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Center for Technology Innovation


Decision Lab

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Center for
Technology Innovation
PO Box 742
Milwaukee, WI   53201
Lubar Hall N334

PHONE: 414-229-3939
Fax: 414-229-4477

Please direct questions and comments to:

Last updated July 20, 2007



         Decision Lab


Decision Lab

The Decision Lab, located in the Lubar School of Business, offers a state-of-the-art facility for computer supported group decision making.  The facility allows decision makers to generate, manipulate, organize, evaluate and document ideas electronically.  This process, which supports up to 20 decision makers, dramatically cuts meeting time from the traditional post-it-note approach.  The software tool which is currently used in the lab is GroupSystems, which is the leading product in this area.

In addition to using the facility for instruction and research at UWM, CTI also makes the room available (for a fee) for both profit and non-profit organizations.  A facilitator is also provided who works together with the organization to plan the meeting agenda as well as facilitate the meeting itself.  A number of Milwaukee area organizations have used the Decision Lab, many of them on a regular basis.

Organizations that have used the Lab

The following is a partial list of organizations that have used the Lubar School Decision Lab:

  • Badger Meter
  • Brady Corporation
  • Briggs and Stratton
  • Fannie Mae Foundation & Federal Reserve Bank
  • First Wisconsin (Bank One)
  • Greater Milwaukee Committee
  • Harley Davidson Motor Company
  • Harnishfeger
  • Local Initiatives Support Group
  • Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.
  • Milwaukee World Festival, Inc. (Summer Fest)
  • St. Francis Episcopal Church
  • University of Wisconsin Business Schools Dean's Council
  • UPC Health Network
  • UWM Administration
  • Wisconsin Gas (We energies)
  • Ziegler Investment Services Group

GroupSystems Software

GroupSystems software offers a unique integration of group dynamics and goal attainment that allows organizations to generate ideas, organize information, narrow in on key issues, prioritize alternatives, build consensus and ready themselves for action.

GroupSystems customers have reported up to a 90% reduction in project duration and a 50% reduction in labor costs. In addition, since team members participate fully in the creation of their outcomes, they are more likely to understand and support the group's results.


GroupSystems Interactive Tools

GroupSystems offers a rich suite of software tools that can shorten the cycle time for strategic planning, product development, problem solving and other business processes. There are three main features that apply to all tools in the GroupSystems suite:

  • Simultaneous contribution - everyone is "speaking" at once, which saves time and increases productivity.
  • Anonymity - the identity of each contributor is unknown, so participants tend to feel freer to express their opinions, and ideas are evaluated more objectively.
  • Complete Records - at the end of a meeting, you can easily produce a complete and accurate report of all ideas, comments, and vote results, in Word or .rtf format.

Each of the seven GroupSystems tools focuses on a specific aspect of group collaboration, such as idea generation, evaluation, organization, and exploration. Below is an overview of each of the seven major GroupSystems tools. A demo of a meeting using this products can be found at http://www.groupsystems.com/products/tour1.htm.


Categorizer icon

Used to collect a list of ideas, then categorize those ideas into logical groupings. The group can brainstorm on one single list, or enter ideas directly into the categories.
Common uses include cause and effect analysis; organizing lists of tasks; and simple brainstorming.

Vote icon

Eight voting methods, including a customizable point scale, make the voting process flexible and powerful.
Used to evaluate, make decisions, and build consensus.

Group Outliner icon

Group Outliner
Used to generate and/or organize ideas into a familiar hierarchical structure. Outlines can be displayed in bulleted or numbered format. The leader can distribute the whole outline to participants, or allow them to work in subgroups.
Common uses include action planning; group writing; and process design.

Topic Commenter icon

Topic Commenter
The leader enters a list of topics and asks participants to comment on those topics.
Common uses include discussing strengths and weaknesses (SWOT analysis) and focus group research.

Alternative Analysis icon

Alternative Analysis
Used to evaluate a list of alternatives based on multiple criteria. Sophisticated charting allows for in-depth analysis.
Common uses include evaluating job candidates; assessing risks; rating vendor proposals; and evaluating options.

Electronic Brainstorming icon

Electronic Brainstorming
Used for simultaneous and anonymous idea sharing on a specific question or issue.
Common uses include team building; broad or focused brainstorming; and visioning or strategic planning sessions.

Survey icon

Used to build, distribute, and collect survey forms.
Common uses include employee feedback surveys; 360 performance reviews; and customer surveys.


Articles on Group Decision Making

Based upon qualitative field investigation of GroupSystems use aboard the U.S.S. CORONADO, this study examines how and why users adopt GroupSystems into their everyday routines. It also describes a model of how to build a self-sustaining community of GroupSystems users.

This article is an updated version of the popular "Ten Years of Lessons Learned with GroupSystems" article, including new research and conclusions.

This article describes a controlled study in a nursing management class that compared traditional learning techniques with new techniques using GroupSystems. The results showed increased learning performance using GroupSystems.

These two excerpts from a book by Dr. Jay Nunamaker and Alan Weatherall provide a solid foundation in electronic meeting theory and practice. Chapter 1, Overview, provides an excellent introduction to what happens in electronic meetings. Chapter 15, Implementing across the Organization, steps you through the process of successfully establishing electronic meetings in your business

For more Information on Decision Lab, please contact:

William (Dave) Haseman
Wisconsin Distinguished Professor and
Director, Center for Technology Innovation
Lubar School of Business
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 742
Milwaukee, WI 53201

Phone: (414) 229-4357
Fax: (414) 229-4477