Decision making group exercise

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Stroudco Food Hub use public meetings to involve people in decisions relating to their project. One exercise they use starts by briefly presenting the issues around the decision and the main options developed by the management group. They ask for questions of clarification and suggestions for alternative options - this sometimes needs to be tightly-chaired to minimise the scope for discussions and side-tracking. Everyone then gathers around a board on which are drawn six large concentric circles. Each of the possible options (including any proposed in the conversation above) is written on a large post-it note and laid out around the third of the six circles. Everyone is invited to move any of the pieces of paper inwards or outwards by one circle. Pieces of paper are moved inwards if you think it is a good option and outwards if you think it is a bad option. Each person can move as many pieces of paper as they chose, but they can only move each piece in or out by one circle. When everyone has finished, they all have another go. Soon clear preferences appear. At the end, a bit of time is spent discussing how to move these preferred options forward and it is explained that the management group will finalise plans on behalf of the community.

Source: Community-Led Food Initiatives action pack