Structured Group Decision Making

There are many situations where we need to decide something in a group. Be it everyday small decisions like “What to cook?” or “Which movie should we watch?” with fewer people. Or be it the many organizational situations like in companies and associations, where decisions are made both asynchronously (e.g. a survey via email) or synchronously during a meetup. Even decisions made in political contexts, both within individual party organizations and also decisions made within a parliament or public referendums.

All of these decisions are done in different ways, some of them more structured than others. But none of these decision making processes are really structured in a way that would make those decisions really objective ones taking into consideration all opinions and ideas and evaluating each one in a structured way, depending less on the power relationships of the people involved and also less on the rhetorical skills.

The basic idea to solve this is to split decisions up into seperate steps:

  1. Collecting the problems (e.g. “I’m hungry”, “I’m vegetarian”, “We’re not saving any money”)
  2. Rating the problems (e.g. “Yes, I agree this is a huge problem”, “I don’t care”)
  3. Collecting solutions (e.g. “Ordering Pizza”, “Cooking Spaghetti”)
  4. Rating the relation of solutions to problems (e.g. ordering Pizza solves my hunger, but doesn’t help saving money)

With the data gathered for these four steps, the system could automatically calculate for any given size of group, what the most efficient decision is and even show an efficiency value for each solution.

There’s also many additional things which should be added here, for example it should be possible to give a special “veto” type of rating, so that a vegetarian doesn’t have to eat meat just because most of the others do. Also, there should be a mode for smaller and faster decisions and also one for recurring decisions, so that smaller every-day decision making can profit without making things too complicated.

What are your thoughts? Feel free to give feedback!