DoView and the extended-mind paradigm

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Improving human group cognition

Recent research in psychology, cognitive science and decision-making is focusing on how human decision-making can be improved by using ’group thinking objects’. This approach is now described as using the ‘extended-mind’ paradigm. The visual approach of using DoView Strategy Diagrams in real-time in strategy meetings was developed by psychologist and DoView’s founder Dr Paul Duignan. It is now being used as an exemplar of the extended-mind approach within the relevant research literature [1,2].


A DoView Strategy Diagram is a specifically structured visual model that, in effect, extracts the differing implicit strategy models that decision-makers have in their heads representing a strategic or other decision-making question.  

An authoritative visual strategy diagram is then represented in an accessible format within DoView software for decision-makers to use in real-time. This strategy diagram is either built from scratch or the group’s strategic thinking is kick-started through the use of one of the comprehensive set of DoView Strategy Diagram Templates that we have curated. The strategy diagram provides a helicopter view of the strategy, plus instaneous drill-down to explore its details. The group of decision-makers then interact with the DoView strategy diagram in real-time as they are in the process of making their decisions. 

Reinventing the currently low-tech aspect of decision-making

Organizational and societal decision-making systems are increasingly being supported by multiple high-tech AI-enhanced data flows. However, in contrast to the high-tech underpinnings of the systems that now often provide decision-makers with information and insights, the actual moment of group decision-making still tends to be remarkably low tech and ad hoc. Basically, at the end of the whole decision-making process, decision-makers end up sitting around either in a room or virtually, and ‘saying stuff to each other’ that leads to them making a joint decision.  

No one has any idea of whether the implicit mental strategy models that individual decision-makers have in their heads are in a alignment or not. In contrast to the current situation, when decision-makers interact with a DoView Strategy Diagram in real-time, they can be certain that they are all working from a single authoritative aligned strategy model of what they are wanting to achieve.

A tool and methodology designed for real-time real-world decision-making

DoView software has been explicitly designed to be easily usable and agile enough for real-time use in a real or virtual meeting. It facilitates decision-makers in real-time quickly navigating through their strategy diagram during the cut and thrust of their ongoing decision-making discussion. At the start decision-makers may be taking a helicopter overview of the strategy issue, but the next moment they will want to instantly drill-down to pursue some specifc detail that is relevant to that very particular moment in their strategy discussion. The use of a specifically constructed strategy diagram within interactive DoView software is far superior to the current approach. In the current approach decision-makers will typically be attempting to flick through many pages of text-based strategic planning and other documents or text-based strategic planning documents or referring to multiple screens providing the relevant information feeds.

The DoView approach complements the great technological advances that are being made in analysing and presenting information that forms the basis of decision-making. Its unique contribution is that it actually represents a model of not just the underlying data that is contributing to decision-making, but a model representing the actual strategic problem that decision-makers are facing.

Having their potential strategy set out within a visual diagram that decision-makers can fully interact with reduces decision-makers' cognitive load - the mental demands of the task. Reflecting its ability to reduce cognitive load, DoView software’s Cool Vendor award by Gartner Research described it as:  ‘sometimes simplicity and availability define elegance’. This one reason why apects of the DoView approach are now used by organizations and universities in 55 plus countries.

 [1] Huggins, T.J. and Jones, L.M. (2012). Visually modeling New Zealand conservation strategy: A study of user experiences. Ecopsychology, December 2012. 

[2] Huggins, T.J., Hill, S.R., Peace, R.M. and Johnston, D.M. (2018). Extending ecological rationality: Catching the high balls of disaster management. Human Centered Design for Collaborative Systems Supporting 4Rs - Proceedigns of ISCRAM Asia Pacific 2018 (K. Stock and D. Bunker, eds). 

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