History is a powerful analytical tool for decision makers working in different sectors, from politics to business. The examination of previous events and patterns of behavior can serve to gain perspective on current issues. Historical insights can help business executives and policy makers to take better informed decisions and more effective actions. Those grappling with complex issues today need to understand how and why previous decisions were made, and to assess evidence and evaluate a range of options with the aid of historians.
To this end, the Luiss School of Government and the Association for Political History launch the first Executive Program Learning Decision Making Through History. At its core, the Program is an argument for bringing history back into strategic thinking. In short, it is an exercise in applied history, and therefore, as the Applied History Project at Harvard University states, an explicit attempt to illuminate current challenges and choices by considering historical precedents. Applied history begins with a current predicament and analyzes the past to provide perspective, stimulate imagination, find clues about what is likely to happen, suggest possible policy interventions, and assess probable consequences.
Learning from history entails a reasoned analysis of the decision-making process as a whole, and not only of the decision itself that was ultimately adopted. Using cutting edge technologies, innovative pedagogical practices and training, the Program will present two distinct ways to learn from history: the chronological and the analogical. The first entails the study of a historical process leading to a given point in time, with the aim to better understand the causes of the event/s being assessed. The latter entails the attempt to find out similar historical events to the event with which one has to deal at present. Its aim is to overcome the cognitive hurdle of coping with the emergence of a new actor or event, to facilitate the intellectual challenge of having to define the unknown.