Nominal group technique (NGT) is an alternative to traditional brainstorming. The main difference is that it prevents one person to be able to dominate the session, and encourages contributions from everyone by anonymous generation of ideas in writing.
A few examples of when it might be beneficial to use NGT over traditional brainstorming, is when there are new members in the team, where some members are not participating, or when some members are much more dominant than others.

How to Conduct Nominal Group Technique

Below is how to conduct the NGT step by step.

  • Post-it and pen is provided to each person attending, and the subject or issue of the session is made clear so everyone understands it.
  • Each person now silently writes down as many ideas as possible within a given time frame, and without sharing it with the others.
  • Following all ideas are collected and read out in a round-robin fashion. The facilitator record all the ideas, and similar to traditional brainstorming, it is not allowed to criticise any of them.
  • After all ideas have been shared, they are voted on anonymously, for example individually rating the five best ideas from 1-5.
  • After all votes are collected, the ideas getting the most point can be identified.

NGT Advantages and Disadvantages

As with everything, there are both advantages and disadvantages using this technique.

  • Advantages: Generating ideas and voting is anonymously, There is opportunity for equal participation across members, and less distractions from noise and discussions in the background
  • Disadvantages: Discussions not possible, and ideas generated based on other members suggestions or comments will not happen.

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Nominal Group Technique