IAF Methods

Advanced Dotmocracy

by for . Last edit was almost 3 years ago
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This process is used to collect and prioritize ideas and as a part of decision-making processes.
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Additional info


The goal of this process is to collect and discuss ideas among large groups.


You will be able to upload attachments once after you create the method.


  • pens/papers, Advanced Dotmocracy Sheet



Setting: The facilitator should have printed out a number of Advanced Dotmocracy Sheets ( see attached file) and pens and papers are required. 

Number of participants: The bigger the group, the more ideas can be generated

Time needed: The time that is needed depends on the amount of adv. dotmocracy sheets (hence: ideas) and time that is needed/given for the discussion and evaluation.

Pre-Work Required: The facilitator should get acquainted with the problem / the situation to be addressed and should prepare focus questions that could help the participants to find solutions.


The first step is to learn about the issue to be addressed. The participants and the facilitator must understand the issue at hand. This can be done by handing out relevant materials a few days ahead, or e.g. having an introductory discussion as part of the session.

Next, the facilitator should present the issue and ask questions to seed the idea generating process.

Then, answers are brainstormed and discussed in small groups. Ideas (as many as possible) can be drafted either individually or collectively.

Then the ideas should be written in the top left corner of the Dotmocracy sheets (see the attachment). Only one idea per sheet. Completed sheets are either posted on a wall or handed around amongst the participants.

The participants now need to read and consider each idea individually and then record their opinion by filling out one dot per sheet in the scale ranging from strong agreement to strong disagreement. The participants then sign each sheet where they indicated a dot and the may add a brief comment on the bottom of the sheet.
If possible, each participant should have filled out each sheet, evaluating every single idea. This will give the best representation of what people think of the ideas generated. 

When the dotting process is called to a close, the facilitator needs to collect the sheets and sort them either by topic or by level of agreement. Then, all the results should be published, celebrating the most popular ideas, and acknowledging where there was disagreement.

The last step is to announce a decision. The participants need to formulate a plan that selects, combines, prioritizes and/or finds a compromise within the most popularly agreed ideas with the least disagreement. This decision then can be published, with the participants being responsible for the original preamble provided and for what has been reported as the results of the Dotmocracy process.


Usual or Expected Outcomes: The outcome will be a graph-like visual representing the group's collective preferences.

Potential pitfalls: Potential pitfalls: lack of a shared understanding of the issue at hand, confusion over the process, lack of commitment to ideas chosen--unwilling to sign off for example. 

How success is evaluated: The process is successful when new ideas have been generated and a common solution has been found.


Source: Jason Diceman

Derived from: Dotmocracy, Voting with Dots

Comments (1) ( 4.0  avg / 2 ratings)

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  • This is more polling than voting -- it does help get to a decision but is not in itself a decision-making tool. The conversation after the dot work is where the decision is made.

    almost 3 years ago