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OR60 - Making an Impact #MAI60

Focused Sessions for Consultants, Analysts and Decision Makers

– and anyone with a passion for making the world work more effectively.

  • Is your day-job all about helping make organisations more effective?
  • Does your work involve you in helping others make better decisions?
  • Do you want to be more successful by marketing yourself and your team better?

OR60 is the UK’s biggest conference of O.R./analytics professionals, academics and practitioners. It will be packed with sessions aimed at helping everybody to become more successful in making an impact in their work. These sessions are designed to meet the needs and interests of practitioners as well as academics and are now a regular feature of our national conference but this year, based on previous feedback, will include more interactive sessions on key topics, all designed to make you personally more effective and your work to have a greater impact.

Most sessions are held on the middle day of the conference (Wednesday), which also includes the President’s Medal presentations, which showcase the best applications of OR and Analytics practice. Included in our programme will be workshops and tutorials introducing the latest techniques in the market, their applications, as well as selected technical and consultancy areas to extend and develop your practice. There will also be a plenary lecture by Professor Peter Checkland, developer of Soft Systems Methodology, in which he will reflect on 40 years of engagement with so-called ‘social’ and ‘management’ science, including OR ‘hard’ and ‘soft’.

All of the sessions are now confirmed but details for some are still being finalised.

Networking with Impact (two sessions):Breakfast: Sophie Carr, Bays Consulting
We will invite you to start the day at 8am with breakfast and great conversations and create meaningful links. Those awkward introductions will be a thing of the past. You will start conversations before the conference via social media platforms. By signing up, you will get your tweet or post ready saying who you want to meet (and why!) alongside what your role is. We will give you the hashtags to start the conversations – then just tell us who is in your group for a picnic breakfast. Just make sure you are meeting up with new contacts as well as building on existing relationships!

Session 2 (Late afternoon) This involves RapidFire presentations to help you maximise the value of your networking opportunities. Do you have what it takes to explain your work in 20 slides in 20 seconds? You do? Great! Once you have seen the pitches and given yours – and noted who you wish to connect with, let’s get networking in the fresh air. We will make sure you have every opportunity for group conversations to kick start future collaborations, so don’t forget your business cards!

A Mini Hackathon: (extended session) - a practical challenge workshop, facilitated by Ocado & IBM
This session will offer a realistic taster of a Data Hackathon, where people work together intensively on a specific problem (and a first for an OR conference). It will be led by Matthew Leadbetter of Ocado who will set the challenge and provide the data. The IBM Watson Studio will be used - this will provide the software environment and tools to collaboratively tackle the problem through a range of analysis and visualisation methods and accessing open source technologies such as Python. Participants will work in teams, which will be balanced based on experience and all levels of previous experience are welcome. A prize will be awarded to the best team performance on the day!

Waiting for MODot: What Should We Do If The Decision Maker Doesn’t Come? Crispin Allard, Atkins
The aim of this workshop is to explore how we as analysts engage with decision makers, based on a wealth of experience of carrying out consultancy projects for the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and including:
        different types of argument (data and evidence versus model and assumptions)
         presenting an argument to different types of decision maker
        dealing with a decision maker indirectly via their representatives
We will use the characters and selected scenes from Samuel Beckett’s play “Waiting for Godot” to help illustrate these points. (For those who are unfamiliar with this play – Godot doesn’t appear!)

Practice: Grand Challenges – with a twist! Miles Weaver, Edinburgh Napier University
Addressing “grand challenges” is very much in the history and tradition of OR and MAI at OR60 will once again feature an interactive session run by Miles Weaver but this time, with a twist! We will work with leaders of the local community to scope out some current challenges where OR has the potential to have a positive and significant impact. Previous sessions have led to projects being taken forward either Pro Bono or funded. Details are still being confirmed but an emerging theme is “environmental challenges” which generally come with multiple stakeholders and conflicting objectives – very much the essence of complex decision making. And as for the twist … we plan this year to offer MAI delegates the opportunity for training in soft OR approaches (e.g. Rich Pictures) and to apply this training immediately within the session.

Workshop: OR and People: Get it Done Workshop: Victoria Stephens, Royal Bank of Scotland
Have you ever felt a bit unmotivated? As if your productivity is slipping? This interactive 90 minute Creative Edge session aims to help you “Get it Done”! The session will cover four key areas, and each attendee will have a clear set of actions to use straight away to make their work more productive and manageable. They are:
        Assessing whether or not you are an achiever
        Teaching you how to self-motivate and get unstuck in those tricky moments
        Getting focused and overcoming blockages when you need to and
        Working S.M.A.R.T.E.R, all the time.

Workshop: A Gentle Introduction to Data Science: Panos Samartzis, decisionLab
What are the challenges that data scientists face when they approach a problem? In this workshop we will tackle a realistic mini project by using some simple yet powerful data visualisation and machine learning techniques to enhance an understanding of the data and gain insights that can assist decision making. This will be a concise yet quick and fun introduction to basic data science concepts and techniques, enabling you to understand how exploiting data in your organisation can add great value.

Q and A Session: Developing Your Career as an OR / Analytics Professional: John Ranyard, Retired (ex-OR Manager and Past President, ORS); Gavin Blackett, General Manager, ORS; Sophie Carr (CSi); Michael Mortensen (CAP).
The OR Society now offers a myriad of professional qualifications, including Accreditation, Chartered Scientist and the newly launched Certified Analytics Professional (CAP). This session will help you decide which route is best for your career through an overview of the various routes and through sharing the experiences of people who have achieved them: why did they undertake this qualification? how tough was it? how has it helped their careers?

Workshop: using Agile processes in OR & Analytics: Lawrence Cook, decisionLab
Agile processes are widely used in the software development community to provide a collaborative and transparent approach to project management and can also add value to OR and Analytics projects. This workshop will explain the roles and processes of the “scrum” methodology, and help you to implement this framework in your organisation. We’ll provide practical experience, demonstrating the methods and tools used in industry, breaking epics into user stories, turning tasks into plans, and helping you to stand up.

Python – It’s not just a snake: Dominika Glowa, Royal Bank of Scotland
The Python computer language is much used in Analytics/Big Data, apparently with much success but until recently has been little used by OR groups. So what is it? How accessible is it? How long would it take me to learn? How close to other programming languages is it? Why would I choose to use Python and not other languages? If these questions keep you up at night, please come along to the session where Dominika will answer all these questions, and more! You’ll leave the session with some practical tips about where to start, when to use it, and what you should watch out for.

Workshop: Finding Your Strengths: Liz Archibald, decisionLab
To get the most out of people, you must build on their strengths – doesn’t this sound like common sense? In practice, many organisations use tools and systems to support development based on the opposite premise, i.e. to find and plug “gaps”. Strengths based approaches have gained support over the last decade as potentially a more effective way of improving workplace performance.
Participants in this workshop will be asked to complete an online assessment, which will produce an individualised report on your dominant strengths. In the workshop, we will explore how this information can be used in practice to “find your edge” at work.

Workshop: Agent-Based Simulation in Action: Marc Escandell, decisionLab
Agent-based simulation (ABS) has much potential to improve decision making in uncertain conditions. The key components will be explained and a game-based approach, located in the intriguing world of Crytocurrencies and involving the Anylogic simulation package will be used to demonstrate the potential of ABS. Participants working in teams will use Anylogic to progressively improve their decision making over several rounds.

Workshop: Behavioural OR and the Public Sector Scorecard: Max Moullin, Director, Public Sector Scorecard Research Centre
Participants will learn how to use the Public Sector Scorecard (PSS) to help develop strategy, improve outcomes, and evaluate progress both for individual organisations and across organisational boundaries. The PSS explicitly incorporates behavioural factors both in the framework itself and in its interactive workshop-based approach involving staff, service users and other key stakeholders. For programmes requiring behaviour change (examples include reducing obesity, accidents and tax evasion), it will also show how the Theory of Planned Behaviour can be integrated into the Scorecard to take into account the various factors needed to achieve change.  (Further information at:

iAI – Introducing AI A Panel Session: Chaired by Deborah Fish, Dstl
“Whoever becomes the leader in Artificial Intelligence [AI] will become the ruler of the world” (Vladimir Putin).
Is AI set to take over the world, or is it yet another bubble? What can AI and machine learning (ML) do for Operational Research and Analytics? Our panel of experts will answer your questions, help separate fact from fiction, and explain what AI and ML can do to improve the life of an OR/Analytics practitioner, both now and in the future.

OR and Analytics Consultancy and Case Studies Stream: John Medhurst, Larrainzar Consulting Solutions and Ann Steptoe, DSTL (This stream runs throughout the conference).
This stream runs throughout the conference) The criterion for inclusion in the Consultancy and Case Studies stream is not that of working in a particular industry, or of using a particular set of techniques but the practical experience of operational research and analytics, as explored through case studies. The stream includes papers illustrating techniques from the whole life cycle of a project - from problem structuring, through data analysis and model building to optimisation and implementation. The key element is the practical application of operational research to real-world problems.

Organising Team:
Liz Archibald, decisionLab, leader; Sophie Carr, Bays Consulting; Victoria Stephens, Royal Bank of Scotland; Ramune Šabaniene, John Ranyard, retired; John Medhurst, Larrainzar Consulting Solutions and Ann Steptoe, DSTL.

If you have any queries, please contact
Look for #MAI60 and #OR60 on social media.

Learn more about OR60, The OR Society’s Annual Conference, and register to attend: