Making the Right Decision

You’re probably thinking this is another post about my daughter’s college decision. You would be wrong.

Yesterday, I spent the day being a judge at a fascinating competition at UCLA: the IEEE Student Chapter was holding an ethics competition. There were four teams — two from UCSD, one from UCLA, and one from UCI — that were presented with a situational case study, and had to determine what the correct course of action was. The purpose of the judges was to assess their presentation and conclusions, question their reasoning, and determine if it fit within the decision that came up in a similar situation presented to the National Board of Professional Engineers.

Fascinating concept, isn’t it.

You’re probably curious what the situation was. I’m not 100% sure I should share it, as it might be used in other competitions. Basically, it was a conflict of interest situation involving someone on leave from a company writing a request for proposal, and then assessing proposals in the same field. The four teams came up with differing conclusions, some for the right reasons, and some for the wrong reasons. The hardest part was the judging, for we had a team that came up with the right answer for the wrong reason, and a team that came up with the wrong answer, but had a good rationale basis for their position.

It was truly a fun day, and something I’d enjoy doing again. I thank the UCLA Chapter of the IEEE for inviting me.



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