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Nominal Group Technique – Getting the Ideas from the team and building a solution

The nominal group technique is used to generate ideas from team in Problem identification, solution generation and decision-making. It can be used for teams of any size but ideally limited between 5 to 9 members. This number is ideal to get diversity and easy to find consensus among the team. Nominal group technique is particularly useful when few of the team members are more vocal than others. Generally a facilitator leads the team and manages the interaction.

Steps involved in nominal group technique

Step -1 – Selection of the team.

The Facilitator need to identify a team whose members are either involved in the area where the problem is existing or an expert with the topic. While there is no rule which restricts others to participate in the problem solving session, careful consideration is to be given to include those who are most likely to contribute to the effectiveness of the problem solving. Its always best to have a cross functional team

Step -2 Planning and Preparation for the Meeting

The Facilitator will have a formal or informal sessions with the identified team and tries to introduce the problem on hand. This will help the team members to prepare on the topic and gain insights within their area to contribute to the topic on hand.

The Facilitator also may look into the possible time, location and mode of communication which is suitable to all stakeholders

Based on the above, the facilitator need to look into organizing a formal meeting to take the problem solving.

Step – 3 Brainstorming or idea generation session

The Facilitator introduces the team and presents the problem to the team after explaining the purpose and procedure during the meeting
All the team members are advised to create their ideas silently and individually on a sheet of paper. No consultation or discussion allowed

The Facilitator then requests and records all the ideas from all the members in a sequential way till all the ideas are exhausted. ( No discussion is allowed till all the ideas are exhausted). This will allow all the team members to present their ideas.
Building on the existing ideas is permitted during the presentation
The ideas are then evaluated and discussed among the team. Duplicate ideas are eliminated or merged with the team consensus. Seeking other information from the idea generator is allowed. Facilitator ensures that focus is not concentrated on single or very few ideas.
Voting for the best solution is then conducted to get the group consensus using the multi voting in the following way.
All the members rank the final list of ideas according to their choice silently.
The total votes are tallied and ideas with lowest votes are eliminated. This process can be repeated till best solution is generated.

Step – 4 Follow up session

The ideas generated in the session are validated and then presented to take up for generating solution.

A formal follow up session may or may not be used to validate solutions, risks, and implementation modes and challenges etc may be followed. A Prioritization Matrix may be used to easily identify the best solution

The results of the implementation are shared with the team and progress shall be informed to the entire team.

Recognition of Best Ideas, Best solutions and the implementation excellence will help develop the organizational culture and help

Advantages of using Nominal Group Technique

One of the main advantages of nominal group technique is that the team gets equal chance to take part and force the silent participants to be active. Second major advantage is that this method generates more ideas than an interactive session.

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