Have you ever noticed that a group can get along fine when it comes to having ideas, that they can be incredibly productive when developing their ideas, but it all goes pear shaped when it is time to decide?

I spent an evening with a group of community members in rural Victoria this week.  The people in the room represented effective community groups who in their own groups have accomplished some pretty amazing things, but who were brought together in this instance to select a project that a wider group of communities would work on.

The potential for a greater outcome from a shared project would be valuable to the communities, but finding common ground to select that project would be difficult.  Group 1 put forward a project to create commercial opportunities for their communities, group 2 wanted to engage their young people, group 3 wanted to celebrate the history of the towns and group 4 wanted to attract tourists to the area.  All different projects, all with potential, but how do you decide?

Our process was simple. We worked out what good would look like, we separately evaluated the projects, we agreed to be unbiased and we had an outsider (me) who didn’t care which project was selected, as they all had merit.

  1. We started by identifying five criteria of what a great project would look like.
  2. We then evaluated each project and gave it a score out of 10 for each value criterion.  Everyone got a say on the score for each criteria for each project and by the end we had a value score for each project (with some discussion).
  3. Next we identified the effort associated with each project and gave the effort a score out of 10, we included things such as time, money, resources and more.
  4. At the end of the process we understood the most valuable projects and their associated effort, which made the project selection a no-brainer.

The projects that were selected were the most valuable with the least amount of effort.  The groups managed to agree on a the projects to proceed with by using some good thinking along with the facilitation of someone who had no benefit to gain from the process.

If you as a group are struggling to decide, why not agree a process, bring someone in to help you stick to that process, and then let good thinking prevail.

Avatar photo

Written by Lisa Smith

Twitter LinkedIn

Lisa is a professional thinker dedicated to helping people unlock their innate creativity and to empower them to think differently – for themselves. She is passionate about building innovative cultures and about harnessing and engaging talent to create thinking communities. Lisa holds an MBA, specialising in organisational change and innovation, which forms the nucleus of her work. She relishes opportunities to share the Minds at Work thinking strategies with government bodies, socially responsible corporate, educators, community groups and farmers, helping them to turn their big ideas into realities.