Friday, April 11, 2008

Let's get started!

The Planners Lab blog is a place for you to share your ideas regarding Decision Support Systems – ideas about research, teaching, applications, innovations, emerging technologies, problems, war stories, and other fun DSS stuff. This blog is for people genuinely interested in using technologies to rehearse the future (Peter Keen's term). The blog is located at You may also access the blog from or Here are some ideas of what to look forward to from your contributions:
  • Graduate students identify thesis topics.

  • Researchers with common interests are able to connect, collaborate and pursue funding together.

  • Identification of problems that need addressing.

  • Teachers find ideas for teaching.

  • Readers and contributors get a feel for what's hot in the field at a point in time.

  • Community or special interest group(s) are formed.

  • Face-to-face events evolve.

  • New products develop and new features are incorporated into existing tools.

The above is clearly not a complete list. There will be great ideas emerge that I can’t imagine at this time. It will be fun to learn what you are thinking.

Just in case you don’t already know, Dan Power also has a blog. You no doubt already know about his

OK lets do it! Who will be the first? This blog is not a “diary”. It is a place for everyone to contribute.

[Note: Of course I am interested in the use of Planners Lab for research, teaching, and decision making applications. However this is not the place to promote the software or to offer suggestions for its improvement – for those kind of inputs please email them to me at]


At April 11, 2008 at 6:42 PM , Blogger Murli said...

Dear Jerry, I am thrilled to be the first to leave a comment on your blog. So let me tell a story. I first got interested in DSS about 25 years ago about the same time as I got interested in AI and GUIs -- these were all the rage then. Got excited enough to chuck my career and go off to UT Austin to do a PhD in the area of DSS. Fate had other plans, of course -- I happened to be walking down a hallway in the College of Business and encountered you coming the other way, one morning in January, 1987. I had no idea at the time that you were a DSS pioneer. Anyway, I signed up for your GDSS course and that one act totally changed everything I had planned to do over the prior few years. Man, what a ride it has been! Thanks, Jerry!

Our understanding of DSS has grown and changed in the past four decades. DSS have been quick to incorporate emerging technologies and adapt. Currently available and new advancements have made systems more visually engaging, easier to interact with and leverage human intuitive abilities much better. With technologies like Jeff Han's work at Perceptive Pixel and Microsoft Surface everyone of us can appear as cool as Tom Cruise in the sci-fi movie Minority Report. Pretty soon, there will be DSS where one can interact directly and "physically" with models and experience them in three and higher dimensions.

The field of IS/IT tends to be faddish but decision making will never go away; and as long as human beings remain, in the immortal words of Herbert Simon, 'boundedly rational', nor will the need for tools that assist in the decision making process.

This blog is a great place to record, explore and discuss issues relating to DSS in rapidly changing world. Technologies that were once prohibitively expensive -- thereby restricting DSS to the nosebleed section of even large corporations -- are now literally in the hands of children and even peasants in emerging economies. Telecommunications and mobile technologies have added whole new dimensions to the mix. Indeed, mobile and wireless technologies are becoming the principal access and interaction mechanisms for performing a diverse range of tasks among the young around the world and by most everybody in some economies.

It's an exciting time in DSS -- no less exciting than it was when I first glommed onto the term 25 years ago. The term 'DSS' may show signs of aging, but that's because a lot of DSS features and functions have quietly insinuated themselves into other tools and technologies. We'll continue to use the term DSS because it is pretty descriptive of the intent and purpose of such systems -- even if fancy-schmancy new terms emerge now and then, like debutantes at a ball, only to fade away with the morning light.

I am really happy and excited that you set up this blog and look forward to following it keenly, besides contributing to it keenly.

As always, Jerry, You Da Man!

At April 12, 2008 at 10:40 AM , Blogger Murli said...

Errrrr!!! Sorry about the typos. I'm not going to list them all. But I'll just fix one:

The last paragraph should read:

"I am really happy and excited that you set up this blog and look forward to following it keenly, besides contributing to it."

'Twas the spirit of Peter Keen, methinks, injecting a second 'keenly' into the sentence. -m

At April 12, 2008 at 2:18 PM , Blogger Paul McNamara said...

This blog is a wonderful idea. I look forward to reading others comments and adding a few of my own. As a consultant in northern New Mexico, I work with small business owners.
I have a question for anybody who has experience using DSS in small business. What are the specific DSS uses, who uses it, what software is used and what are the results?
Thanks in advance for any replies.

At April 13, 2008 at 11:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry--

I hope you receive lots of comments, a few emails and information postings. I will try to read and post occasionally. We all have so much to learn about web-based communities. Also, we in DSS can benefit from an active blog related to using technology, especially Planners Lab, to help envision the future.

At April 13, 2008 at 6:56 PM , Blogger Paul McNamara said...

Jerry, I suggest that you share your idea about high school courses using Planners Lab. I think that it has great potential for teaching fiscal responsibility at an early age and shows the consequences of choice.

At April 13, 2008 at 7:44 PM , Blogger JBarjis said...

Dear Jerry,
I am also happy to be among the first bloggers.
Let me echo others in praising your outstanding initiative setting this blog.
It is an excellent window into new horizons in DSS and related aspects.
We live in the age of multimedia. Graphics has always been the best way of communication and representation. Today, the notions of see-through and “rehearse the future” imply new dimensions in understanding complex phenomena and forecasting the future. Decision making is a complex phenomenon requiring both agility and swiftness. Technology is not a supporting tool alone, but enhancing, improving and taking edge. In this digital age, business processes are scattered not only throughout the labyrinth in their own enterprise, but also across different enterprises, and even beyond the national boundaries. An evidence to this is the growing phenomenon of business process outsourcing. All this confronts DSS with new challenges.
The millennial mentality is of visual perception, where a picture is truly worth thousand words. Decision makers want to visually and instantly see the impact of changes and alternatives. All these complex concepts, analysis, sophisticated formulas, extensive spreadsheets, descend to the beneath of DSS, surfaced by graphics, simulation, animation, and straight-to-the-benefit visualization of the outcomes.
All this opens a whole lot of exciting and promising research opportunities and tools development.
I will follow up on these issues in my future postings, to keep this initial posting rather brief.
Once again, bravo with your pioneering role then and now in the realm of DSS!
Joseph Barjis

At April 14, 2008 at 6:33 AM , Blogger Jim Courtney said...


Thanks for initiating this blog. I hope it is very successful. I've enjoyed reading the comments that have already been posted.

One thing that strikes me is that DSS seems to be a popular concept in many areas, including medical informatics (clinical DSS), environmental systems and engineering. But it seems to me that many people in MIS see it as outdated or a dead field. Do others get the same feeling and if so, what might we do about it?

BTW, Paul, I have a small cabin in NE New Mexico and will be over there this summer. Perhaps we could get together for lunch or something.

At April 14, 2008 at 6:33 AM , Blogger Jim Courtney said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At April 14, 2008 at 6:41 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At April 14, 2008 at 6:47 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...

I look forward to the interaction that can occur here. I offer the following experience for your consideration.

I think there is much to be gained from grounding our research in past DSS work (building the cumulative research tradition, as I believe Dr. Keen challenged us to do almost 30 years ago), but my most recent submission to a top journal was dismissed as "reminiscent of old DSS research" by one reviewer. Perhaps the study was terribly flawed (I'd like to think it wasn't), but I'm more concerned that DSS research is considered passe by some reviewers. I think DSS research still has (and will continue to have) much to offer in terms of learning how to help humans make better decisions. I'd prefer not to feel that I have to hide the DSS aspect to get the research published! Do we need to begin a new marketing campaign celebrating the (ongoing) contributions of the DSS philosophy?

At April 14, 2008 at 7:21 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

Good morning all. This blog is off to a great start. Thanks so very much for that.

Jim your comment got posted two times so I deleted one. Somehow it shows two deletions. I hope that I did not accidently delete one that I should not have deleted.

David, what do you think the reviewer meant when he said "reminescent of old DSS rerearch"? If (s)he offered no insights what do you think the person meant?

At April 14, 2008 at 8:35 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...

In the context of the review, the tone seemed to indicate that the research offered little contribution -- as if all of the issues related to DSS were studied in the 1980s! We were studying DSS use in situations where the decision is likely to be influenced by a person's values. That's probably always been an implicit aspect of DSS use, but we were making it very explicit by manipulating the DSS interface to either support or challenge the decision maker's decision and then comparing subsequent behavior to the subject's value profile (determined pre-treatment). As DSS are used more in "decisions that matter," I think exploring how the decision maker's beliefs and values come into play becomes more critical. I actually think the reviewer was right: the research was reminiscent of "old" DSS research. Nothing wrong with that as I see it! We have to be careful to draw attention to the decision making issues. Perhaps we were a little too system design oriented in our description of the study.

At April 14, 2008 at 8:42 AM , Blogger Bill Schmarzo said...

Hey Jerry, this seems like a great way to get like minds together to debate and discuss why decision support has struggled to take off, especially in light of the game-changing impact it can have upno a business.


At April 14, 2008 at 11:39 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry... I don´t know if this time I will be successful with my comment. In my life experience, I have observe how analysis alone is limited to arrive to innovative solutions. Probably I am only expressing my good ignorance about DSS. Anyway, I wish you the best success in this new endeavor and, if it fits here, I woul be enthusiastic about sharing creative decitions that have changed my life... like the one that Murli shares about meeting you. Pepín

At April 14, 2008 at 11:52 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

The previous comment was from my long time dear professional artist friend Pepin Hernandez Laos from Guadalajara, Mexico. He did not mean to use Anonymous. Welcome aboard Pepin.

At April 15, 2008 at 7:18 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for starting the blog. It is more useful for exchange ideas than everyone sending email messages to everyone else.

I got interested in DSS as a MS student at the University of Texas at Austin in 1974. Jerry was the OR department chair (or was it the OR group chair) and I created an interactive user interface to a non-linear network optimization algorithm. The algorithm came from Paul Jensen and the input text parser came for an early version of what became IFPS. Through the late-70s I was the IFPS guru at General Dynamics. I built models for cash forecasting and tax planning. We even did the corporate taxes in IFPS. I was building models in IFPS to automate the cash forecasting process and I was building models in IFPS to provide information for better decision making with respect to corporate tax consequences.

I went back to UT Austin for my PhD in the mid-80s. The DSS field was going through the “group” and the “AI” phase and my dissertation built upon AI concepts for supporting multiple criteria decision making. I have always been interested in the information versus automation impacts of DSS. What are the situations where we want to change from providing information for a decision process to automating the decision process? The ultimate in outsourcing is not to another human being but to a computer. We have some guidance on this from automatic aircraft flight control systems when the idea of keeping the human in the loop is key. I have a PhD student starting his dissertation work where we are designing a DSS for intrusion detection decisions. I want him to explore the information versus automation trade-off.

Anyway – I welcome this forum as a way to surface ideas and directions for the DSS field.

At April 15, 2008 at 8:05 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...

Since others are providing a little background information:

My first exposure to DSS concepts came in 1978 when I took a class from Jim Courtney at Georgia Tech. In 1979, I took a class from the industrial and systems engineering department where the professor had us design a DSS for playing Scrabble by mail -- in APL no less!

In 1980 I was part of a team that developed what I believe was one of the first interactive DSS in the electric utility industry. I worked primarily on the interface (command language parsing, etc.) and on the database management component. I also developed a module that would analyze capital expenditures over 20-30 year horizons so the expansion planners could "see" the cost and revenue streams. I vividly remember our team leader, who was working on his PhD at Purdue, give me the papers that eventually were published in Bonzcek, Holsapple and Whinston's book on DSS as a guide to what we were trying to accomplish. What was our competition? IFPS, of course! LOL

At April 15, 2008 at 11:15 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

I’m always amazed of how much exists that I don’t know about and which might be important in what I do. A couple of examples happened yesterday that I want to pass along. One is an exhibit called MoMa.

You may already have seen this site. If you have not, you’ll need an hour or so to get through it. It will surely stimulate our thinking and maybe some new thoughts about DSS.

Taken from the MoMa home page is the following: “Many designers, scientists, and artists have turned to design to give method to their productive tinkering, or what John Seely Brown has called “thinkering”. They all belong to a new culture in which experimentation is guided by engagement with the world and open, constructive collaboration with colleagues and other specialists. Whether in the form of origami, nanofacture, or growth and aggregation, thinking gives shape to the embryonic dialogue between design and science.”

Is thinkering a good word to help in talking about DSS? That is, experimentation guided by engagement.

As some of you know I’ve been involved in data visualization and design for the past 3 or 4 years in collaboration with the Gallup organization. We think about design, design, design and simple, simple, simple. ) A friend that participates in my visualization series told me about a wonderful speaker who’s name is Dan Roam and his new book entitled The Back of the Napkin: Solving Problems and Selling Ideas with Pictures.

I hope you will see something in the above that leads to something useful whether it be in DSS or something else.

At April 15, 2008 at 1:15 PM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

I just noticed something that you might like to know. On the main post page at the bottom it indicates the number of comments. Just to the right of "xx Comments" is an icon that looks like an envelope with an arrow. If you click that it let's you send the blog to anyone. That makes it easy to let others know that the blog exists.

At April 15, 2008 at 8:30 PM , Blogger Rob Meredith said...


I've added your blog to the list of blogs worth reading over at the Monash Business Intelligence Blog. Good luck with the blog.



At April 16, 2008 at 6:58 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...

I don't know if "thinkering" is the right word, but I like it. Maybe its the word for right now. In my opinion, there's definitely a need to rekindle the spirit of experimentation with technology that existed 25 years ago -- to see what we can do with it and how we can improve decision making. I'm not arguing for abandoning theory-based research by any means. But if thinkering can encourage more risk-taking and more activities that combine ideas from different domains just to see what happens, I'm all for it.

At April 16, 2008 at 9:00 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

Last night I attended the Applied Information Management (AIM) Institutes annual banquet where Dan Burrus was the speaker. You will remember that he is the author of TechnoTrends. It was outstanding. I wish that we could all hear him speak. If that were possible it could be a huge step forward in what we are trying to do for DSS, understand it and maybe put a new wrapper around it. I'm hoping the presentation was captured. If so I'll post a link. I can't possibly summarize all his great stuff but there are a couple of things that I want to pass along. One thought was to not lose sight of the "old". What's important is to bring together the old with the new. He emphasized intellectual experimentation with alternative futures (key word being experimentation). He had an interesting question: why is the windshield in your car bigger than your rear view mirror. That is self explanatory.

At April 16, 2008 at 9:12 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is very stimulating to observe your metadisciplinary approach to unite the science of DSS with the art of design.
Since our last visit I perceived you direct interest in visual language for being incorporated to data communication.
"One image express more than one thousand words" used to say the ancient chinesse.
But it is important to have in mind the factual reality that "one sentence explains more than one thousands images".
I think that both languages are needed today, integrated into a new communication code.
What a task to be developed!
Thank you for the link to MoMA.
It is certainly the feast that designer and artists are used to experience in their daily creative activities.

At April 16, 2008 at 12:33 PM , Blogger Unknown said...

As long as we're playing who's is oldest... I got my start in DSS on Sept 7, 1982 when I went to work for Execucom in Austin TX (Jerry's old company). Before that I could barely spell DSS. Over the years, I've remained in software development moving progressively through DSS to EIS to BI to CPM and now to supply-demand chain where optimization plays a key role. The fact that DSS morphed or evolved (wrongly or rightly) from a software standpoint over the years is one of the reasons why the word "passe" has been applied.

Speaking of old, in a prior life (pre-Execucom), I was a Sociology professor with a focus on statistics and math modeling. Social theory, methods and models (especially those focused on social networks) seem to be booming on the Internet. Over the past year, I've been trying to wrestle with issues where my former lives collide -- Web 2.0 meets DSS. Towards this end my reading and research interests (outside my work arena) have focused on unstructured data, Collaborative BI, Collective BI, or what has also been called Enterprise 2.0.

Many of these issues tie into some pretty interesting visualizations. As a point of reference some of the visualization techniques and capabilities that I've found interesting and useful include:

-Chaomei Chen's Information Visualization (2nd Edition)

-Smashing Magazine's summary of "Data Visualization: Modern Approaches" site describing over 500 visualization projects

-Hans Rosling's discussion which illustrates new ways to present statistical data and changes in statistical data.

-Elastic Lists demo of a unique method of browsing multi-faceted data

-IBM's Many Eyes which is a project from IBM's Collaborative User Experience research group that encourages sharing and conversation around visualizations

-Chris Jordan's exhibit "Running the Numbers"

So, to make a long story short, glad to see Jerry initiate the dialog. While it's good not to forget the past (you can look pretty stupid trying to present something as new when in fact there is a large body of prior art), there issome really exciting work out there that can take DSS in new directions.

Dave King

At April 17, 2008 at 7:19 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Dave, I really enjoyed visiting the links you gave us in your comments.
When I was an elementary school students, I received a lesson from my teacher when I was asking one time and another about the same topic... my classmates began to call me stupid for not understanding and the teacher said: "if you ask until you get the point, you may appear to be stupid but you will learn... while if you don´t ask enough, you will never appear to be stupid, but you will never learn."
It is a great learning to me your sharings.

At April 22, 2008 at 9:46 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...

Following in the spirit of Pepin's post, I'd like to pose a question to the group:
If an architecture of DSS were proposed today, what would it look like? (Maybe "architecture" is an inappropriate word, and maybe the idea of an architecture of DSS is passe, so feel free to take the essence of the question and go where you want...)

At April 22, 2008 at 11:43 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

Thanks David for your comment. I was hoping someone would start something like this. We had some great stuff about the past but now lets start a conversation about the future. As said by others that does not mean to forget the past. I don't think that I am capable of suggesting a new architecture. Also anything I say will be my own personal views but that will be somewhat the case for everyone.

For one thing, DSS for me personally still means "rehearsing the future".

As some of you know I've been involved in collaboration stuff for 25 years (3 commercial products of which one still exists). But in my opinion all this area has done is generate thousands of papers and issued hundreds of Masters and PhD degrees. From what I see what is being done today is pretty much a continuation of what has not provided much value in the past. So, how can we liberate the word "collaboration" for innovative research and development in DSS?

How can social networking stuff be brought into DSS? Closely related how can web 2.0 stuff be brought into DSS? How can interoperabilty be brought into DSS (this is architecture)? Where are opportunites for helping to solve social/public problems in ways that are simple enough for policy makers to understand where the numbers and suggesteions came from.

One of the things I hope happens as a result of this blog are teams forming to seek funding for research projects. So what would you like to tackle?

At April 22, 2008 at 1:49 PM , Blogger David Paradice said...

I'd like to explore the social networking aspect, especially as it pertains to an environment such as Second Life. At first I think, "Wow! We can really rehearse the future in Second Life with avatars..." but we've just finished a little study that seems to indicate that while some people use their avatars as an extension of their own personality, other people use their avatar to be something they are not. It should have been obvious, but...
Anyway, so maybe we can rehaerse the future in an SL environment in a corporate sense where we know the person behind the avatar, but I'm hesitant to say we can do it in any public policy making sense because I can't be sure of the identity behind the avatar.
I think the issue of identity in virtual worlds is going to be very, very important to understand. I had not thought of its impact on DSS before now.


At April 25, 2008 at 11:54 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

Gartner is holding a webinar on web 2.0 that you might like to join. This might prompt some ideas you had not thought of before.

At April 26, 2008 at 9:40 AM , Blogger Unknown said...


If you aren't aware (but you probably are), Dan Power also has an interest in the relationship between Second Life and DSS and has variety of postings on his blog.


In terms of rehearsing public policy Edward Castronova's books Synthetic Worlds and Exodus to the Virtual World may provide some insights (since they both touch on this area). He also chaired a conference on "Synthetic Worlds and Public Policy" last year.


At April 26, 2008 at 3:23 PM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

Here is a special gift. Our friend Dr. Majid Tavana at LaSalle University is the Editor-in-Chief of the new International Journal of Applied Decision Sciences. The first issue of the journal is available for free including Jim Courtney's review of the Planners Lab. It is available at the Inderscience website. Thanks Majid.

At April 30, 2008 at 11:37 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

This blog is not about the Planners Lab. However one of Jeff Hoffers students did a really good class project that you might like to see. It is also in the "Stars" section at

At June 13, 2008 at 6:07 AM , Blogger David Paradice said...


Feel free to start a new thread with this if you'd like...

Where is everyone??? On summer vacation??!!

In doing some work for the IFIP 8.3 working group on DSS I noticed that most curricula don't use the term DSS anymore -- at least not in course titles. The course titles contain "Knowledge Management" and "Business Intelligence." Dig a little deeper and you find that the course description contains phrases like "support for decision making" or even (surprise!) "construction of DSS."

So, what's in a name? Do we have an identity crisis? Have we, perhaps, done ourselves more harm than good by burying the term DSS as we've improved our skills and our tool kits? If you think about the DSS field from a "branding" perspective, we've lost our identity and maybe our "raison d'etre" is unclear. (I'm going to France for IFIP 8.3 in a couple of weeks -- needed to work in some practice there ;-) ) Seriously, I think the DSS concept -- whatever you may call it -- is fundamental to so many IT issues (we build these systems to improve decision making, so it should impact which systems get built, how they are designed, how they are evaluated, etc. etc.) that it may be THE core concept of our field and probably should be a core concept in business generally. Yet, I have colleagues in the B-school that argue there is no need for an MIS class in the core business curriculum. I don't think they know what we do -- and it's probably our fault!

What do you think?


At June 13, 2008 at 8:16 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

Thanks David. DSS simply no longer has an identity or brand. I still prefer how Peter Keen referred to DSS in his last book - Rehearsing the Future. I never talk to anyone that uses the words Decision Support to mean that. Everytime they use DSS (or Decision Support) they are talking about analyzing past data to discover something from the past. They are not using the term in relation to making strategic decisions via analyzing what if scenarios about the future.

There is so much new "stuff" happening especially and usually referred to as being associated with web 2.0. A lot of this deals with receiving real time or current information to support decison making. That also fits, i.e., it is not analyzing what happened last quarter or looking at trends over the past 10 years. That is important but in the DSS context only if used to make strategic decisions about the future (in my view).

This is not a blog about the Planners Lab but what here is what we've found. It does not belong in finance, accounting, or IT. They are all preoccupied with provided data about what happened last quarter. We are now thinking that a new group needs to be formed in organizations - DSS groups. A group that has skills in modeling and visualization to support decsion makers with their thinking about the future. Something that today is rarely practiced.

How do we go about starting something to rise out of the ashes of DSS from 25 years ago? Maybe the new technology trends can be incorporated?

Thanks and best too you. I hope others will also respond.


At June 13, 2008 at 8:23 AM , Blogger Jerry Wagner said...

A couple of web sites to maybe look at.

One is
This might not be new to you but if it is I think you will find it interesting.

The other is It would be fun to work with these guys to create a movie that explains what is DSS.



At June 13, 2008 at 10:31 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jerry,
I feel happy to know the blog is not dececed and cremated.
I feel more than happy, I would say enthusiastic, about the trend that David and yourself are pointing about rehearsing the future.
I feel (a lot of feelings for a scientific approach) that in this line of action we can interact with other disciplines that also requiere decision making in a more complex context.
Well, I am probably excited to be near all of you again, learning a great deal of new knowledge.
I will reflect over the weekend and I will post my toughts next monday.
In the meanwhile, I would like to renew our ability to integrate past and future in an intense and full experience of the present.

At June 20, 2008 at 11:50 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Jerry,
I am back with some thoughts.
First... the idea of rehearsing.
Does it come from rehearsal?
Because rehearsal is a typical artistic activity, also used profusely in sports.
Peter Senge used to play with the concept related in bussines practices in his "The Fifth Discipline" book.
In this context rehearsal relates to visualize the possibilities of the future, as existing already at present time, in order to gain abilities to perform it better when it occurs.
This use of rehearsal is also deeply related in design methodology, as one the best forms to deal with the adequate use of possibilities to accomplish the dessired goal.
Marilyn Ferguson wrote a text, published in 2004, about "remembering the future".
This approach has a different connotation, because it express the existence of a certain future ready to be gained with intention and continuous effort.
In both approaches, the idea is to gain a certain prediction about the future, so we can act accordingly with our intentions.
We also can research about this idea in the depth of human knowledge.
Unfortunately, the search is emphasized today only in the appearences of surfaces, with their easy to measure responses.
However, new scientific trends, like quantum theory and chaos theory, bring us back to ancient paths of knowledge that will provide a good horizon for the future of business organizations and decision making.
This paths will emphasize the need of sustainability, empathy, ethics, responsibility and creativity as the trends for the productive skills and human desitions.
Jerry, I have been interested in your proposals since I met you, because desition making is at the core of all human constructive activities.
Can it be possible to expand the frontiers of this research in order to include the various dimensions of our human nature?

At July 7, 2008 at 5:34 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry,
I wish everybody is OK.
The ancient Maya proverb said that silence is the language of the gods.
I hope this is the case.
Do you have any idea about the silence?

At July 8, 2008 at 9:31 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Pepin, thanks so very much for you persistence. I don't know why the silence. I know the subject matter is of interest. I need to see if there is a way for everyone to get email notifications when something new is contributed. Maybe that will help. Please don't give up.


At July 8, 2008 at 10:45 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Jerry... What a breathing to hear from you. Of course that I will persist. I really think this matter is of crucial importance for the education of the young people. When Willis Harman was here in Guadalajara for the last International Empathy Gathering in 1995, he emphasized in his keynote speach the importance of changing the credit mentality to a balanced mind if we are to have a sustainable world in the future. He also made emphasis in creativity and discernement as the key elements in making all type of desitions... business, personal, institutional and governmental. I know that these matters are not always appreciated by business officers and general people. It is the reason why I know your contribution is so important. So, don´t give up. I am sure we finally will get this planners lab understanding to many young students... if older people is stuck with old ways of thinking and living their life. Just remember the IFPS. Now this process ok making multiple instantaneous assumptions has changed the way the work, act and plan our lives in general. Now it is coming the time for extending the assumptions from financial investments to daily activities.

At November 28, 2008 at 11:07 AM , Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Jerry: I was searching the Internet for Pepin Hernandez Laos and am thrilled to find not only him, but you also. My name is Paula (Dreyfuss) Bostick. Formerly married to Hank Dreyfuss.

I still own Pepin's wonderful painting "Ripeness Flower" and had lost contact with him years ago when we moved to California. We used to correspond once in a while.

It is great to see you are still an innovator in the software field. PB

At December 2, 2008 at 11:13 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry,
I am happy to read the comment of Paula Bostick. Certainly, I remember Paula -and Ripeness Flower- from the time of Execucom´s Art Exhibits.
It is stimulating to bring those times back again, much more because many of my present activities were forged then, interacting with people like you and Paula, certainly interested in the well being of human kind.
I am also happy to see how your blog serves as a link in space and time for creative people.
I wish we can continue with our explorations of what happened in the past that changed what we are now in the present, in order to be able to change our future for best.
I know that right now we are passing a difficult economic time, so our ideas and actions have more impact in whatever actions we decide to implement to transcend adversity.
Paula, I would like to have your new data to update my collector´s files.
My e-mail is
Jerry, I will be posting some ideas in the next days. I hope that they serve as mtoivation for the other bloguers to share their own, about planning not only the economic issues but the entire life.

At December 8, 2008 at 6:29 PM , Blogger ironpumper said...


my name is hank dreyfuss.
i was the third employee of
execucom systems back in
the day. i do miss the
excitement of a new product
in a new market. we just
were early in the pc power
curve to achieve global
status. when the decision
was made to to devote resources to the develope
of a pc based product, we
were under capitalized
and out of timing luck.

after all the acquisitions
and developement of comshare's, ifps/plus for
windows product, time had
run out. the product of
all our labors is still
without peer. (my best
to the smartest man i
have ever known, mike

i have found public domain
downloads of the comshare
code via the university
of nebraska. but the code
needs security codes
available in the appendix
of a textbook that is
out of print.

i am writing this in hopes
to renewing contact with
jerry, kirk, mike, dick,
and any others who see fit.
i am also am interested
in the activation codes
for the "free ware" code
that i hold so dear.

i tear comes to my eye as
i remember the good, bad,
and hard times we shared.

i remain a devoted execucom

all my best,

hank dreyfuss
aka hotline hank

At December 9, 2008 at 10:16 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry,
It is refreshing and motivational to read Hank´s note.
He points out the changing IFPS´s timing to PC platform for the achievement of momentum and success.
It is one of main problems for being a visionary creator, as IFPS was.
Now, Jerry, I think you point again in the visionary direction: the next evolutionary planning success will be achieved in the human domain.
As an outsider of comupter programming or developer, I find now many exciting tools (as Planners Lab) to accomplish this goal.
The point is how to translate our personal and group expreince to accomplish this.

At March 23, 2009 at 11:51 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jerry,
I know we are in very strange hectic times.
Times for which planning is a true odysee.
How are you?
Why is this silence prolongued for so long?
Is it possible the construction of a monologue?

At August 14, 2009 at 5:35 AM , Blogger Teemu Joel said...

Hi -

I'm Teemu Tynjala, a PhD candidate in DSS area, and I found this blog via the SIGDSS posting.

Anyway, my question to you guys is that is anyone you know doing research on how supply chain management DSS's (SCM DSS) are validated through company's financial reporting systems?

I have noticed that while a new product is in the planning stage and the demand volumes are estimates, the SCM DSS's function very nicely. However, when the product is in full-swing, what we do in the case company I have studied, is just balance the capacities of the factories that were chosen in the 'DSN design' phase.

Has anyone of you thought about the problematics of validating the DSS's through a product's lifecycle? From the case study I have found that the SCM DSS in the case company was detached from financial reporting system, and this made the SCM optimality validation very tedious and manual.

If any of you are interested in this topic, I would be glad to obtain feedback on the work you've done.

All the best and hope to hear from you - Teemu

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