Independent verification and validation

Thinking further about yesterday’s Sequoiadendron story made me realize how an important part of identifying the right course to take revolves around discussion and weighing up information. You have an initial, knee-jerk reaction to a given situation, which may, or may not be accurate. So in a next step it is important to examine that first response more closely and to consider the pros and cons of the different options. I find it easiest to do this by discussing the issue with others.

What you are attempting to do by doing so is to develop an objective, as un-biased as possible position that will stand up to scrutiny, be it either from an ethical or a from professional point of view.

Apparently not everybody seems to be quite as discerning in such matters.

An analysis, published in November in the International Journal of Obesity by a professor at the University of Bristol, concluded that low energy sweeteners (LES) in place of sugar “in children and adults, leads to reduced EI [energy intake] and BW [body weight], and possibly also when compared with water.”

Drinking Diet Coke is healthier than water? Sound a bit… weird?

Well, maybe that is because it is: it turned out that the team had been at least in part funded by the International Life Sciences Institute-Europe (ILSI), a body backed by Nestle, Mars, Unilever, Pepsi, and Coca-Cola – and had been less than open about the degree of support received. You would be forgiven for questioning a degree of lack of objectivity as a result of this backing.

This example illustrates why we at treemagineers stand 100% behind the necessity of a robust, independent verification and validation of product, especially when they are linked to safety-critical activities – before they are launched onto the market. This process serves to eradicate, to the greatest extent possible, niggles and issues. It also helps to develop a data set that can then be provided to the end user explaining the intended use the device was designed for, by doing so assisting an informed decision-making process prior to a tool being introduced to service.

The point I am trying to make here is – the same as with deciding how to proceed with the Sequoiadendron to go to all necessary lengths to ensure that your decision is balanced, as objective as possible and free of vested interest – and then to communicate it accordingly. Being able to do so is what distinguishes a professional from an amateur.