This process compares and prioritises ideas that have been generated in a process before, and when there are more than 2 but less than 10 ideas to compare. The method is flexible enough to permit more ideas to be used especially when used with a spreadsheet.
Paired comparison is a practical technique for comparing up to 10-15 items (ideas, options or criteria etc.), i.e. too many to rank easily just by inspection, but not so many that the table size becomes unmanageable. However, if a larger comparison is necessary then you can use the same principle with computer aided methods. A single value is used.
- White board or flip charts and markers
- comparision grid drawn on flipchart and/or as table/spreadsheet on DINA4
prepare a comparison grid as per attachment.During
- Complete the comparison template with one row and one column for each idea being compared. Have one extra column for the names/titles of ideas plus two extra rows, one to repeat the names/titles at the top and one for the total scores
- Put names/tiles of ideas in the top row and the left hand column
- Agree on the value that the ideas are being compared against. For example, the most acceptable to clients.
- Compare each of the ideas. In the matrix, where two items merge, mark the name of the one that answers the value best. You can use stars if there is a huge difference: 1 star for a little better, 3 stars for highly preferred. (In the example on the attached file, A column of the table above A is much more acceptable to clients than B would = A3. C is a little more acceptable to clients than A = C1. D is a little more acceptable to clients than A = D1. A is much more acceptable to clients than E = A3.)
- Once all of the ideas have been compared then total the ideas in the bottom row.
- At this point you might lead the group in a discussion about the top two or three to test that they are really the way the table suggests.
See attached file for the comparison grid template and example.
Follow-Up Required: process the decision
Usual or Expected Outcomes: the selection of a single idea to process further.
Potential pitfalls: no clarity about the value being used can lead to problems
How success is evaluated: consensus is reached by the group on a single idea.