Graduating MBA students are taught to think critically and use evidence in their decision making. When the information isn't there they will need some way of making sense out of market fogginess. Utilizing evidence based decision making will help you think critically about decisions but also be able to develop new research that can lead to novel market findings. Using evidence and filling in the gaps when information is missing is part of what innovation is all about. Helping graduate students understand evidence based decision making and how to dealing with market ambiguity is important.
While it wouldn't make financial sense to continue to dig for more information it does make sense to use some type of model to understand ambiguous information and make sense of it. One of the reasons why it is so frustrating is because there are lots of different possible outcomes and it takes a while to sort through all the different ways things connect and reconnect. Lots of mental spaghetti.
Strategic decisions rely heavily on data to minimize risks and when data is missing they must learn to deal with it effectively. One of the ways to do this is to move through a check list to see that you covered the most important basis for narrowing your choices.
1. Make sure you know what your goal is so that you can weigh all decisions on their achievement of the goal/objective.
2. Organize data points chronologically or thematically. If you are trying to create a time line then you will want chronological that leads to trending. You may also want thematic information that seeks to group concepts to capture insight into certain potential choices.
3. When you find gaps in the data then you should go out and find some more data if its available. Know specifically what you are trying to answer based on your goal/objective and see if there is available market data. If you can't use other's research you may have a unique problem and need to go it alone by creating new research........
4. Conduct research from existing data sources or create new data sources when there are important questions unanswered. For most companies they can use existing research but some companies may need new research to make important decisions.
5. Analyze the information for association, causation, trends, patterns, etc... Look at your data from multiple viewpoints and uses.
6. Organize and display the information in a useful way of understanding and maximizing its value to stakeholders (academic or industry). Sharing your research leads to a stronger body of knowledge and more innovators in society.
7. Decisions should be focused on what might be logically connected, what areas are supported, the understanding of potential risks, and what are the most likely scenarios and outcomes. You can consider ranking the importance of goals as well as developing a strength rating (i.e. 1-100) to create a final value for any decisions you make. If it doesn't work then you got some of the methodology or calculations wrong and you can take that feedback to improve your model for another round of decision making.
Critically based evidence decision making is an ideal form of making business decisions. However, when information is missing you should use some type of more formal analysis to better map (i.e. game theory, decision tree, etc...) that can better help you more objectively take a look at the information. Nothing is truly objective but can be more or less objective than sticking your finger in the air to determine the next course of direction. As the quality of the data sources, research and triangulated sources rises so does the "business intelligence" use of critical thinking models.