The Nominal Group Technique – Pill 009

This post is related with the possible solution that we can use on idea generation within groups in order to avoid what discussed in Evaluation Apprehension – Pill 007 and Production Blocking – Pill 006.

What can we do to overcome production blocking and evaluation apprehension? The nominal group technique consists of five stages:

The Nominal Group Technique Process

First, a facilitator welcomes everyone and details the task.

Second, instead of sharing ideas immediately, the first thing that people have to do is generate ideas on their own and in silence.

Third, after generating ideas on the their own and in silence people share their ideas. 

Fourth, after sharing ideas, they discuss them and make sure everyone understands them.

Finally, the ideas are all ranked to see which ones will be used. 

The nominal group technique has been widely researched. And it has been shown that this technique really helps things to be much more effective in idea generation. It leads to more ideas as well as better ideas.

The key element here is the silent generation of ideas: we can not compare our ideas. So, we can only think of our own ideas and write them down. Now, at the Rotterdam School of Management, they have investigated this silent idea generation, which they call suspending debate and showed that with a phase of silence of only five minutes, they did an idea generation and the number of ideas already improves enormously. 

Never again brainstorm without suspending the group debate for at least five minutes.

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