Decision Thinking

What is Decision Thinking

The application of a mental model, or a set of heuristics, for intentionally approaching, considering and taking a decision.

Decision Thinking is a method aimed at facilitating informed choices through intentional decision-making processes. 

Decision Thinking synthesizes these learnings into mental models, approaches, and tools accessible to decision-makers in various contexts.

It draws upon i4policy’s extensive experience in participatory governance, including initiatives like citizen-drafted legislation and global citizens' assemblies across over 100 countries.

The heuristics and tools we're sharing here are based on our learnings aimed to foster better collective decisions and outcomes.

Who can use Decision Thinking?

Decision Thinking appeals to those most willing to explore and interrogate new approaches (the “innovator” population in the user adoption lifecycle in the policy-making community)


Organizations and individuals who design, facilitate, and support participatory policy-making processes


Innovative and engaged policy-makers


Concerned with democratic innovation, participatory and deliberative democracy, participatory policy-making, etc.

Overview of ADDIS

ADDIS is a Decision Thinking approach developed at i4Policy over the last 6 years through our work with governments and communities in more than 80 countries.

It is a mnemonic device for the main phases of a decision thinking process: Agenda Setting, Drafting, Decision-Making, Implementation, Sense-making.
The five phases can be broken down further into 12 steps.

Agenda Setting has three steps:

  • Care, to understand the people concerned by a decision area;
  • Initiate, to launch a process to address a particular issue along with collaborators;
  • Define, to identify and prioritize the specific issues, problems or opportunities, to be addressed

Drafting has three steps: 

  • Ideate, to explore, brainstorm, benchmark and evaluate potential solutions;
  • Develop, to transform potential solutions into draft decisions;
  • Consult, to share drafts for inputs and to then integrate feedback

Decision-Making has two steps:

  • Propose, is to suggest a decision be taken
  • Adopt, to consider and approve a decision through an appropriate process

Implementation consists of two steps:

  • Deliver, to communicate and execute the agreed 
  • Monitor, to track and assess implementation of a decision against desired results

Sense-Making consists of two steps:

  • Harvest, to gather insights from implementation and the overall process, and
  • Understand, to make sense of observations, to inform and inspire future decisions