Dot voting with forced ranking


Dot voting with forced ranking affords the opportunity to use a method that can quickly eliminate a lot of ideas, to then be followed by a method that will generate a clear ranking of what the group believes is important.

How it works?
Before the workshop, the facilitator needs to configure the number of dots available to each participant.

In the workshop, firstly the participants can go through all of the ideas and add or remove votes to each idea based on their preferences; they can add all of their votes to one idea, or distribute them to all of the ideas as they see fit.

Once the participants have finished applying their dots, the facilitator displays ranking, displaying the idea with the most number of votes at the top and the least at the bottom.

At this stage it is strongly encouraged to discard the ideas at the bottom, because after the dot voting is completed, participants will then get the chance to evaluate each remaining idea by dragging and dropping them into ranking order; the most important at the top, the least important at the bottom.

Once participants are complete, these are displayed on another list, where they are ranked by the average ranking by the participants from first to last.

For more detail on each underlying method, please see their individual pages: Dot voting, forced ranking.

Recommended time: 30-60 minutes
Number of participants: 3-20+

When to use it?
When you know there is going to be a high volume of ideas created but you want a really clear sense of priority for the ideas you bring forward from the workshop. Forced ranking can be very hard to manage beyond about 15-20 ideas, so if you know you're going to generate ideas in excess of this, dot voting is a great way to generate a general sense of priority and remove some ideas from consideration.

Things to think about:

  • Be ruthless when pruning between dot voting and the forced ranking. This is an opportunity to focus in on the consensus ideas in the group
  • As usual with Dot Voting, be wary of very similar ideas sneaking through; they can split the vote on dot voting and result in a popular idea not making it to the top-end of the list
  • For any forced ranking, make sure you are clear on what 'important' really means, so people are ranking things to the top on the same understanding.

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