(1) A technique, similar to brainstorming, to generate ideas on a particular subject. Team members are asked to silently write down as many ideas as possible. Each member is then asked to share one idea, which is recorded. After all the ideas are recorded, they are discussed and prioritized by the group.
(2) To use a group's expertise to select from among options. With a team and when there are no or limited data to help select an option or a solution to a problem. This technique is only as good as the skills and knowledge of the team that it using it.
(3) A weighted ranking technique used by teams or small groups to narrow down a list of items.
The nominal group technique (NGT) is a decision making method for use among groups of many sizes, who want to make their decision quickly, as by a vote, but want everyone's opinions taken into account (as opposed to traditional voting, where only the largest group is considered) . The method of tallying is the difference. First, every member of the group gives their view of the solution, with a short explanation. Then, duplicate solutions are eliminated from the list of all solutions, and the members proceed to rank the solutions, 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and so on.
Some Facilitators will encourage the sharing and discussion of reasons for the choices made by each group member, thereby identifying common ground, and a plurality of ideas and approaches. This diversity often allows the creation of a hybrid idea (combining parts of two or more ideas), often found to be even better than those ideas being initially considered.
In the basic method, the numbers each solution receives are totaled, and the solution with the lowest (i.e. most favored) total ranking is selected as the final decision. There are variations on how this technique is used. For example, it can identify strengths versus areas in need of development, rather than be used as a decision-making voting alternative. Also, options do not always have to be ranked, but may be evaluated more subjectively.
NGT have been shown to enhance one or more dimensions of effectiveness of decision-making groups. Requiring individuals to write down their ideas silently and independently prior to a group discussion increased the number of solutions generated by groups. Round-robin polling also resulted in a larger number of inputs and fostered more equal participation. The increased number of heterogeneous inputs led to high quality decisions.
As compared to interacting groups the NGT groups provide more unique ideas, more balanced participation between group members, increased feelings of accomplishment, and greater satisfaction with idea quality and group efficiency. The NGT is generally used for the following siturations:
* When some group members are much more vocal than others.
* When some group members think better in silence.
* When there is concern about some members not participating.
* When the group does not easily generate quantities of ideas.
* When all or some group members are new to the team.
* When the issue is controversial or there is heated conflict.