Input: You provide us with a pile of documentation (say 2 to 5cm if printed) plus phone and email briefing to convey the controversy and situation to date. This pile of paper, which may include material you have solicited from your stakeholders, covers all of your stakeholders’ concerns, their evidence and their views. You relay the controversy, the motions and options you are considering and the evidence for and against that you have accumulated to date. We both budget two to six hours for phone and email briefing and any ad hoc queries. We help with formulating controversies, motions and options as needed.
Customer Feedback: Particularly as this is a new service introduction we are keen to learn from each customer on ways to improve the services. We desire feedback on strengths and weaknesses to help us in refining our business process for delivery service, the underpinning technology, and the outcomes we provide. We also seek testimonials on how we’ve done.
Timeline: We seek to provide the final report within three weeks of receiving your deposit. However, we agree to allow a month in total, from deposit received to report delivered to include contingency in case of subtleties or complexities.
So that is our Desk Debates offer – it is our first and permanent offer. Contact us for pricing details (budget: its just over £11,000 for typical debates of up to five options and just over £21,000 for large debates with more than five options and option enhancement, plus VAT) and to place an order. By being an early adopter of this new service you will obtain more consulting help and personal attention. It also positions your organisation to gain the benefits ahead of others.
Soon, at the end of the first quarter of 2014 we will also provide Live Debates, which we now describe as part of our road map. This Live Debates offer augments the Desk Debate service.
Lets start by acknowledging that the Debate Tracking and Judging Service is new. There is nothing quite like it on the market. True, there are some rudimentary tools for argumentation visualisation, but they make you do all the work (of points i to v immediately below) – and their outputs are rather hard to understand. Ours is underpinned by AI automation of i) argument creation, ii) attack detection, iii) debate tree creation, iv) vulnerability detection and v) outcome determination. No commercial product even begins to do that. Also our visualisation of the debate structure and outcome is state of the art – for ease-of-understanding and beauty. Our visual language is based on recent human factors research and also ties seamlessly with the argumentation theory. Both the Desk Debate and Live Debate use this tooling to speed up and organise the work; both offers use the visual imagery in their final reports.
Step Two: Exemplars. We are building and refining our set of exemplary debates, showing the tracking and judging involved in reaching rational conclusions. These already cover such business topics as mergers & acquisitions (M&A), information technology project decisions and various controversies in the energy market. The exemplars will be hosted on our website or shared by email and used to illustrate the different kinds of business decisions addressed. Some are, or will be, from customers and some from other sources.
Step Three: Live Debates. Coming soon (first quarter of 2014) we have our Live Debates offer, which is live-audience facilitated debates in a workshop setting. You will see a large wall-sized screen and audio-visual set up that provides a dynamic visual representation of the current state of the debate. This audio-visual rig is part of our artificial intelligence computer application we call ‘Judge’. Think of some ten to twenty stakeholders sitting studying this screen, debating and working together for one to three days.
Your stakeholders attend, bringing their concerns, evidence and ideas with them. The chairs are arranged in an arc to face the big screen. The focus is on the business problem and not on ‘one side’ versus ‘the other side’ across a table. In our debates we do not take sides, but rather all focus on what is best for the whole. Edward de Bono calls this ‘parallel thinking’.
Typically, poor business decisions arise from sub-optimisation. That is, they take care of some stakeholder concerns, but miss out other important concerns. Progress over the history of business decision-making can be understood as broadening the set of stakeholder concerns addressed. Quality, safety, environmental effects and usability are examples of concerns that have historically been sometimes missed when finding solutions. Not least, debate attention must still remain on financial profit, on-time delivery, risk management and customer satisfaction. Getting all of the stakeholders together with their concerns and evidence is a good foundation for avoiding sub-optimisation.
Live Debates can be booked from anywhere and delivered anywhere in the world. Live Debates can occur in your facilities, facilities rented near you, or at our location. The typical debate lasts one to three days. Our facilitator works with your team, in real time, to capture the debate and help draw conclusions.