Applied decision sciences involves structured approaches to decision making through a consideration of constraints and challenges. Most decision science tools are prescriptive in nature where decisions are made in the context of a portfolio of choices by either maximizing or minimizing certain functions. Prescriptive tools often fail to capture various behavioral aspects that individuals use to make assumptions related to their choices or prioritizations. This is where descriptive assessments play a role as they attempt to understand how agents actually make their choices so that the prescription they come up with is more informed. By studying the logic which various agents use to base their decisions, descriptive approach plays a key role in designing prescriptions. 
When funding of development sector programs by government or multi-lateral agencies is made on assumptions, descriptive assessments help validate these assumptions, so that better prescriptions are designed that achieve the desired program impact and justify the value for expenditure.

Using cognitive task analysis to uncover the tacit knowledge (of how people perceive their choices, weigh options and respond) and behavioural aspects that go into decision making, Athena helps agents make better prescriptions on the basis of descriptive assessments. 
Athena’s experience in Applied Decision Sciences spans across consulting for institutions as well as in specific cases for designing prescriptions to understand and influence individual decisions. 
Athena has been using this approach in its various sectoral programs for complex, tactical as well as strategic decision making, by quantifying behavioural aspects which are then fed into the decision making mechanism.