[originally posted to BlogCisive]

To a first approximation, all deliberative judgements (i.e., those that turn on to-some-degree careful consideration of the relevant arguments) can be usefully sorted into three kinds.

These are the three Ds of judgement.

1. Decision

Decision is a matter of choosing from among options, particularly where those options are possible actions.  The question here is “What should I (we) do?”

2. Diagnosis

Diagnostic judgements concern what is going on.   The question is “What is happening?” or “What’s the situation?”  The term diagnosis has medical connotations, but here I’m widening its use to include various kinds of investigation, hypothesis testing,  and problem-solving.  All diagnostic judgements involve hypotheses (conjectures) as to what is actually happening.  A good example of diagnostic judgement in this sense is the assessment in intelligence analysis.

3. Debate

Debate is trying to determine the truth of some proposition by presenting the arguments for or against it.  The question is “Is it true?”

Austhink has two products – Rationale, and bCisive.  Rationale, the argument mapping tool, supports debate.  bCisive, the business decision mapping tool, has been positioned as supporting decision.  We haven’t had a tool for diagnosis, and have tended to recommend that people wanting to make diagnostic judgements use some variant of the “Analysis of Competing Hypotheses” (ACH) method.

However, just as argument mapping supports debate, and business decision mapping supports decision, so “hypothesis mapping,” an alternative to ACH, supports diagnosis.  Further, hypothesis mapping is quite easily handled in bCisive as it stands.

Austhink is currently working on a “Pro” version of bCisive which will include crucial features needed for supporting both deliberation and diagnosis.

This means that one tool will help users map the thinking behind all three major kinds of deliberative judgement.

The tool should be available in a few months.