Analyze choices and make better decisions with ‘Odesys’


All of us have important decisions we need to make, but can a piece of software help us make better ones? Odesys, a free online web app, wants to be exactly such a tool. Created by self described ‘decision theory researches’, Odesys takes you through a step-by-step process where you can lay down the different options in front of you as well as the different factors that can affect your decisions, and then set out to rate each against the others.

Odesys employs a weighted average framework that you have seen in other similar software; what is new, however, is the wizard-style interface that makes it very appealing and user friendly, and the analysis at the end, which sports attractive charts. Interestingly, you can make your decision model public if you like, such that others can freely look at it if they choose.

This software is  not unlike an Excel sheet that we wrote about previously (Decision Making Tool), or free software Evaluweight, in that you need to (a) come up with various alternatives that you could take, and (b) come up with different factors that affect your decision.(For example, if you are deciding between staying at your current job or moving to one further away, the factors may be the monetary compensation, the length of commute, personal interest in the subject matter, the possibility for advancement, and the like).

Here’s how the process works:

The process is illustrated below. The question used was: “How to get my site finances above water”.

Setting up alternatives:

Simply add the possible alternatives. Not too many or too few.

Odesys Screenshot2

Setting up factors that affect the decision:

Odesys Screenshot3

The factors can be difficult to come with all at the same time. Luckily, you can go back and change/add/edit at any time. You need to be thoughtful and creative here, in order to make the process useful and relevant to your life.

Rating the various factors:

This is where the actual ‘analysis’ comes in. You will need to rate each of the the different options across each factor. This is done via on-screen sliders that make it easy to visually asses and contrast each of the different options. Note that you will repeat this multiple times, one for each of the different options that you entered.

Odesys Screenshot5

And finally, the result:

Odesys Screenshot1

Even if you aren’t keen on charts and graphs, the bar chart (top) is very simple and clear cut, and gives a good summary of the overall result of each.

The verdict:

I like this service, because I think that it potentially has a lot of value. Its worth going through the exercise, and don’t shy away from going back and editing, changing your inputs, or even revisiting it a day later or so (the brain needs time to process).

Decision making is hard, and what you will get out of Odesys depends on the level of thoughtfulness and honesty that you invest in the process. What you can expect, however, is to come out of this process having at least had to think about the various issues/factors in a holistic way, which can be priceless, and a great help.

Once you try it, let us know what you think in the comments section below.

Click here to get started with Odesys.

  • For a funny take on Odesys, see my post “Should I Kill Myself? An Experiment”.
    I asked Odesys “shall I kill myself or go on with life?” and sure, after looking at some main variables, it advised me to kill myself…
    The report is here:

  • Samer Kurdi

    That’s really funny. But surely ‘Can continue reading Freewaregenius’ should have been in your shortlist 😉

  • Humberto Roque

    It seams Odessys applies exactly the same methodology as a ancient program named 2ndOpinion, that I think runned in the ZX Spectrum! I used it (the program and manually the methodology) several times with very good results, mainly when some decision had to be taken by a group of people and some conflicting interests. Not allways the pure result would be used blindly.
    First you must state your problem concisely and clearly. This will bring light to the problem, sometimes people are trying to solve other or even several problems with one solution. This fase can take some time…
    Second you gather all the solutions that people can think off, as much stupid as than can seem in the first place, reducing distracting discussion and bringing up shy people. Then, if you find youself with an impratical number of solutions, you can promote discussion and voting for the least atractive.
    Third you gather all the factors that people think are important, similarly with the solutions. Then you cycle for all factors, asking each one how much each one values each factor. In the end you combine all opinions and there you have your weights. Also, you can drop some, if the number is impractical.
    Fourth, you confront each solution with each factor asking something like ‘if everything else is not considered, what do think is best A or B?… A or C?… B or D?’ and so on until the last pair. Counting votes, you have all data you need and can run the program.
    In general your groups aquires a much deeper understanding of the issues is discussion very soon. Most of the time the solution pops without even get to the end.