NGT over brainstorming

Has anyone had any experience using Nominal Group Technique in their firm/Co? I remember doing an exercise in school were half the class did NGT and the other just brainstormed. The half that did NGT had an overwhelmingly greater amount of diverse ideas.

I found it fascinating how brainstorming can bias participants in favor of or against others ideas, as well as shy vs outspoken people and how it really limits the productivity of the group.

I’d have to second that one. In my experience, big brainstorm sessions will normally favor the most dominant personalities and loudest voices. I’ve never been one of those types, so my ideas always seem to fall on deaf ears. Guess that’s why I like freelancing, just give me all pertinant info and I can run with it and come up with nice stuff.

-I think the best use for brainstorming is when you’re trying to come up with possible user scenarios and flesh out the products general guidelines and attributes. Everyone can have equal input because they have varied experiences. Then everybody goes on their own to do some concepts, then come back together for a second phase brainstorm, show+ tell, discussion / validation, combining ideas, etc.

-Brainstorming with the wrong combo of members can sometimes be equated to “mob mentality / rule” where you can start on a path directed by the dominants in the group and everyone unknowingly agrees with and does/think things they normally wouldn’t if they were in their single rational mind.
That can be a good thing if everyone is kinda on the same wavelength or have similar processes. You can come up with good things you wouldn’t on your own.
It can easily get ugly or counter-productive if the team doesn’t mesh well. It can have the bad effect of turning people into “pencils” that end up just trying to translate and draw what somebody else is saying, while none of their ideas get to be explored.

I’d assume the team member personalities / interaction has a HUGE impact on the effectiveness of brainstorming. Just my .02.

for the uninitiated:

Here is a NGT Users’ Guide

This is great–I’m definitely going to try this the next time I can. I’m experiencing some “us vs. them” group mentality between R&D and Marketing that is interfering with the creative process… This could help.

cg, let us know how it goes.

Nice link, looks like good stuff. I’d be up for it.

This is pretty interesting-- I’m actually hosting a brainstorm next week that is going to include a diverse spectrum of people (designers + researchers, clients, and users) and this might be a good solution for keeping the “intimidation level” low and promoting creativity for the non-designers. I’ll be bringing this up with my teammates this week-- thanks for the link!

Hi everyone
i am just a college student that as no experience
and i usually apperiate diverse ideas~
I might sound ignorant to u guy but what is NGT ?And in my school, we dont even have a brainstorming session either
well i know what brainstorming means but what i would lke to know is
So in design firms, if ppl work in a group project, the leader will give 30-40 mins for the other designers to brainstorm??
could someone please tell me?

I don’t know how most firms handle their brainstorming sessions, but The Art of Innovation gives great insight into how IDEO does it.

We just did our first NGT at an offsite pharmacist conference and it yielded great results! We’re doing more tomorrow with nurses. The ranking phase in particular was very helpful. This was the perfect technique to extract real-world needs from a group of “non-creatives” without the problems associated with focus groups. (For my design team, we’ll continue to run standard brainstorming sessions.)

Now we’re taking the results and combining them with marketings original project requirements and the user-needs generated from Persona development. We’re using the QFD Process (Quality Function Deployment) to do this–it’s like a giant blender you can throw all of these requirements into and hit puree. In the end you get a nicely ranked wish-list of features and user-needs.

The thing that really surprised me about the NGT was how close it was to what we’d already done via the persona process… I’d say we were already 80% there with the user-goals we’d defined for our hypothetical users and the design concepts we developed to solve those needs.

the rules of brainstorming

1 Defferring of judgement
2 Quantity breeds Quality
3 Freewheeling
4 Combine ideas