Friday, 25 July 2008

The model grows

The Economic Impact Model (see previous posting) is growing - almost with a life of its own. There are continual trade-offs and decisions to be made such as ... is old - but real - data better than a current, informed judgement? (This itself is an informed (hopefully) judgement.

We are not interested in building a model that wins prizes for accuracy or authenticity ... but one that helps us work out the impact of various intervention strategies.

However, we have already found it does more than that ... it helps identify potential interventions ... or at lest the collection of data and the building of the model does. For example, in the Indonesian fisheries sector we are looking at, much attention is focussed on moving into 'value added', further processed and packaged, higher price products. But the model says that a very (very) small quality improvement in unprocessed tuna might make the most difference because a very small increase in price is multiplied by very large volumes.

So perhaps we should simply be looking at how tuna is caught, handled and landed (and refrigerated) .... and forget sophisticated (and expensive) packaging / branding / marketing exercises ... even though some of our stakeholders think this is the salvation!

Remember, often evidence is ignored in favour of prevailing prejudice (or perhaps 'gut instinct'). I might return to this theme later.

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