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Nominal group technique

Ueful when there are many possible ideas

· team,to-sort

The Nominal group technique is a structured group process used to generate and evaluate ideas.

It is most useful when there are many possible ideas, and the technique can be used with small or large numbers of team members.

The Process

  • Define a realistic outcome for the exercise. This can be done by confirming the key questions to be addressed.
  • Individually, each team member generates a list of their ideas, issues or responses to the key questions.
  • Then, in groups of two or three, an amalgamated list of ideas is generated by recording one idea at a time from each team member in turn. Team members clarify their ideas as necessary. Similar ideas may be combined, and repetition is removed.
  • Once the list has been generated, the ideas are prioritised. There are a number of ways that this can be done; we recommend that each member of the smaller group gives each idea a score out of five say, and then these scores are totalled to give a final mark. 
  • Each of the smaller groups then report their priority ideas to the reassembled team. These are discussed and any duplication eliminated in order to produce a final list of, for example, the top three ideas.
  • The full team then scores the ideas or votes to select the idea (or ideas) that will be carried forward.

Note: Ideas that are 'discarded' should be examined to determine if there is anything that could be useful for the project. For example, there may be an aspect that can be incorporated into the chosen solution.