Group Decision Making Tool Kit

Individuals, organizations, and community groups are often faced with difficult problems to solve and important decisions to make. For a group to be successful, it must find methods to creatively solve problems and focus on reaching goals and achieving results.

The following group process techniques can be used to identify and solve problems. These techniques are "thinking strategies" to bring out the creative energies of individuals and generate ideas and approaches to solving problems and making consensus decisions.

Keep with you at all times!
  • index cards
  • label dots
  • felt marking pens
  • newsprint/post-it notes
  • masking tape


  1. Participants verbalize ideas
  2. Recorder writes down all ideas without discussion
  3. Group discusses and combines ideas
  4. Group votes to determine the top three to five ideas
  5. Group outlines implementation steps

Card Sort Technique

(Good for large number of issues)

  1. Statements/alternatives/ideas collected on cards prior to meeting
  2. Cards sorted as "yes," "no," and "maybe"
  3. Top five selected by individuals
  4. Top five ranked by small group
  5. Top five voted on as a whole group

Paired Comparisons

  1. One-on-one comparison of all ideas/alternatives
  2. Totaling of points for individual and group activity





Nominal Group Technique

  1. Silent generation of ideas in small groups — written
  2. Round robin recording of ideas — no discussion
  3. Group discussion and clarification
  4. Prioritization of top five ideas (individuals write on cards)
  5. Discussion
  6. Final Vote


Charrette Procedure

  1. Small groups choose a recorder
  2. Recorder write down all ideas
  3. Recorder rotates to a new group
  4. New group adds to the list and prioritizes
  5. Participants discuss a new topic
  6. Participants repeat rotation






  1. Concisely state the problem
  2. List benefits of solving the problem
  3. Post ideas generated for solving the problem on the wall
  4. Combine and clarify ideas
  5. Eliminate irrelevant ideas
  6. Group ideas using "header cards"
  7. In necessary, break header card topics down to bite-sized pieces
  8. Identify top three ideas

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