Organizational Developmental Consultant

Ten Techniques to Make Decisions: #2 Multivoting

September 1, 2014

“After we brainstorm, it almost always takes too long to narrow down our options to a few of the most realistic ideas for discussion. What can we do to save time in this situation?”

#2  Multivoting

What is Multivoting?

Multivoting is a technique for narrowing a wide range of ideas or choices down to the few most appropriate, feasible, and important. This technique saves time while still considering every idea that has been generated.

While Multivoting is not a technique for making a single, specific decision, it is a fabulous technique for prioritizing large amounts of information without losing energy or wasting time.

When Do I Use Multivoting?

  • When your group has to narrow down a range of alternatives for closer analysis
  • When a selection or prioritization step is necessary after brainstorming

How Do I Use Multivoting?

1. Brainstorm your subject or issue, recording all ideas.

2. Briefly review each brainstormed idea to make sure that everyone understands them. Combine any duplicate ideas. Clarify the idea as required with a brief explanation.

NOTE: Do not allow any analysis or criticism of the ideas at this point.

3. When all the ideas are clear, ask your participants to come forward and place checks by all ideas on the brainstorming chart that they feel are worthy of further discussion. Create a designated area on your chart for this exercise.

NOTE: When you start charting your list of brainstormed ideas, leave plenty of room on the chart both to the left and right of the scribed idea, and plenty of room between ideas to make room for voting.

NOTE: At this point there is no cap on the number of ideas each person can vote for.

4. Tabulate the votes. Any issue that receives at least half of all possible votes remains in contention for the next round of voting. For example, if a total of twenty people are voting, any one idea must receive at least ten votes to remain in contention. Circle or otherwise distinguish each of the ideas that pass this test, and count the total number of ideas still remaining on the list.

NOTE: If your charts are too messy to be comprehensible, have the group take a break while you re-write the charts with the remaining ideas.

NOTE: Although the other ideas are shelved at this time, let the group know that you will keep the complete list available for review and consideration again at a later date. This avoids any potential re-work if the group needs to analyze more ideas in the future.

5. Ask your participants to vote again, but this time for only the top half of the remaining ideas. In other words, if there are twenty-four remaining ideas, each person gets twelve votes.

NOTE: Vote using the same method as before, with participants coming forward and placing a check on their favorite ideas.

6. After the second round of voting is completed, continue voting as outlined in Steps 4 and 5 until the group arrives at what they consider to be an appropriate number of ideas for further analysis.

NOTE: An appropriate amount is typically between three to five remaining ideas. It is possible that the group could arrive at this number after Step 3 or after one round of Steps 4 and 5.

NOTE: Multivoting is not a technique for choosing one option. To do so would create a false sense of consensus. Don’t narrow your choices down below three before beginning more in-depth analysis.

7. Discuss and analyze the remaining ideas at length.

OPTION: Analyze each idea together as a group, either in small or large group discussions.

OPTION: Create task force groups to research each idea. Then establish a time and date for the whole group to discuss the ideas again.

8. Proceed with appropriate next steps.

In Summary:

Multivoting is a technique for narrowing down many brainstormed ideas to a smaller number for further analysis and discussion.

1. Brainstorm your issue, recording all ideas.

2. Briefly review each brainstormed idea.

3. Ask your participants to vote for all the issues they believe are worthy of further discussion.

4. After the vote, identify each of the ideas that receive at least half of the total number of possible votes.

5. Have your participants vote again, but this time for only half of the ideas remaining.

6. Continue voting as in Steps 4 and 5 until the group arrives at an appropriate number of ideas for further discussion.

7. Discuss and analyze the remaining ideas at length.

8. Proceed with appropriate next steps.

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You will find my book Mission Critical Meetings: 81 Practical Facilitation Techniques on Amazon

http://www.amazon.com/Mission-Critical-Meetings-Facilitation-Techniques/dp/1627870377/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1408719109&sr=1-2&keywords=Mission+Critical+Meetings

 

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