Decision Theater

Solutions to complex challenges

Decision Theater works with organizations around the world to address complex global challenges. The following is a sampling of our projects and the solutions developed in collaboration with our partners.

PROJECT 1

Coordinating disaster aid in megacities

Strategic awareness for immediate action
PROJECT 1

Coordinating disaster aid in megacities

Strategic awareness for immediate action
Challenge

What happens when disaster strikes a megacity? How can humanitarian assistance organizations strategize action within the unique constraints of a dense urban environment?

Solution

Working with the United States Army’s Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), the Decision Theater has developed a data-ready tool to navigate regional disasters and establish sustainable humanitarian assistance in a megacity anywhere in the world.

Technology

The G2 tool integrates nine computational models from disparate fields into a single exploratory prototype to inform the development and maintenance of internally displaced persons (IDP) camps. Each model guides decision-makers to anticipate scenarios based on real-time and historical data and to plan strategic action in the face of uncertainty.

PROJECT 1

Coordinating disaster aid in megacities

Strategic awareness for immediate action

Models include:

  • Facilities and geographic awareness
    The decision-support tool integrates Google Map services to present the existing terrain and locations of emergency services in the region. Selecting an area of interest on the map populates current weather conditions and calculates the land cover.
  • Transportation and flooding
    A transportation and flooding model developed in-house at Decision Theater calculates where flooding is likely to occur and how it will affect transportation routes and travel time to emergency services.
  • Sphere standards, security considerations and threat assessments
    An agent-based model simulates possible security threats based on existing demographic and organizational data as well as communication patterns.
  • Supply, resupply and network graph
    The tool allows a user to input existing resource data to monitor the use and delivery of supplies. The network graph visualizes the local affiliate organizations and their various relationships to each other so that they could be contacted for further assistance.

 

The data-ready model can be easily customized to inform new situational awareness needs, offering flexible solutions to a wide range of conflicts. 

PROJECT 2

Addressing land degradation

Visualizing the trade-offs of various interventions
PROJECT 2

Addressing land degradation

Visualizing the trade-offs of various interventions
Challenge

Land degradation is one of the most crucial, but also most neglected, consequences of economic development that threatens human and ecological health. Approximately 1.3 billion people depend on polluted or degraded agricultural land. This leads to reduced agricultural productivity and access to water and increased carbon emissions.

Solution

In October 2018, ASU and Conservation International unveiled a new tool designed to help decision-makers understand the type and extent of land degradation in a given geographical area and the costs and benefits associated with targeted policy interventions. This tool was designed by the Decision Theater and visualized across its immersive, seven-screen environment.

"The experience of the DT team made it possible to build a tool integrating massive quantities of data that is still usable and accessible to non-experts.”

— Alex Zvoleff, Conservation International

PROJECT 2

Addressing land degradation

Visualizing the trade-offs of various interventions
Technology

The software developers and program managers at Decision Theater worked hand-in-hand with CI experts to design and build the tool. The interactive data visualization integrates information derived from Trends.Earth, an existing tool funded by the Global Environmental Facility and already used by 146 countries to analyze land changes. It also incorporates satellite data to capture information about areas not reported via Trends.Earth, as well as data from World Bank, CIA World Factbook, IUCN and other sources.

The tool allows users to compare the effect of various interventions on factors such as carbon sequestration, animal habitats, economic growth and more. Users can easily visualize the impact of different interventions in different locations to find out where they will see the greatest return on investment.

PROJECT 3

Chief of mission security training

Training U.S. ambassadors through game-based simulation
PROJECT 3

Chief of mission security training

Training U.S. ambassadors through game-based simulation
Challenge

If you were a newly appointed U.S. ambassador, how would you think through the decision-making process in a pre-crisis situation? How would you negotiate the nuanced pressures of an ambassador’s responsibilities? How would you balance risks not just to the security of your mission, but to its diplomatic, social and political dimensions as well?

Solution

The Decision Theater partnered with the American Academy of Diplomacy, the Una Chapman Cox Foundation and the McCain Institute to create a flexible decision-making tool. This observation and analysis tool is a first-of-its-kind simulation to train ambassadors and deputy chiefs of mission to think about challenging security issues in pre-crisis situations. The program develops ambassadors’ mental capacity in decision-making, systems thinking and anticipatory competence.

The game-based simulation was co-developed with exceptional diplomatic leaders who have experienced the toughest of challenges in critical threat posts. Informed by their selfless international service, with support from diplomatic security practitioners, Decision Theater produced a five-scenario training opportunity to help diplomatic leaders gain confidence and training on how to think about security issues that they will face in their posts.

PROJECT 3

Chief of mission security training

Training U.S. ambassadors through game-based simulation
Technology

The technology that runs the training scenarios is built on a flexible and configurable software platform that can rapidly develop new training situations by importing decision trees, created by content experts. The software system will be able to bring in situational data sets, environments, GIS maps and current events to add realism to the training simulation. The flexibility of the system allows facilitators and administrators to rapidly configure the desired look and feel, the conversational/textual options, import any decision tree and run a scenario-based interactive training simulation within minutes.

Solutions Projects

Browse through a sampling of Decision Theater’s collaborative projects. These include our partnerships with the Helios Education Foundation, American Academy of Diplomacy, Conservation International, and many others. These introduce each project’s decision-support functions and technical capabilities. Reach out to Decision Theater for more information or live demonstrations of these models.

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