Mental Models for Better Decision-Making

  • This advanced workshop focuses on formal data analysis and mental models. To get the most out of the content of this workshop, you must already be skilled at listening sessions.

    We start with a discussion of scoping studies for a person’s purpose, rather than for tasks and goals associated with your solution. We practice coding real transcripts and writing first-person, present-tense summaries using real data collected over time in the Introduction workshops. The third part of the workshop focuses on finding patterns in the summaries based on intent, and building those into the hierarchies that can be depicted as mental model diagrams. We then review these patterns and that of other mental model diagrams as a foundation for discussion about using the data internally. Indi takes into consideration participants’ roles, history, and power within the structure as variables that influence the uptake of the data by others. Finally, we touch upon deriving behavioral audience segments from the same set of transcripts.

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    1. The uses of problem space research
    2. Scoping a study
    3. Coding transcripts and writing summaries
    4. Patterns and synthesis
    5. Review the mental model diagrams
    6. Getting the results embraced at your organization
    7. Deriving behavioral audience segments

    The workshop is highly interactive, with recommendations from Indi for individual situations, backgrounds, and personalities. The day is peppered with group exercises as well as solo and paired exercises. Questions are welcome at any point.

    Skills you will develop:

    • Problem-facing scoping for perennial studies
    • Writing summaries of concepts
    • Finding patterns based on intent, not noun
    • Building a mental model diagram
    • Applying the data and making concepts stick
    • Finding behavioral audience segments in the data

    Mental models represent the alignment between your organization’s efforts to support people (lower half of the diagram), and the reasoning and reactions of real people as they achieve a purpose (top half of the diagram). This alignment, or lack, can help your team prioritize, refine, and clarify services, audience segments, and branches.