Visualizing and communicating 'Decision Space' - the role of risk assessments in informing management decisions

April 17, 2024

Speaker: Jonathan Cummings (US Fish & Wildlife Services)

Abstract:

In the absence of information about risk and without any consideration of risk tolerance, when making a risk management decision, individuals could reasonably select any action from a set of possible actions. Their 'decision space' is not in any way limited in this circumstance. However, a risk assessment or a determination of risk tolerance should make some possible actions less reasonable than others, which constricts the decision space available to decision makers. To help decision makers understand the role of a risk assessment and risk tolerance in risk management decisions, I developed an interactive R Shiny application that displays reasonable decision space. The decision space is modified by inputs of risk assessment (from scientific assessments or expert elicitation) and inputs of risk tolerance (from policy makers or decision makers). My visualization tool aims to help decision makers understand the role of scientific analyses that produce risk assessments, as well as the role of policy that produces risk tolerance in defining the decision space and the best actions to take given the decision context.