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Crossing The Glass Bridge

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Crossing The Glass Bridge

A talk from the CanUX 2022 conference. Content was co-created with Scott Plewes. Using the example of the Glass Bridge "game" from Squid Game, this talk looks at how a Quantitative approach, on its own, has limits when dealing with complex and dynamic systems and how User Experience Design, more specifically Systems Thinking, can be leveraged to work in conjunction with Data Science, to better achieve business outcomes.

A talk from the CanUX 2022 conference. Content was co-created with Scott Plewes. Using the example of the Glass Bridge "game" from Squid Game, this talk looks at how a Quantitative approach, on its own, has limits when dealing with complex and dynamic systems and how User Experience Design, more specifically Systems Thinking, can be leveraged to work in conjunction with Data Science, to better achieve business outcomes.

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Crossing The Glass Bridge

  1. 1. Crossing the Glass Bridge What Squid Game can Teach us about Systems Thinking, Data Science & UX CanUX Conference November 2022 1
  2. 2. Summary 3 Copyright Emids 2022 | OVERVIEW Synopsis & Opportunity Framing Let’s “Math” it Enter UX Insights
  3. 3. The Opportunity
  4. 4. 5 Copyright 2022 | 101 THE PLOT
  5. 5. 6 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY Image source: CNET Image source: CNET THE PLOT
  6. 6. 7 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE PLOT Glass panels
  7. 7. 8 Copyright 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY Nefarious Consulting Agency
  8. 8. 9 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY Image source: CNET Image source: CNET THE OPPORTUNITY
  9. 9. 01 Business 10 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY What kind of problem is this?
  10. 10. 01 Business 02 Math 11 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY What kind of problem is this?
  11. 11. 01 Business 02 Math 03 Psychology 12 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY What kind of problem is this?
  12. 12. 01 Business 02 Math 03 Psychology 04 UX 13 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY What kind of problem is this?
  13. 13. 01 Business 02 Math 03 Psychology 04 UX 14 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY What kind of problem is this?
  14. 14. 15 Copyright Emids 2022 | DATA MODEL REAL WORLD (SYSTEM) Predict , Insights Analyze and Synthesize Choose and Extract THE OPPORTUNITY What does it mean to understand a problem?
  15. 15. 16 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE OPPORTUNITY Image source: CNET Image source: CNET THE OPPORTUNITY
  16. 16. Let’s “Math” it!
  17. 17. 18 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE APPROACH Image source: LinkedIn Start with a simple model Image source: LinkedIn Start with a simple quant model QUANT
  18. 18. 19 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Probability Distribution* *based on a computer simulation of 10,000 repetitions Number of Survivors Number of Crossings 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 0 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0
  19. 19. What might “business” think about that? 20 Copyright Emids 2022 | Image source: The Guardian QUANT
  20. 20. What might “business” think about that? 21 Copyright Emids 2022 | Image source: The Guardian 6-14 survivors... Let’s build that bridge! QUANT
  21. 21. 22 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Probability Distribution* *based on a computer simulation of 10,000 repetitions Number of Survivors Number of Crossings 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 0 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0
  22. 22. 23 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Probability distributions tell us, quantitatively, something about how a system is behaving, or will help you predict how it might behave. But, as soon as you change something in the system, that will cause perturbations in the system that might affect that distribution.
  23. 23. 24 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Probability Distribution* *for a “fair” coin tossed 20 times 0.25 0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Number of Heads from Twenty Tosses Probability
  24. 24. 25 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Probability Distribution* 0.25 0.20 0.15 0.10 0.05 0.00 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Binomial Distribution (n = 20, p = .25) Number of Heads from Twenty Tosses Probability *for an “unfair” coin tossed 20 times
  25. 25. 26 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Probability Distribution* *based on a computer simulation of 10,000 repetitions Number of Survivors Number of Crossings 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 0 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0
  26. 26. 27 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Assumptions What assumptions did we make about the people crossing the bridge in order to create our simple model? Image source: Telecoms
  27. 27. 28 Copyright Emids 2022 | QUANT Assumptions What assumptions did we make about the people crossing the bridge in order to create our simple model? Image source: Telecoms
  28. 28. Enter UX
  29. 29. 30 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX People are not robots. In our design for the game, we need to remember that these are terrified people crossing the bridge, not robots. What are some of the “people” factors that could impact the result? Image source: CNET
  30. 30. 31 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX People are not robots. Forgetting (imperfect memories) Stopping or pausing Teamwork (people jump as pairs) The “Ringer” Combinations of the above Image source: CNET
  31. 31. 32 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX All those factors could affect the distribution Number of Survivors Number of Crossings 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 0 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0
  32. 32. 33 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX All those factors could affect the distribution The mean? The shape? The variance? And by how much? Number of Survivors Number of Crossings 1750 1500 1250 1000 750 500 250 0 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0
  33. 33. 34 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX UX can help! Using UX methods of reviewing existing data, conducting qualitative research, and reviewing “game films” we can help refine the model, and therefore the quantitative estimates. Image source: POPSUGAR
  34. 34. 35 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX 4 Profiles Research indicates that there are four profiles we need to consider when designing the game: The Ringer The Selfish Person The Altruist The Unpredictable Image source: UNILAD
  35. 35. 36 Copyright Emids 2022 | ENTER UX The Ringer Image source: INEWS
  36. 36. Quant UX
  37. 37. 38 Copyright Emids 2022 | So let’s redo the estimate with a “ringer” included
  38. 38. 39 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE RINGER Audience participation – The Ringer Put the ringer where you want in the line of participants and see result Enter the location in line (between 1st and 20th place) for the ringer Tap here to input a number for the ringer’s place in line Tap refresh to input a different number for the ringer’s place in line to see the impact it has on the mean of casualties
  39. 39. 40 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE RINGER How he affects the distribution of fatalities Number of Fatalities Number of Crossings Number of Fatalities Number of Fatalities In 4th place In 13th place In 20th place 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 Number of Crossings Number of Crossings 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0 0.0 2.5 5.0 7.5 10.0 12.5 15.0 17.5 20.0 10000 8000 6000 4000 2000 0
  40. 40. 41 Copyright Emids 2022 | And that was just looking at one human behaviour that could impact the system. What else could impact the number of people crossing? Image source: CNET QUANT UX
  41. 41. 42 Copyright Emids 2022 | There are many others that could impact the number of people crossing Forgetting (imperfect memories) Stopping or pausing Teamwork (people jump as pairs) “Imperfect” ringer Combinations of the above Image source: CNET QUANT UX
  42. 42. Insights
  43. 43. 44 Copyright Emids 2022 | Where does that leave us? It turns out that controlling the outcome ahead of time within the 6-14 range might be harder than anticipated. Image source: CNET INSIGHTS
  44. 44. 45 Copyright Emids 2022 | INSIGHTS If I start with “N” people, what fraction will survive per game and overall? Each game has a different level of variance. Image sources: Hypebae; Food52; LinkedIn; Distractify; UNILAD; TECHTOSEE
  45. 45. 46 Copyright Emids 2022 | INSIGHTS System values also change in-between games Image sources: Hypebae; Food52; LinkedIn; Distractify; UNILAD; TECHTOSEE
  46. 46. 47 Copyright Emids 2022 | Where does that leave us? It turns out that controlling the outcome ahead of time within the 6-14 range might be harder than anticipated. What to do? Image source: CNET INSIGHTS
  47. 47. 48 Copyright Emids 2022 | Where does that leave us? INSIGHTS No single model will work. However, there is a design strategy you can infer.
  48. 48. 49 Copyright Emids 2022 | THE CURRENT DESIGN IS A FIXED SYSTEM Glass panels
  49. 49. 50 Copyright Emids 2022 | SYSTEMS THINKING System thinking helps WHERE CAN WE IMPACT/INTERVENE?
  50. 50. 51 Copyright Emids 2022 | SYSTEMS THINKING System thinking helps WHERE CAN WE IMPACT/INTERVENE?
  51. 51. 52 Copyright Emids 2022 | SYSTEMS THINKING System thinking helps WHERE CAN WE IMPACT/INTERVENE?
  52. 52. 53 Copyright Emids 2022 | This is a complex problem You need a flexible/adaptable system design to account for high variance instances in the journey if you want to ensure getting to a final game within your targeted range. When precision is next to impossible in prediction, then adaptiveness in design is needed - and that adaptiveness needs to act in real time UX DESIGN
  53. 53. BRIDGE GAME ACROSS GAMES 54 Copyright 2022 | UX DESIGN What are possible levers in system design for these scales of intervention? Modify the panel probability “P” (currently ½) in real time Change the differential of panels to participants (ie: add or subtract panels) Include the ability to change the position of the “Ringer” Build in a Gamemaster or “AI” to continuously monitor the probability state and trends as people are crossing the bridge Include a way to adjust the time (ie: a way to increase or decrease the remaining time for crossing the bridge Create an adaptable physical environment (ie: adjust the lighting, make the surface wet so it becomes slippery, add gusts of wind) If someone stops and threatens to not let anyone cross the bridge, have the ability to remove someone from the bridge If many people are forgetting which panels are safe, include an ability to indicate which panels have been safely crossed Ability to change the order of games Modify the “in between games” environment Be able to “swap out” high variance games for low variance games depending on the game outcomes Gather empirical data on all games to see incorporate into models
  54. 54. Summary
  55. 55. 56 Copyright Emids 2022 | We took an approach that often will work in complex systems Identify the system (and/or the subsystem[s]) goals and metrics. Create a baseline, in our case simplified human behaviour, and construct a quantitative model tied to a key metric. Investigate the factors that might perturb the model from its assumed state. Image source: CNET SUMMARY
  56. 56. 57 Copyright Emids 2022 | What else did we learn? Through research, investigate a design strategy that could stabilize/optimize the business metrics and identify the “levers” in the system. Look at the implications for the future state ecosystem with this new design strategy. Work with a cross-functional team to go from strategy to solution. Image source: CNET SUMMARY
  57. 57. 58 Copyright Emids 2022 | DATA MODEL REAL WORLD (SYSTEM) Predict , Insights Analyze and Synthesize Choose and Extract And just keep cycling through observing, analyzing and modeling SUMMARY
  58. 58. 59 Copyright Emids 2022 | SUMMARY Remember, always, that everything you know, and everything everyone knows, is only a model. Get your model out there where it can be viewed. Invite others to challenge your assumptions and add their own. DONELLA MEADOWS “
  59. 59. 60 Copyright Emids 2022 | REFERENCE BOOKS Calling Bullshit - The Art of Skepticism in a Data-Driven World Carl Bergstrom and Jevin West Weapons of Math Destruction Cathy O’Neil Noise a Flaw in Human Judgement Daniel Kahneman, Olivier Sibony, and Cass R. Sunstein Thinking in Systems Donella Meadows Rebooting AI - Building Artificial Intelligence We Can Trust Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis Once Upon a Number - The Hidden Mathematical Logic of Stories John Allen Paulos Humble Pi - When Math Goes Wrong in the Real World Matt Parker The Signal and Noise Nate Silver The Model Thinker Scott Page
  60. 60. Thank you. 61 Copyright Emids 2022 | Jennifer Fraser jennifer.fraser@macadamian.com

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