Understanding the Human Element: Three Challenges

June 8, 2015

Confused MindData and models are not all that it takes to fuel innovation—or even just to make good underwriting decisions, noted Berto Sciolla. When asked how Gen Re encourages innovation, Sciolla makes reference to the reinsurer’s work over the past two years to understand “the human element” of decision making.

Some of Gen Re’s findings are summarized in a white paper—”The Human Element—A No Brainer?“—available on the company’s website. The paper subtitled, “Using insights from neuroscience to transform decision-making behavior in (re)insurance,” explores three challenges to human judgment:

Among the paper’s insights about subconscious reactions: “Snap and stick behaviors can be the source of many of the barriers to better teamwork and collaboration that exist inside any organization.”

Gen Re isn’t the only organization focusing on the biases that hamper good decision-making. The May 2015 edition of Harvard Business Review also explores that topic in these articles:

• “Leaders as Decision Architects,” by John Beshears and Francesca Gina

• “Outsmart Your Own Biases,” by Jack B. Soll, Katherine L. Milkman, and John W. Payne

• “Fooled by Experience,” by Emre Soyer and Robin M. Hogarth