App Helps Meeting Planners Prioritize by Mimicking Creator’s Synesthesia

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Synesthesia-infused art by British painter, David Hockney
Synesthesia-infused art by British painter, David Hockney

Imagine living in a world where the words spoken by your coworkers, friends and family manifest as tiny lines that crisscross to match the timbre of their voices. You hear and comprehend the language, but tiny multifaceted shapes simultaneously appear as the plots of their stories unravel to create an identifying shape of the storyteller. In short, your mind has connected all of the nuances and major details of the story and the storyteller into one geometric fingerprint of sorts. You’re able to see possibilities where others see obstacles, and not only that—you’re able to organize them in an instant. Jonathan Jackson’s everyday life brims full of this geometric-based thinking. And thanks to ChoiceMap, his latest app, meeting planners can now see the possibilities as well.

He’s in good company: Composer Duke Ellington, physicist Richard Feynman and inventor Nikola Tesla all had synesthesia, or “non-neuro-typical” brains as Jackson says, which allows some people to smell sounds, taste words and see numbers as colors. The actual definition: stimulation of one sensory pathway results in involuntary experience of another sensory pathway. You see a hunky guy and taste chocolate; wouldn’t that be wonderful?

“My synesthesia allows me to organize my thoughts clearly, visually,” Jonathan says. If it sounds pretty Matrix-like that’s because it is. A fly landing on a table could mean a roaring headache for Tesla. Lucky for us, Jonathan’s spatial synesthesia has transformed brilliantly into an algorithm that is capable of helping others capture this same sense of hyper-awareness—especially when it comes to decision-making. “ChoiceMap makes it possible for other people to organize their thoughts visually—even if they don’t have synesthesia,” he says.


How It Works

Let’s face it, prioritizing is really about making a conscious decision to be honest about our needs—to allow our intuition or feelings into the decision-making process. Although not created specifically for meeting planners, ChoiceMap can help map out these gut feelings—to turn intuition into something tangible that can be tweaked with our fingertips. Sorting through the tangled, competing priorities of event planning is no easy feat. Jonathan’s app can help meeting planners avoid such decision fatigue in a logical and stress-free manner. As he explains:

“Let’s imagine you’re picking a venue. You enter each option you’re considering: McCormick Place, Las Vegas Convention Center and the Washington State Convention Center. You toss in priorities like cost, convention center size, ease of travel, restaurants and weather, set the priority of each option to top, high, medium or low and then rate each convention center for cost, size, ease of travel, restaurants and weather. ChoiceMap ranks your options by how well they meet your needs. We assign each option a percentage of perfect, so you can see exactly how well it performed and it’s easy to email the results to your team and revise as new information comes in.”

For those who may think the process seems as tangled as the planning itself, Jonathan reassures, “It takes longer to describe the process than it actually takes to make the decision. Our users typically make decisions this size in about 90 seconds.” My neuro-typical brain maneuvered through the app in about 30 seconds. After meeting Jonathan, it’s nice to know that although most of us may be easily categorized as neuro-typical, there’s a lot of wiggle room when it comes to being average.


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