A scenic lens-ball style photo, with a backdrop of a river through a forest on a sunny day inverted in the glass in the foreground.

Did you ever wish that you could do a ‘dummy run’ of your electrifying new idea or hot take to see how it’d pan out in the real world?

What about if you could be the Prime Minister for a day, or try your hand at holding the purse strings for your local council?

Understanding the impact of changes ahead of time can be policy-changing. When governments run simulations or perform trade-off analysis using digital twins, they can anticipate the impact of choices made, and adjust accordingly.

Digital Twins Meaning

Digital twins are a virtual representation of physical objects or systems. They symbolise worlds, cities, and environments as they are or could be.

Using these accurate representations, or ‘digital twins’ as a virtual sandbox, we can experiment, prove assumptions, or model outcomes and potential eventualities of the real world using predictive analysis.

Harnessing digital twins helps predict an object’s or system’s future behaviour and allows us to simulate trade-offs, improving decision-making and performance.

How do you create digital twins?

We can create a digital twin by using multiple data sources to map out relationships between various attributes that make up a specific physical object or system.

These relationships help us understand how one property affects another.

For example, knowing that high temperatures will cause higher humidity levels allows machine learning to predict how changing one variable will affect another.

We then use the digital model to understand the relationships between variables and how they affect each other.

Trade-off simulations

Trade-off simulations are a method of decision-making that allows you to make decisions by considering the trade-offs between different options.

They can be used as part of digital twin technology and are useful for communities or organisations who want to engage in participatory budgeting, where participants come together and vote on their priorities for spending money.

Trade-off analysis allow users to compare the costs and benefits of different projects, programs and policies over time.

For example, looking to the future and creating a trade-off analysis to see the impact of certain policies or one placemaking initiative over another on the community.  

This data science helps people understand where they stand on specific issues. If there’s been much more support for one option over another over time, then it’s worth exploring further!

Community engagement

woman at computer participating in community engagement

Digital twins can be part of the statutory consultation process. Using a virtual environment, government organisations can show the real-world impact of proposed changes.

Understanding what people care about and how they feel about trade-offs is essential to ensuring that government uses a human-centred approach to policy.

Traditional paper-based methods of trade-off analysis are usually something like a simple pros and cons list. Easy, digestible… boring.

Gamify the consultation process with digital twin simulations and trade-off analysis to boost citizen engagement and response rates.

Observing reactions while playing with prototypes or discussing the results in a forum or other social media platform informs overall decision-making.

Certain choices that seem obvious to you might actually have overwhelming disapproval from the masses – and the reverse is equally true.

By providing this new perspective through the digital twin concept, you are forcing citizens and stakeholders to reassess viewpoints and priorities.

Using Simulator for Trade-off Analysis

Delib's simulator tool shown on different devices

Delib’s deliberative prioritisation tool Simulator, has been around for a while, but the creative ways our customers use it still surprise and impress us.

By interacting with sliders, More than 100 organisations have fine-tuned Simulator to meet their needs: from sports preferences to 10 year spending plans, from assessing climate net-zero value-statements to allocating university student levies.

Simulator has been designed to boost participation at every level, allowing anyone to make trade-offs and give the valuable and meaningful insights you need. Because it’s easy to understand and sets people a stimulating challenge, citizens actively want to take part increasing overall engagement. 

Check out the newsroom to see how local, state and federal organisations have used Simulator to create powerful digital twins.