Rational Decision Making: Identify Feasible Alternatives.

One must keep in mind that unless the best alternative is considered, the result will always be suboptimal. Two types of alternatives are sometimes ignored. First, in many situations a do-nothing alternative is flexiible.This may be the "Let's keep doing what we are now doing," or the "Let's not spend any money on that problem" alternative. Second, there are often feasible (but unglamorous) alternatives, such as "Patch it up and keep it running for another year before replacing it."

There is no way to ensure that the best alternative is among the alternatives being considered. One should try to be certain that all conventional alternatives have been listed and then make a serious effort to suggest innovative solutions. Sometimes a group of people considering alternatives in an innovative atmosphere-brainstorming--can be helpful.

Even impractical alternatives may lead to a better possibility. The payoff from a new, innovative alternative can far exceed the value of carefully selecting between the existing alternatives.

Any good listing of alternativeswillproduce both practical andimpractical alternatives.

It would be of little use, however,to seriously consider an alternativethat cannot be adopted.

An alternative may be infeasible for a variety of reasons. For example, it might violate fundamental laws of science, require resources or materials that cannot be obtained, or it might not be availablein time.Only the feasible alternativesare retained for further analysis.

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