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An app to model life's big decisions

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iMODELER is based on a commercial decision support decision that's used by businesses, schools, and government organizations. 

If you're faced with a big decision, you no longer need to go with your intuition - there's an app for that. The app, called iMODELER, is an offshoot of a European Union research project into decision support systems. It visualizes personal decisions or strategies in a way that its creators say will lead to "non-linear" decisions that are less influenced by emotions and impart a clearer understanding of life's complex interconnections.

German software company CONSIDEO released iMODELER as a free download for Apple's iOS and as Web application in August. A new desktop edition was announced last month that includes advanced features to target businesses and large organizations. iMODELER is a derivative work from MODELER, an applications that boasts over 200,000 user ranging from BMW, NATO and the Worldbank to over 1,000 schools and universities.

A modeling app would be useful for individuals to better understand the causes and consequences of daily decisions, a spokesperson said. This is accomplished through so-called "insight matrices" that would outline your greatest obstacles and most promising activities that would help or hinder you from achieving a goal.

"Humans reach a mental barrier when trying to grasp the interconnections between more than four factors without the assistance of a computer or pen/pencil and paper," the spokesperson explained. "In most cases we refer to best practices or our gut feeling. However, decisions based on intuition are normally influenced by emotions, and best practices cannot predict the future, as they are always based on past experiences that took place under different circumstances." That is what causes linear thinking, the spokesperson said.

Linear thinking has led to nonlinear consequences like climate change, financial crisis, and terrorist violence. Could a qualitative/quantitative modeler help decision makers solve those pressing issues? Perhaps, but that's assuming that every decision we make is rational. What's the fun in that?

If my description of iMODELER sounds like it needs its own decision support system, here's a video that goes more in depth:

(Image credit: Wikipedia commons)

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— By on December 5, 2012, 11:31 AM PST

David Worthington

Contributing Editor

David Worthington has written for BetaNews, eWeek, PC World, Technologizer and ZDNet. Formerly, he was a senior editor at SD Times. He holds a business degree from Temple University. He is based in New York. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure