Enabled By Technology
Demosophia employs specially created software and other technology to enable people to understand the complexity they are facing. It’s not for show. It’s all made for a purpose. For example, technology is used throughout a Colab to address the needs and natural human cognitive limitations of people:
- it helps enforce a step-by-step process, steadily leading a diverse group towards alignment;
- it records decisions and makes them visible to all so participants don’t have to remember all the details;
- it creates an influence map (a visual representation of the collective understanding of the complexity the participants face) so they can see the relationships between important ideas;
- it makes the process efficient so the time spent is minimized;
- it allows participants to think clearly and prevents them from mentally shutting down.
Ensuring clear thinking by managing the mental burden is the most influential of all supports. Human brains can only handle so much information at one time (and it’s not very much). If people are mentally overloaded, then they shut down and don’t contribute fully. With everyone’s brain engaged, then achieving all the proven Colab outcomes is possible.
Let’s illustrate this with an example: to understand which important ideas significantly influence which other ones, the software presents only two ideas at once with a question aimed at determining the influence between the ideas. If a super-majority (~75% of the participants) believes there is a significant influence, then a Yes is recorded in the computer. If not, a No is recorded. The Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) algorithm then picks the next two ideas and the process repeats. Clearly, answering a question like this is not an overwhelming mental burden, and is something the whole group can focus on. The ISM algorithm selects the fewest number of questions needed to understand all the relationships. It cuts the time required by about 70%. When all the necessary questions are asked, an influence map is generated with the ideas that have the highest leverage at the bottom and the more symptomatic ones at the top. Arrows between the ideas show which ideas significantly influence others.
Other technology may be employed by the Demosophia team as well. For example,
- A sound system and VOIP service may be used for live transcription of ideas and their clarifications. Having the participant’s words recorded and not summarized by the Demosophia team keeps Demosophia in a role of strictly managing the process and participants supplying every word of content. Participants have the clarifications of ideas in front of them within minutes so they can refer to them during the next steps. People don’t have to remember what people meant when they authored a huge number of ideas.
- Voting clickers may be used to keep votes anonymous, and to act as a quick way to aggregate a group’s thinking and make it visible to spur on further dialogue.
Overall the technology provides supports, structure, and discipline that make a Colab a truly unique experience.
The Demosophia expertise is in our methodology, not the specifics of your problem. That way we can help you successfully address problems that other consultants can’t or won’t. Ultimately, we foster a culture change that creates more results than many initially envision.