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Carol Brooks

Derbyshire County Council

L&D Officer

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Scoring a brain storming list


I have previously seen used a technique of giving everyone in a brainstorming session a number of points to use to score against the full list created.  Does anyone know what the technique is called or what the optimum number of points is for giving to participants to score with? 

4 Responses

  1. one answer

    Quest Worldwide refer to it as Consensus Reaching and they outline an 8 step process to achieve a result:

    1. Establish the need for a decision

    2. Generate the brainstormed list of alternives

    3. Check understanding~everyone needs to understand what all the options mean

    4. Agree decision making criteria, ie is it cost reduction, service improvement, employee engagement etc

    5. Give a ‘reasonable’ number of votes to each person, eg if there are 10 alternative options each person can have three votes.  Agree the maximum number of votes that a person can allocate to any one option (often the number of options x 0.2)

    6. Vote (preferably in secret so that we don’t all follow the MD’s lead)

    * if you only have a small number of options, say three, then get everyone to rank them in order of preference rather than voting this is called Nominal Group Technique

    7. Identify the outcome and check for practicality.

    8. potentially the most important…..ask for a consensus, ie that though they may not have voted for this course of action personally they accept that it is the group’s chosen solution and they will support it wholeheartedly.


    I hope this helps

    Rus Slater


  2. Thank you

    Thanks to both Rus and Jenny – they seem to be called different names but both get to the same result and your information is really helpful.  Carol

  3. Test against criteria


    Idea selection in brainstorming takes place in two stages. First all participants vote for the top five ideas with the following criteria: Originality, Influence and Importance. By Influence I mean, can they influence the implementation of the idea? – if not don’t vote for it. They do this voting by simply ticking the three ideas they liked best without ranking them. It’s important to inhibit any persuasion by individuals at this stage. So I usually ask each person to tick their own three favourites if the ideas are listed on a flipchart. Add up the ticks to identify the five highest scoring ideas. If there is a tie for a fifth and sixth idea everyone votes again for just those two until you have only five.

    The second stage is much more objective and requires each of the top three to five ideas selected by the previous process (which are now regarded as equal) to be assessed against at least three measurable criteria. If you e-mail me I’ll send you a template for doing this ([email protected]). To identify the criteria simply ask the team to brainstorm the best criteria that will enable all these top five ideas to be compared. The criteria could be cost, safety implications, practicality, ease of use etc. The criteria should also be ranked in importance. Next, agree on a scoring system eg High cost =1, Low cost = 5, then using a matrix table (eg the aforementioned template) assign scores in turn to each idea working with one criterion at a time. You may need to adjust the scores for a particular criterion as you go through all five ideas. It’s important that process involves a discussion with all the team and it does take quite a while to complete it. When all ideas have been assessed against all criteria add up the scores and you may be surprised to find that what most people thought was the most interesting and exciting ideas, has not scored the highest. This is a good sign because it shows that it hasn’t been a decision based on emotion. 

    If you have a tie with the scores of two or more ideas in this top five put a weighting (multiplying) factor on the most important criterion say x2 and see if that leads to a single winner. If not put another weighting factor on the secod most important criterion and so one until you are left with one highest scoring idea. If you are not happy with numerical values use a Likert scale instead.   




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Carol Brooks

L&D Officer

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