Somewhere in an alternate universe…
The INFORMS board members sat in the conference room and wrestled with a recurring question: what should they do about analytics? They had hoped that the problem might just fade away. After all, expert systems, neural networks, and most recently big data, had all come and gone. However, interest in analytics had continued to grow. They were frustrated, and so they decided to engage the prestigious consulting firm of McKinsey, Boston & Yoda to help them develop a strategic plan. They were thrilled when Professor Yoda, one of the firms managing partners, agreed to meet with them.
One month later…
After listening for awhile, as the INFORMS board members described their situation, Professor Yoda rose from his chair and strode toward the white board. There was great anticipation in the room: would he draw one of the matrix diagrams that his firm was famous for? Instead, he wrote two words on the white board. He replaced the marker in the tray; returned to his place at the table; closed his briefcase; and left the room. He didn’t return, and after a few minutes, he was seen driving away.
Everyone was stunned. What had happened? What did it mean? What should they do? They kept staring at the white board ……………………. and then ……………………. they understood! It was so simple really: all they had to do was to align their strategy with THE FORCE.
The way forward was now clear to them, but the INFORMS board members knew that it would not be easy. So they asked the membership for help. They were not disappointed. It turned out that INFORMS members had already created a lot of content that would be valuable to people interested in analytics. There were lectures, tutorials, white papers, podcasts and videos. This content was organized and presented on a special section of the INFORMS website. New content was created, and then promoted through social media. After a while, people began to notice these efforts.
Meanwhile, two years earlier, INFORMS had begun an initiative to encourage the submission of applied papers to its journals. These papers were now beginning to flow in. The INFORMS board members thought: why not summarize these papers and feature them on the INFORMS website? And that, is exactly what they did.
Eighteen months later…
Steve Jobs sat in his office and played with the iPad 6 prototype. He was trying to decide on the perfect shade of white for its case when he got a call from Tim Cook.
“Hi Steve. I think I have a solution to the problems we’ve been having on the iTV production line.”
“Yes, we have some people monitoring the INFORMS website; they came across a new article on the optimal sequencing of subassemblies. I think we can use that approach to improve our process.”
“That’s great Tim. Why don’t we just go ahead and buy INFORMS?”
“Ah…. Steve, I don’t know if we can do that. INFORMS is a non-profit professional society.”
“Oh. OK, then let’s hire the people who wrote the article.”
“I’m already on it. They’re coming in on Wednesday to meet with us.”
“Great. Listen Tim, how do you feel about antique eggshell white?”
Twelve months later…
The featured article in the journal Foreign Affairs is entitled “The On-Shoring Craze – Should Operations Research Get All The Credit?”.
Twenty months later…
Time Magazine names operations research discipline of the year.
Sixteen months later…
Each of the INFORMS board members was announced as they entered the East Room of the White House. When the president asked them how they had achieved such great success, the reply came back immediately: “Madam President, we owe all of our success to our belief in THE FORCE”. The audience applauded, cameras flashed, and the president smiled as she presented each of them with the Presidential Medal Of Freedom.