This book provides the theoretical background of the Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM) method as well as detailed instructions for both individual and group use. It does not attempt to teach general facilitation skills, but does provide numerous practical tips for facilitators wishing to use ISM for group decision making sessions.
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The pace and complexity of life is increasing dramatically due to fierce competition, globalization, and unprecedented choice. Success in this environment is dependent upon making sound, timely decisions.
In the business world, managers often postpone major decisions, fearing that a wrong choice could harm the business and their career. Similarly, in our personal lives, many important decisions are put off or made by default. Lack of insight and understanding of a complex issue is a common reason why people postpone making major decisions.
An astounding tool, known only in select circles of management consultants, can help remedy this situation. This tool is called Interpretive Structural Modeling (ISM). ISM can bring diverse ideas together to provide thorough understanding of complex issues, leading to better olutions and decisions. ISM also forms the core of a powerful method that focuses the knowledge of a group to create outstanding results.
Widespread use of ISM can provide significant benefits to the world community, from delivering better products with faster market introduction, to understanding and correcting problems such as global warming. Every knowledge worker and consulting professional should have access to this powerful tool. Unfortunately, suitable literature is not available for a new user to learn ISM without going through several trial and error cycles. This book is intended to fill that gap.
Figure 1-1: Conceptual View of ISM
Figure 1-2: Fundamental steps to construct an effective ISM
Figure 1-3: Example ISM Voting screen
Figure 1-4: Example Interpretive Structural Model
Figure 1-5: Decision-Making Processes
Figure 2-1: Messy problem involving several groups
Figure 3-1: ISM Transforms Complex Problems into Linear Problems
Figure 3-2: Sandra's ISM
Figure 3-3: Strategic Planning Process
Figure 3-4: Traditional Scenario Planning Process
Figure 3-5: Traditional Scenario Planning with ISM
Figure 3-6: ISM based Scenario Planning with Multiple Uncertainties
Figure 4-1: Facilitation Skills for Team-based ISM
Figure 4-2: Process to create a useful list of ideas
Figure 4-3: Idea Sheets with stickers showing Importance and Lack of Information
Figure 4-4: Scatter-graph of Idea Sheets
Figure 4-5: Example screen used to construct ISM
Figure 4-6: Example Voting Screen for Business Investment Strategy Developement
Figure 4-7: Estimating Time Needed for Voting
Figure 5-1: Outline of Sessions
Figure 5-2: Process Diagram
Figure 5-3: Idea Sheet Flow during Idea Generation Phase
Figure 5-4: Wall Graph of Ideas
Figure 5-5: Voting Screen
Figure 5-6: AdTech ISM
Figure 6-1: Example Venn Diagram
Figure 6-2: Example Impact Wheel
Table 1: Comparison of Operations for Ideas and for Numbers
Table 2: Implementation of Problem Solving Steps
Table 3: Management Tools and their Strengths
Table 4: ISM Applications
Table 5: ISM & Other Problem Solving Techniques
Table 6: Wording the Context
Table 7: Example ISM Control Phrases
Table 8: SWOT template example
Table 9: Action / Implementation Plan template example
Table 10: Template for Feasibility analysis
Table 11: Summary of Ideas for Implementation Planning
Table 12: Implementation Summary
Table 13: Example Cross Impact Table