Technology 2017-12-12T00:42:36+00:00


The Ethelo user experience features an intuitive interface where participants engage – with the issue at hand and each other. Ethelo’s powerful decision analysis technology has the unique ability to achieve optimal consensus and complex scenario analysis (including decision constraints) within an internationally recognized comprehensive engagement framework.

Power of Optimized Consensus

An unprecedented power of Ethelo is its ability to measure and compare the distribution of support across participants for every possible result – thus, revealing the level of group consensus.

Outcomes that lead to polarized distributions, where one group supports an outcome while another group opposes it, are assessed as being weaker than outcomes in which the level of support is relatively uniform.

For example, the two decisions below have the same average level of support. However, the Ethelo algorithm would identify the one on the right as being a stronger decision because the support distribution is less polarized. This is important because people are more likely to support outcomes they feel are fair, even when they do not personally like the outcomes; and, therein, lies the power of optimized consensus!


Note: Ethelo allows the importance of fairness to be adjusted depending on the use case.

Power of Scenario Analysis

Ethelo has a unique ability to analyze all the potential solutions to a complex problem and compare them to each other. It does this by breaking an issue into component pieces, called options, and adding rules by which those options can be combined, called constraints.

In the Ethelo approach, a scenario is a combination of options that obey the constraints. Constraints can be expressed in plain english and can be logical (A and B can’t both happen) or practical (the total cost of the options can’t exceed $5000).

There can be a very large number of scenarios for a given decision; the size of the “potential scenario” space is 2^n, where n is the number of options. So, a decision with 20 options would have 2^20 scenarios – more than 1,000,000. However, Ethelo will often eliminate most scenarios because they don’t obey the constraints.

Ethelo is able to generate millions of scenarios just starting from options and constraints.
When people engage in the Ethelo platform, they evaluate options by voting on them using criteria (such as “degree of support”). By voting on just a small number of options, participants give Ethelo enough information to extrapolate their level of support for a vast number of scenarios. Ethelo then evaluates each potential scenario.

Note: Ethelo has the ability to allocate different levels of influence to different people to arrive at the ideal scenario.

Comprehensive engagement framework

Ethelo’s highly flexible platform is able to address a broad range of engagement challenges. In fact, it is the only technology tool capable of all 6 levels of engagement identifed by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).


If you need to share rich information and create a digital education experience, Ethelo provides a structured learning environment that supports text, images, links, popups and videos. Examples of engagement include: websites, open houses, factsheets.


If you need to conduct demographic surveys and collective qualitative and quantitative data for analysis, Ethelo can be confgured to engage tens of thousands of people quickly and easily. Examples of engagement include: public comments, public meetings, focus groups.


If you need to solicit and evaluate proposals and suggestions, Ethelo provides tools for gathering, prioritizing and shortlisting ideas along with extensive commenting functionality. Examples of engagement include: deliberative polling, workshops.


If you need to engage a large group in a collaborative, consensus-building exercise, Ethelo will evaluate millions of scenarios to find decisions that bring people together. 


If you need to conduct a formal decision-making process such as an election or an adjudication, Ethelo provides auditable and secure voting that gives reliable results. Examples of engagement include: ballots

Ethelo is able to do the analysis and show the results to participants in real-time. This helps build trust as participants go through the decision process. Ultimately, the fnal data analysis is visible only to the administrator. This transparency level creates the participant buyin that is critical to strong outcomes.

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