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    About inspire

    Inspire© is a Web-based negotiation support system. It allows for the specification of preferences, assessment of offers, management of communication, graphical display of the negotiation's progress, post-agreement analysis, and other functions. The system is flexible and can be used as:

    1. a game,
    2. a demonstration decision support system (DSS),
    3. a negotiation simulator,
    4. a demonstration negotiation support system (NSS), and
    5. a research and training tool.

    Using Inspire requires following a sound approach to negotiation that has been proposed by experts, has been used by over 8,000 users, and is the cornerstone of negotiation analysis. There are three basic phases of a negotiation:

    1. preparation,
    2. conduct of negotiation, and
    3. post-settlement.

    Specific terms used in negotiation analysis and in Inspire are explained in our glossary. Answers to frequently asked questions are in the FAQ page.

    Five ways to use Inspire

    1. Game
      As a game, Inspire provides an opportunity to practice and sharpen your bargaining skills. For inexperienced negotiators, Inspire's clear steps provide a guide through the negotiation process. For more experienced practitioners, the system allows the player to graphically track the development of the negotiation through numerous rounds of offers and counter-offers. You can elaborate your arguments for your position through the message facility.

    2. DSS for the pre-negotiation phase
      One of the key features of Inspire is that it can act as an individual decision support system. Before beginning the actual negotiation, players must consider the importance of each issue as well as the acceptability of each option within an issue. This forces the negotiator to define her/his preferences over issues and to consider what trade-offs may be required. The system also presents estimates of the utility of the various combinations of options and overall utility of complete packages.

    3. Negotiation simulator
      Inspire can also act as a simulator to prepare you for a particular negotiation. The system is designed so that cases may be entered by users. When faced with an upcoming negotiation, the user can engage in mock negotiations to understand how the issues may emerge once the bargaining has begun in earnest. One could even use Inspire to parallel an ongoing negotiation. After each offer the opponent's offer could be entered to understand what progress, if any, is being made and what trade-offs are emerging.

    4. NSS for real-life negotiations
      Inspire can also act as an NSS and support and facilitate real-life negotiations. The system is designed so that two parties who can agree on the issues and the possible options for those issues can negotiate over the Web. This is an obvious advantage when the parties are widely separated and may have difficulty arranging meetings. Using Inspire is also helpful when post-settlement improvement is likely.

    5. Research and training tool
      Finally, Inspire has an international dimension. The current implementation of the system links players from around the world. This reflects the current reality of economic organizations. Through Inspire users can study and practice international negotiation involving people from diverse cultures to help understand how different values and expectations may influence the negotiation process.

    Using Inspire

    There are three basic phases that are usually followed in any negotiation: