In the booming market for digital tools to assist with decision-making, ChoiceMap has launched an app designed to guide your thinking so that you can reach the right decision for yourself.

ChoiceMap app designed to help people make decisions


At various stages in our lives we are often forced to take decisions from an increasingly large range of choices. It is sometimes difficult to reach a final decision, and even just deciding from what angle you ought to be tackling the problem can be a headache. And if the decision parameters were not already wide enough, when emotions come into play it becomes even harder to sort the ‘right’ reasons for making your decision from the ‘wrong’ ones. Against this background, a number of developers have been trying to come up with a way to solve the various dilemmas which people have trouble untangling, such as Loomio or more recently DecideQuick. Now Seattle-based startup ChoiceMap has created a mobile app designed to help people work through complex dilemmas. The app first of all helps you list your own priorities and assess them according to the impact on their lives, and then, based on an algorithm, rates various decisions you might come up with.

Clarifying priorities to guide your thinking process

The app, which is available free of charge from the Apple Store, can be used to assist with various types of decisions, ranging from important career choices to what you will eat this evening.  A key point is that ChoiceMap does not purport to make the final decision for you; its main purpose is to rank the various options open to you. You start with a few simple steps to clarify your own priorities. You can draw up your own list of points or choose from a wide variety of suggestions. The idea is that going through the different steps enables you clarify your priorities and finally hit upon the right decision for you. The app’s algorithm will classify action options according to how they meet your stated needs.  The results can then be shared easily on Facebook, Twitter and by email. ChoiceMap founder Jonathan Jackson was in fact inspired by the works of psychologists, especially Israeli-American psychologist Daniel Kahneman. In his book Thinking, Fast and Slow, Kahneman argues that our thought processes are influenced by two different systems: the first corresponding to our intuition, which is difficult to pin down; the second corresponding to our conscious thought process, which is slow and methodical. To help develop his app, Jackson also worked with Ashoka, a US-based organisation which is the world’s largest association of leading social entrepreneurs.

A range of decision-making assistants

Apart from ChoiceMap, a large number of developers have been working on various artificial intelligence or other software programs designed to assist with decision-making. They approach the path to reaching a decision in radically different ways. The recently-launched Feels app for instance is intended to help users make sense of and register their own feelings, aiding the decision-making process by taking an unashamedly emotional angle with emoticon-type visual support. Seesaw, a free downloadable app launched in June last year, helps people to take decisions by canvassing their friends’ opinions. Taking a very different approach, Roundom, a decision-support app created last April, lets chance decide. More in line with ChoiceMap, other apps launched recently – including the Apofasi Decision Tool and Decision Maker – guide the user by formulating decisions on the basis of various criteria. Meanwhile Jonathan Jackson is planning to start raising funds this month with a view to creating a larger platform for a wide range of decision making processes going beyond the initial iPhone application. He announced his ambition to “change the way the entire world makes decisions […]. The app is a tiny step toward a much larger decision-making platform,” Jackson revealed.

By Manon Garnier