DECISION SUPPORT TOOLS

 

Although much of the work undertaken by Danix Management Limited focuses on “big picture thinking”, often a client may require a flexible operational decision support tool –  an “evergreen” tool that remains responsive to changing conditions or variations in assumptions.

The decision support tools developed by Danix are designed to facilitate collaboration. In public sector work a great deal of time and energy can get wasted as stakeholders argue about things that, in the end, do not bear heavily on the decisions to be made.The approach Mr. Nixey takes to building decision support tools is to make each of the assumptions and drivers visible and mutable.  The tools are then used collaboratively to test the impact of changes in assumptions or the strength of various drivers on the desired outcomes.

In this way each stakeholder’s position can be tested and, through a collaborative process, all stakeholders can see first-hand the effects of their assumptions on the outcomes.   The idea behind this is to have stakeholders, who come to a process with different objectives, collaboratively test all their assumptions in a transparent process, all using the same tool – as a method of diffusing suspicion and facilitating collaboration.

See sample projects.

For example, Daniel built for the City of Ottawa, an “affordability calculator” that allowed a working group of municipal planners, non-profit housing advocates and private sector housing developers think their way through an appropriate level of “inclusion” of affordable units in future housing projects, examining the relationship between the level of inclusion and project viability. Instead of responding to a specific proforma prepared by the City and arguing over its structure and assumptions, Daniel guided the working group who collectively specified the proforma structure.  Once constructed, the tool was then used the tool to test a range of assumptions, including each proponents position. 

This approach to collaborative tool development and testing typically sheds a great deal more light than heat.  It helps explore positions in a non-confrontational way, engenders trust and builds towards consensus.

Several other examples of these decision support tools are profiled in another section of this site.