Activity 5: Nominal Group Technique for Brainstorming

Andrew Delbecq and Andrew Van de Ven developed the Nominal Group Technique (NGT) because groups encounter many problems when trying to generate ideas, encourage high member involvement, and maintain agendas and time schedules. This activity will demonstrate another way to approach brainstorming, by using the NGT.

With a small group of friends or classmates, choose a topic for this activity. Then work through the following process:

  1. Silent Generation of Ideas in Writing
  2. Recorded Round-Robin Listing of Ideas on Chart
  3. Discussion and Clarification of Each Idea on Chart
  4. Preliminary Vote on Priorities
  5. Discussion of Preliminary Vote
  6. Final Vote on Priorities

 

1. Silent Generation of Ideas in Writing

Present the question or problem in written and verbal form. Give team members five to ten minutes to generate ideas in writing.

2. Recorded Round-Robin Listing of Ideas on Chart

Ask each member to read one of his/her ideas. Record this idea on a flip chart, whiteboard, blackboard, etc.

3. Discussion and Clarification of Each Idea on Chart

With each item, ask the team members if they have any questions, statements of clarification, or statements of agreement or disagreement they would like to share.

4. Preliminary Vote on Priorities

Ask each team member to silently pick five to seven of the "best" ideas, and rank them in order of importance. Members can use paper or index cards to do so. Then visually show these rankings on the flip chart, whiteboard, blackboard, etc.

5. Discussion of Preliminary Vote

Invite open discussion to examine inconsistent voting patterns and to provide an opportunity to readdress items which seemed to receive too many or too few votes.

6. Final Vote on Priorities

Repeat Step 4 to ensure the most important items are chosen and ranked appropriately.  Display the results on the flip chart, whiteboard, blackboard, etc.