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Nominal Group Technique Heather Hatch Quality Management, Winter 2010.

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1 Nominal Group Technique Heather Hatch Quality Management, Winter 2010

2 Contents: Basics of Nominal Group Technique (NGT) Advantages and Disadvantages When to use NGT Steps of NGT Example of NGT in practice Try it yourself Summary

3 What is NGT? Method of brainstorming, making decisions, or organizing ideas in a group setting

4 What is NGT? Basic process: –Team members silently write down ideas –Ideas are shared and discussed –Team members vote

5 Why use NGT? Helps eliminate biases and peer-pressure Encourages participation from all team members All opinions are heard and weighted equally

6 What inhibits people? They dont want conflict. They dont want to be criticized.

7 Advantages Disadvantages More unique ideas More participation Members have greater sense of contribution Time-efficient Better decisions Productive Addresses only one problem at a time Mechanical Requires preparation Hard to combine ideas at the end for even better output

8 Best to use NGT when… Some members are very vocal. People work better in silence. Some members are reluctant to participate. There is concern that enough ideas will be generated. Some participants are new to the team. The issue is controversial and the discussion could become heated.

9 Stages Introduction Idea Sharing Idea Generation Discussion Voting/Ranking Preparation

10 A team is assembled to include participants from varying areas. Materials needed: –Pen and paper for each member –Flip chart –Markers –Tape –Sticky notes (optional)

11 Introduction A facilitator introduces themselves, explains the NGT process. The key problem or question is presented, explaining the purpose of the meeting. Telling team members about problem sooner allows them to come prepared.

12 Introduction Role of Facilitator: A facilitator is chosen from among group members. Their responsibilities include: –Helping group avoid conflict –Encouraging participation –Keeping time –Facilitating rounds –Recording ideas

13 Idea Generation Individuals silently and independently write down as many ideas as possible during pre-determined time period. (usually 10 minutes)

14 Idea Sharing There are various approaches to idea sharing, but the same principles apply: Everyone has equal chance to share their ideas All ideas shared are recorded on flip chart, except repeat ideas There is no discussion during this stage

15 Idea Sharing Anonymous approach: facilitator collects idea cards and records ideas on flipchart, eliminating duplicates Non-anonymous approach: ideas are shared one at a time in a circular direction. Members can pass at any point.

16 Idea Sharing This round ends when –All members have passed on sharing their ideas –Time limit is reached (usually 15-20 minutes)

17 Discussion Now ideas are disussed. Members can ask for details or clarification. The purpose is clarification not changing peoples opinions. Ideas are not eliminated. Ideas can be re-worded. c c

18 Discussion Facilitator tries to keep all members involved, continue the flow of discussion, and not get caught on any point for too long. This phase typically lasts 30- 40 minutes.

19 Discussion If there are many ideas (over 40), there can be an elimination stage before voting. Members can choose to eliminate their own ideas, or combine ideas together. Alternatively, idea elimination can require approval by all members.

20 Voting/Ranking Voting or ranking determines the NGTs output. Facilitator should number the ideas to make voting easier. Members either vote anonymously, with the facilitator totaling points, or they can publicly write their votes on the flipchart.

21 Voting/Ranking Voting method 1: Members can vote for ideas based on a chart like the following: Points for each idea are totaled after all members vote. Number of ideasNumber of votesValue of votes Less than 2041, 2, 3, 4 20-3561, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Over 3581, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

22 Voting/Ranking Voting method 2: Members rank all ideas, with the highest number as the most favored idea. Points are totaled after all members rank ideas. The idea with the most points wins.

23 Voting/Ranking If the top 5 ideas are all within several points of each other, a second round of votes will best determine the real winner. Repeat the voting stage using only the top 5 ideas.

24 Visibility Throughout the process, all charts should remain visible. Tape them to the walls around the room.

25 Example of NGT The faculty at X-University is concerned that the students are not getting internships and jobs. A team is created involving faculty, students, and recruiters. The goal is to identify the cause of this problem. After this NGT process, the faculty will create an action plan based on the outcome.

26 Example of NGT Statement of Problem: Why arent students getting internships and job offers?

27 Example of NGT Individual idea generation: Not enough recruiters come. Their resumes are weak. Students are unwilling to relocate. Students are unprepared. No internships prevents them from getting jobs later on. The career fair is not productive. Everyone wants to stay in- state. The job market is slow. Poor interview skills. Theyre not networking.

28 Example of NGT Idea Sharing:

29 Example of NGT Discussion: What do you mean by poor interview skills? Does that include lack of training? Is the career fair not productive because there are too many people or too few? Can we re-word that to say, There arent job opportunities through the career fair? Should we combine unwillin gness to relocate with students wanting to stay in- state?

30 Example of NGT Voting/ranking: Idea #Rank 37 46 75 24 13 52 61 1. Unwilling to re-locate 2. Poor interview skills 3. Weak resumes 4. Career fair doesnt offer very many job opportunities 5. Students arent networking. 6. Not enough recruiters. 7. Bad job market 1. Unwilling to re-locate 2. Poor interview skills 3. Weak resumes 4. Career fair doesnt offer very many job opportunities 5. Students arent networking. 6. Not enough recruiters. 7. Bad job market Idea #Rank 13+1+1=5 24+2+3=9 37+6+7=20 46+3+6=15 52+4+2=8 61+5+4=10 75+7+5=17 List of ideas Individual rankings Combined points

31 Practice Identify a problem within your own organization you want to solve using NGT, or use the following example: What are the consequences of children watching violent television shows and playing violent video games? Choose a facilitator and follow the NGT steps to arrive at your answer.

32 Stages Introduction Idea Sharing Idea Generation Discussion Voting/Ranking Preparation

33 Definition: In summary: NGT allows groups to reach optimal solutions by generating ideas privately, sharing ideas, discussing, and voting. It eliminates biases and group- think. Members can participate equally with less intimidation. Try using NGT for your organizations future questions and challenges.

34 For more information on NGT: Handbook of Techniques for Formative Evaluation by George and Cowan The Nominal Group Technique: A useful consensus methodology in physiotherapy research by Potter, Gordon and Hamer Focus Groups: Theory and Practise by Stewart and Shamdasani

35 Sources creation-tools/overview/nominal-group.html htm _98.htm

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