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When to use it | How to use it | Example | How it works | See also


When to use it

Use it to select an idea from a long list of ideas.

Use it with teams to select an idea to take forward for development.

Use it when you are in a hurry or want a quick and easy method.

Use it to build a sense of consensus in the team.



X          Long



  X        Psychological



        X  Group


How to use it

The general idea with voting is for people in the team to vote for ideas, with the idea or ideas with the most votes being taken forward for implementation or further development.

Note that voting assumes that people have equal authority and capability in applying votes.

Decide on voting scheme

There are a number of schemes you can use to vote for ideas.

  • A fixed number of votes per person, typically one to five, depending on the number of ideas.
  • Weighted votes, for example one vote of value three, one of value two and one of value one.
  • The ability to put all votes on one idea or a rule that one person can only put one vote on one idea.

A guidance consideration on deciding on the scheme is that you do not want to  end up with lots of ideas, all with one or two votes each. The ideal is with one idea having many more votes than others.

Here is another possible way of deciding votes, based on the number of ideas for which votes will be cast:


Number of ideas on list

Number of votes per person

Value of votes

Less than 20


1, 2, 3 and 4

20 to 35


1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6

Over 35


1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8


You also need to decide on the confidentiality requirements. If, for example, there is a manage and subordinates in the creative group, then the subordinates may take a lead from the manager. This can also happen with informal social leaders.

Decide on voting method

There are several methods that can be used for casting votes.

Voting can be done with sticky dots (good for ensuring that individuals cannot be identified). If you use this with weighted value scheme, then use different colors of dots for different values (for example red = 3 points, blue = 2 points, green = 1 point).

When ideas are written on flipcharts, then numbers, ticks, crosses or dots may be written by individuals against selected ideas.

If you are concerned by people being influenced by votes cast by other prior to them, then you can do a fully anonymous vote. One way of doing this is for them to write the description of the voted-for idea on a slip of paper and hand it to you.


Use the scheme as designed to vote for ideas.

Ideas are not always in a format where it is easy to apply votes. Before voting, you may need to reformat ideas, perhaps rewriting illegible ideas or simply discussing the ideas so everyone knows what they are.

Sweep up

After voting, count up the votes as cast and ensure agreement with the idea as selected. You can also do a 'common sense' check at this time, asking whether there are any good looking ideas which have been left out.

Repeat as necessary

If you end up with a lack of clarity of selection, perhaps with a dozen ideas out of 50 or so with a similar number of votes, then remove the non-voted-for ideas and perhaps the lowest half of voted-for ideas, then repeat the whole process. By steadily eliminating lower ideas, the preferred ideas will emerge.



Idea 1 -- XXX XX

Idea 2 - XXX


Idea 4 - X

Idea 5 - XX


How it works

Voting is naturally accepted in democracies as being a good and fair way of choosing. Because everyone is involved, then they all will usually agree with the final selection.

There is a trap where visible votes can influence the later voters to conform with the preferences of those who went before. As necessary, you can make the whole thing anonymous, although this comes at a cost of additional time and effort.

See also



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