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Brainstorming Techniques

Nominal Group Technique.

Nominal Group Technique (NGT) is an approach to brainstorming techniques, which has a focus on ensuring every member of the brainstorm team actively inputs into the discussions and seeks to avoid a situation, where dominant team members can influence the direction of discussion. NGT is particularly suited to situations, where there is a large team membership, where difficult decisions need to be made, where it is important that every member of the team gets to provide their opinion and input.

Brainstorming Techniques.

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Brainstorming techniques implemented via the Nominal Group Technique approach encourages differing opinions to be vocalized, encourages active “across the board” contributions, while creating a sense among team members that all individuals have been provided with an opportunity to “input” and have their opinions fairly considered.

Where there are more than 12 to 15 members in the team, then NGT can adequately manage such numbers in a single team, where the numbers who need to input are greater than the 12-15 level, then a number of NGT teams should be formed, each providing their respective ideas and proposals to address the topic under discussion.


Clearly defined objective.
The starting point in any NGT brainstorm discussion is a clear understanding of the team objective, e.g. problem to be solved, opportunity for improvement, etc.. The team leader will outline the reason for the team being formed, will propose or seek suggestions from the team as how best to clearly define the objective. The objective or goal will be documented, and the team leader will ensure that all members, understand and accept the objective.


Initial ideas generation.
If the team has been formed for example to address a problem, then the team leader will ask each team member, to quietly consider the objective and to write down on paper their respective ideas on the cause(s) of the problem, or how best to address the problem …, etc.. This phase of the brainstorm process, usually takes approximately 5 minutes, but will depend on feedback from the team members.


Collecting and displaying the ideas.
The team leader now goes round the team and asks each person to share their ideas, one idea at a time. The leader (or nominated team scribe) then writes the ideas up on a board for all to clearly see. If an idea have already been suggested, then the team member does not need to suggest again and just proceeds to suggest their next idea. This process continues until all ideas have been recorded onto the team display board. Ideas cannot be criticized or discounted at this stage, but team members can add ideas which come to mind during this process, or amend their ideas from the previous stage.


Review of ideas.
The team now consider each proposed idea, where ideas are very similar they may be combined, during the discussion the suggestions may be expanded, or further detail added. Ideas may not be discarded at this stage, nor can ideas be discounted as being less relevant or of lower value than other suggested ideas. The outcome of this phase will be a clear list of suggested ideas, which are understood by the team members, are relatively unique to each other, i.e. are not versions of each other and reflect the inputs of all the team members.


Prioritization of suggestions.
The team leader now asks the team members to write down their personal views with respect to the most important ideas. This exercise is quietly performed by each member who then gives their respective prioritization list to the team leader. Usually the team are asked to list their top 5 ideas in order of their perceived importance. It is good practice to provide advice on the basis for idea prioritization, for example is the focus of the team or wider organization when setting up the team on continuous improvement, profit optimization, employee welfare, environmental concern, speed of implementation, regulatory compliance, etc..  The range of ideas suggested, will have differing possible impacts, so the team members should consider the broader focus of the organization when determining their priorities.

The ideas are now prioritized based on counting the number of “votes” from each member, which will now result in a prioritized list of ideas directly related to meeting the original team objective(s).


Brainstorming techniques. The follow-on plan.
Depending on the scope of the team, the team may now move onto developing actions plans to address and implement the prioritized list of ideas, or this may be a responsibility of a newer follow-on team effort.

TQM Tools and Techniques Full Details

Quality Improvement Techniques

Information & Training. | Total Quality Management Tools and Techniques …

        • Continuous improvement utilizing Analytical Techniques.
        • Brainstorming
        • 5 why’s analysis
        • Process Flow Diagrams/Flowcharts/Process Mapping
        • Check sheets /Check Lists
        • Run charts
        • Histograms
        • Scatter Diagrams/Scatter Plot
        • Cause and Effect/Fishbone/Ishikawa Diagrams
        • Identifying sources & causes of variation
        • Control/Shewart Charts/DPU Charts
        • Cpk and Ppk Analysis
        • Pareto Analysis
        • Bottleneck Analysis
        • Benchmarking
        • FMEA
        • FTA
        • HAZOP
        • SIPOC
        • Etc. Etc.
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