IAF Methods

Nominal Group Technique

by for . Last edit was about 2 years ago
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An often-used method of brainstorming and prioritizing ideas

This technique is effective when trying to decide on highly controversial issues or when a team is stuck or in disagreement.  In most instances you will have finished discussion of the issues and some type of multivoting, and have selected a group of issues.

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To obtain many ideas from several people on a problem or issue in a structured format. To encourage more passive persons to participate in group work.


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


  • Flipchart and markers
  • Cards



Create the focus question for brainstorming.


Basic Steps:

Individual brainstorming

Capture ideas from each person, clarifying but not criticizing

Each person ranks the ideas

Tabulate the individual rankings to determine the group ranking

Make a decision based on the group ranking

Alternative Methods:

A.  The group finds out an open-ended task at first, for example, "What are some ways we could encourage employees to carpool?"

1. Have each person spend several minutes in silence individually brainstorming all the possible ideas they can generate, and jot these ideas down.
2. Have the groups collect the ideas by sharing ideas one person at a time; record them on a flipchart. No criticism, but clarification to questions is encouraged as response.
3. Then each individual evaluates and ranks the ideas, awarding points for these ideas. The best idea owns 5 points, the next best 4 points, etc.

4. The facilitator tabulates points within the group.


1 Provide each member with index cards (enough for all the issues).  Example: 10 issues, 10 index cards.

2 Have each member write one issue (or correlating number)  on an index card (continue until all issues have been recorded).  Example: all members will have 10 index cards with an issue or number on each.

3 Now have each member review the cards and select the one issue that is most important to them. On the back of the index card write the number ten (or the highest number of the number of cards).

4 Now have each member review the remaining cards and select the one issue that is least important to them. On the back of the index card write the number one.

5 Continue this process until all (ten) index cards have numbers on the back.

6 Collect the index cards, group them by number and then categorize the issues by the number of votes received. Example: If issue 3 received the highest number of votes it is your highest priority.


Follow-Up Required:
Prepare a group report on the ideas receiving the highest score. Allow time for brief group presentations.


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