After logging into your 1000minds account, all you have to do is follow these simple steps to create a ‘decision model’ for decision-making and prioritization.


You can jump back and forth between the steps as much as you like. 1000minds is designed so that you can iteratively refine your model as you learn more about your decision problem by thinking about each step.

Step 1: Criteria

After having setup your model, start by entering your criteria, which can be in qualitative or quantitative terms.

As an illustration, consider the example of a government agency, a business or a non-for-profit organization prioritizing projects competing for funding.

For example, these criteria, and levels within each criterion, might be appropriate: (a) Urgency / importance of the issue or problem addressed, (b) Likely effectiveness of proposed solution, (c) Fit with organizational strategic priorities, (d) Implementation timeframe.

(Of course, if this were a real application, you would enter you own criteria or adapt our demo decisions models available inside 1000minds.)


In addition to the above criteria, other factors are also likely to be relevant – in particular, each project’s cost, and perhaps also other things like strategic factors, risk, etc. These other factors are returned to later below.

Step 2: Alternatives

Enter any alternatives you are considering. If you don’t know them yet, that’s fine. You can enter alternatives at any time.


Step 3: Decisions

Instead of guessing the relative importance (weights) of your criteria, or assuming they’re all equally important (a common fallacy), 1000minds determines them using the PAPRIKA method.

You’ll be asked a series of simple questions based on choosing between two hypothetical alternatives defined on two criteria at a time and involving a tradeoff, as illustrated below. Your answers determine your weights on the criteria.

Depending on how many criteria you have, you might be asked 30-40 questions, for example. Answering them doesn’t take very long for most people, and this has to be done only once (unless your preferences change).


Step 4: Preference Values

The weights on the criteria, reflecting their relative importance to you, are known as ‘preference values’. (In our Conjoint Analysis service, weights are known as ‘part-worth utilities’.) Collectively, they’re sometimes referred to as a ‘points system’.

Each criterion’s relative importance, or ‘weight’ – i.e. relative to the other criteria – is represented by the preference value of its highest-ranked level (e.g. ‘High’ below).

For example, below ‘Fit with the organization’s strategic priorities’ is 34.8% and ‘Likely effectiveness of the proposed solution’ is 13.0%. Therefore the first attribute is almost three times (i.e. 2.68) as important as the second one. The bolded values – weights – sum to 100% (i.e. 1).

In addition, a criterion’s preference value(s) between the lowest and highest levels represent both the criterion’s relative importance and the levels’ performances relative to the highest level – hence ‘middle’ values are less than the value of the highest level.

(For more information, see interpreting preference values.)

Preference values

Step 5: Ranked Alternatives

Based on your preference values (above) and how you described the alternatives at Step 2 earlier (or now if it’s more convenient), 1000minds ranks the alternatives from first to last according to their ‘total scores’.

Ranked alternatives You can enter new alternatives at any time. As mentioned earlier, ‘other factors’ (or ‘considerations’) that are relevant – e.g. cost, risk, confidence in cost estimates, strategic factors, strength of evidence, etc – can also be entered.

You can make your decisions based on the information in the table above. But for many applications we recommend using our ‘value for money’ tool:

Value for money