IntelliSynthesis is a software platform for easily and effectively gathering input from multi-stakeholder planning processes. It lets groups think, plan, and act together using a specially designed set of tools for group editing, voting, and idea evaluation. Let’s look at how in more detail.
When an E-Naction dialogue is called together, each participant gets a login for the web-based software. Upon entering the system, the user arrives at their personal “dashboard” which lets them edit the document that the group is developing. This document is the ultimate output from the group’s efforts. It also includes a calendar for coordination and a discussion section for sharing ideas and updates.
IntelliSynthesis streamlines group plan development by placing a Facilitation Team at your service to guide and organize contribution. Facilitators act in a number of roles. For example:
- They guide the discussion by introducing ideas and then calling for discussions or votes.
- They lead participants through negotiations to help them refine their ideas, resolve conflicts, and ensure constructive discussion.
- They direct the discussion by calling for votes on particular lines of inquiry when consensus is close to being reached and starting new topics when appropriate.
- They review and combine individual postings before they are released to the group for consideration.
Facilitators use the software to track each participant’s activity. They can notice when contribution falls off, and can coach and motivate participants to stick with the process. IntelliSynthesis is designed to reliably draw people into action. Participants experience an upward spiral of productivity that results from the shared understanding and sense of commitment that develops within the group.
IntelliSynthesis uses the model of a virtual roundtable to guide participants through preparation, deliberation, and expression of preferences. Roundtables use these three modes for discussion:
- On-table discussions are used for brainstorming. Ideas and views can build on one another, without the immediate need for agreement or synthesis. On-table discussions move the group forward through successive consensus building and voting processes.
- Off-table discussions allow for dialogue about outlier or dissenting perspectives. Off-table posting helps to ensure that everyone’s point of view is considered and understood without placing a burden on the entire group to read every post, suggestion, and subsequent negotiation.
- Breakout Rooms let the facilitators isolate one or more participants with issues that are best kept private. Facilitators guide the process with these participants until they can come back to the table and move forward with their concerns resolved.
IntelliSynthesis uses a set of specially defined signals that guide the give-and-take of the dialogue process. Examples of these signals include Affirm, Object, Concerns, Add Idea, Remove Idea, and Question. These let participants signal their intentions more visibly, as opposed to simple up-or-down voting. The software also uses a concept of Mile Markers, which are pivot points that guide the conversation and indicate the start of a new topic of discussion and Interchanges, which mark a call for a vote and the discussion’s conclusion. The system also supports time limits, which focuses participation.
Taken together, these capabilities simplify the challenging process of reaching consensus. The Facilitators provide a set of guiding hands that expand participation and simplify coordination. They ensure that the resulting deliverable reflects the best thinking of the group over time. Finally, automating the roundtable process draws participants into smoother and more thoughtful involvement in the process.