8

PNAS argues for more focused approach to famine relief

“The findings run counter to current practices at most relief organizations. They may not sit well with humanitarian groups either, as relief workers could be forced to make wrenching distinctions among children who are all undernourished.

“The researchers [former Operations Research Editor in Chief] Lawrence M. Wein; Jeffrey S. Skoll, professor of Management Science at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business; Yan Yang, a former graduate student at Stanford’s Institute for Computational and Mathematical Engineering; and Jan Van den Broeck at the University of Bergen – published their findings March 4 in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.”

– Stanford News, March 4

Gartner: BI & analytics software fastest growing

“The market for business intelligence (BI) and analytics continue to be one of the fastest growing software markets. According to research firm Gartner, the global market for BI will reach $13.8 billion in revenue worldwide in 2013, up 7 percent from last year. The market is expected to reach over $17 billion by 2016.”

Cloud Times, Feb. 26

UPS delivers on predictive analytics

“ ‘We hear so much about big data now, but really, UPS has been in the business of big data for a long time now,’ says [INFORMS Vice President] Jack Levis. His goal is to use bigger picture analytics to analyze operational efficiency, spelling out how descriptive, predictive and prescriptive analytics power their daily operations. While much has been written about the models, tools and approaches behind this big data triad, it’s clearer to put the value of business analytics in practical context...

“All of this aside, it’s worth noting that such a long career at the center of so much data hasn’t dampened his interest in the space. In addition to his role at UPS, Levis is also the VP of Practice at operations research organization, INFORMS, where he is introducing a new program to churn out Certified Analytics Professionals. For those who are interested in testing the test, the first exam will be given at the upcoming INFORMS analytics meeting this spring in San Antonio.”

- Datanami, Feb. 23

Marketing science and Campbell’s Soup

“Campbell Soup controls about 50 percent of the soup market – much less than it used to. So the 144-year-old company introduced a new line of soups marketed specifically to millennials. And so far, it has not gone over well with some of the target demographic.

“They’re called ‘Campbell’s Go Soups’ ...

“Robert Zeithammer [a member of the editorial board of the INFORMS Journal Marketing Science] knows how millennials talk. He’s surrounded by them every day. Zeithammer teaches marketing at UCLA. He recently had his students write about the Go Soup marketing campaign and nearly all of them thought it was ridiculous.

“Zeithammer says the recession has caused a profound shift in our understanding of millennials, and Campbell hasn’t adjusted to the new reality. ‘Before the recession, when we thought about millennials, we always talked about them as rich suburban kids who have everything in the world. They are the richest generation and they just have it made,’ he said.

“According to new economic research, millennials who graduated from college during the recession and missed out on entry level corporate jobs may never catch up.

“ ‘So we should feel profoundly sorry for them, we should not be trying to sell them soup that costs almost double of all the other offerings of Campbell,’ says Zeithammer.”

– Marketplace Radio, Feb. 20