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Dan Power

Greetings to all of my friends who work in the area of computerized decision support. This blog is a way for me to share stories from my encounters related to decision support, to comment on industry events, and to comment on other blogger's comments, especially those of my friends on the Business Intelligence Network. I'll try to state my opinions clearly and provide an old professor's perspective on how computers and information technology are changing the world. Decision making has always been my focus, and it will be in this blog as well. Your comments, feedback and questions are welcomed.

About the author >

Daniel J. "Dan" Power is a Professor of Information Systems and Management at the College of Business Administration at the University of Northern Iowa and the editor of DSSResources.com, the Web-based knowledge repository about computerized systems that support decision making; the editor of PlanningSkills.com; and the editor of DSS News, a bi-weekly e-newsletter. Dr. Power's research interests include the design and development of decision support systems and how these systems impact individual and organizational decision behavior.

Editor's Note: More articles and resources are available in Dan's BeyeNETWORK Expert Channel. Be sure to visit today!

Richard Hack and I just met in Second Life at the new Decision Support World facility and chatted about decision support using Second Life and tonight's political caucuses here in Iowa. Using the voice client we could chat and sit and explore the 3-D SL world. We are hoping Jill, Claudia, Colin and our other BI Network friends will come and explore the possibilities of the 3-D web

Well this is Decision-day in Iowa. At 7pm CST, Iowa Democrats will break into preference groups and allocate delegates to groups with at least 15% of the attendees in the precinct. The Republicans will have a secret, winner-take-all ballot in their caucuses.

I got up early this morning to head to Jameson's Pub in Waterloo to meet with Senator Joe Biden. Yesterday I attended a campaign event with Former President Clinton and then one with Senator Barack Obama. The media frenzy, phone calls, and door knocking is intense.

Following his speech, I briefly shook hands with Barack Obama and looked him in the eyes. Obama looked back! He is clearly not some puppet on a string. Barack is a man of great passion and intellect with a smart talented wife. The crowd of 750 people were "pumped up" and so was Barack. Live music and shouting, it seemed like a rock concert.

Bill Clinton was more subdued and his crowd was about 400 at the National Cattle Congress Pavillion. He believes Hillary will make a great President and he knows what the job demands. From watching the two of them together, Bill will be a trusted advisor, but Hillary will be the President, the Chief Executive Officer and Commander in Chief.

Joe Biden is a strong, experienced leader. In my opinion, he can lead this country through the difficult times that are certainly ahead. Perhaps 100 of us gathered to hear his stump speech and enjoy being with Joe.

So the time for decision draws near ... 8 hours and counting. I want to make a pragmatic decision, not solely an emotional one. What is a pragmatic decision? One where the decision maker has looked at the practical consequences of each proposed course of action. Pragmatism is an analytical philosophy that is the foundation for computerized decision support and especially systems to provide business intelligence to managers.

Senator Biden suggested an exercise to help make the decision tonight. I will share it based on my interpretation:

Close your eyes and imagine that each candidate is the President of the United States. Assume they were President today and had to deal with the crisis in Pakistan, the war in Iraq, the domestic issues of recession and a housing crisis. What would the person be doing? Is the person ready and able? Thought exercises are fun and potentially informative.

Emotion is "indispensable in rational decision making", but a pragmatic decision should not be based solely on emotional response. According to the coherence theory of decision (Millgram, Thagard, Barnes), "people make decisions by assessing and ordering various competing actions and goals." Supposedly, "The rational decision maker chooses complex plans that are most coherent with currently held goals."

My overriding goal is a strong American which is a great, safe place for my children to live and work, where I can enjoy my retirement years and with hope hug grandchildren one day. I want a positive, sustainable world for the next 100 years and beyond.

Based upon what I have read, my impressions of the candidates I have met and my goals, I will stand up for Senator Joe Biden during the first caucus division tonight. If for some reason, Seantor Biden is not viable in my precinct I will caucus with the supporters of Senator Hillary Clinton.

Senator Barack Obama has demonstrated that he is a viable contender and that very fact creates new hope for those who have been excluded and sometimes ignored in our society, but when I close my eyes and imagine Obama as President I hesitate. As for the other contenders, each has strengths and should continue to work to make America the leader of the "free world" once again.

A door knocker for John Edwards is at my front door as I finish this blog post. Volunteers for Barack Obama were outdoors in 15 degree winds on the streets of Waterloo, IA at 7:30 am holding political signs as people drove to work. The volunteers for the campaigns are out in force. Iowa is all about the future of our country today. Pray for those of us who must decide tonight.


Barnes, A. and P. Thagard, "Emotional Decisions," URL http://cogsci.uwaterloo.ca/Articles/Pages/Emot.Decis.html .

Pragmatism, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pragmatism

Thagard, P., & Millgram, E. (1995). Inference to the best plan: A coherence theory of decision. In A. Ram & D. B. Leake (Eds.), Goal-driven learning: (pp. 439-454). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Posted January 3, 2008 9:51 AM
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