Introduction [Elicitation : state of the art and science]

Dias, Luis C and Morton, Alec and Quigley, John; Dias, Luis and Morton, Alec and Quigley, John, eds. (2017) Introduction [Elicitation : state of the art and science]. In: Elicitation. International Series in Operations Research & Management Science, 261 . Springer, New York, pp. 1-14. ISBN 9783319650517 (

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A useful definition of a problem is that it is a situation where there is a current state, and a desired state, and they are not the same. Most people are familiar with this sort of situation and many day to day problems can be dealt with by largely subconscious or automatic processes (the coffee is too bitter, so I add sugar, the water is too cold, so I turn the tap). But some problems (I want to take up a new hobby, perhaps a new sport, a new language, or a new instrument) require reflection: I have to reflect what goals i want to achieve and whether the actions I have at my disposal will help me achieve the. In such cases I have to build a mental model of my problem to organize my thoughts and help me choose wisely. Other problems, even more complex, involve the significant others in my life (where should we go on holiday?; should we move to a new city, or new country, to take that new job?): in these cases, the model I build should be a shared one, so as to ensure that all those involved in the problem understand what they are getting into. At a higher level still, society has to take important decisions about responses to threats to our environmental and economic wellbeing and security: in a democracy these decisions should take account of the news of the public in some organised fashion.