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.
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:
Briggs and Stratton
Fannie Mae Foundation & Federal
First Wisconsin (Bank One)
Greater Milwaukee Committee
Harley Davidson Motor Company
Local Initiatives Support Group
Menomonee Valley Partners, Inc.
Milwaukee World Festival, Inc.
St. Francis Episcopal Church
University of Wisconsin Business
Schools Dean's Council
UPC Health Network
Wisconsin Gas (We energies)
Ziegler Investment Services
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
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
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
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
Eight voting methods, including a customizable point scale, make the
voting process flexible and powerful.
Used to evaluate, make decisions, and build consensus.
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
Common uses include action planning; group writing; and process design.
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.
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.
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.
Used to build, distribute, and collect survey forms.
Common uses include employee feedback surveys; 360 performance reviews; and
Articles on Group Decision Making
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:
Wisconsin Distinguished Professor and
Director, Center for Technology Innovation
Lubar School of Business
University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
P.O. Box 742
Milwaukee, WI 53201
Fax: (414) 229-4477