October 10, 2022
Europe/Berlin timezone

Workshop: Scientists Need More! Taking Decisions.

with Dr. Daniel Mertens

Monday 10.10.22 | 09:00 - 12:30 via zoom

Which job to take? Which project to pursue? Which collaboration to start? We are faced with a continuous stream of choices to take and decisions to make. There are easy choices and there are hard choices to make. However, in contrast to what may be intuitive, the difference between easy and hard is not connected to the difference between choices with small consequences compared to choices with large consequences. Rather, easy choices are those where one option is obviously better. In contrast hard choices are the ones where it is unclear which choice is the better one. And this difficulty in choosing can occur in choices with grave consequences and also in those choices with small consequences.


In this workshop participants will

  • Learn that we are risk averse, even in a world where grave risk has been minimized (Mark Manson).
  • See that modern western societies have increased the numbers of options beyond the limit that is required to be happy (Barry Schwartz)
  • Learn 4 strategies to reduce the number of options (Sheena Iyengar)
  • Turn hard problems into simpler problems by the three strategies randomness, constraints, approximation (Tom Griffiths)
  • Refrain from trying to identify the best theoretical option and rather try to identify the best doable option (Burnett and Evans)
  • Understand the difference between “gravity problems” that cannot be changed (similar to gravity) and “anchor problems” in order to get unstuck (Burnett and Evans)
  • Understand the difference between the circle of concern and the circle of influence, thereby increasing their influence (Covey)
  • Use reframing strategies to redesign decision problems by changing context, changing meaning and separating intention and behavior (Burnett and Evans).
  • Use the “exploit” strategy for decisions with short-term processes and “explore” strategy for long-term processes (Tom Griffiths)
  • Take the next best solution with the 37% rule (Tom Griffiths)
  • We don’t control outcomes, we control processes. Best (=most effective) processes can involve taking chances, not considering all your options and being able to settle for a suboptimal solution (Tom Griffiths).
  • Ultimately, participants take hard decisions between values that cannot be compared. We back these decisions with reasons, and these reasons define who we are (Ruth Chang).

After this workshop, participants will be conscious of the hardwired mechanics underlying our decision making and will be able to manage their decisions and the involved



PD Dr. Daniel Mertens

Biochemist, Lecturer and group leader at the German Cancer ResearchCenter (DKFZ) and at the University of Ulm

Research: Molecular mechanisms that cause leukemias and lymphomas






The Conference will take place online via Zoom.

Registered participants will receive the login information.


DKTK School of Oncology

Registration for this event is currently open.