The Possibility ‘Keypad’ Group Response System
Possibility is a simple and effective “interactive group communication” tool. It is used in face to face meetings where group communication and participation dynamics are challenging. Possibility allows everyone in a meeting to be “heard” and everyone to “know” what the group “thinks” on any topic or issue in a matter of seconds. Group work that used to take a half day can be accomplished in an hour. Thus, more people can meaningfully participate in group work events such as visioning, planning, assessment, decision making, prioritizing, consensus building and problem solving. Possibility is especially useful for groups that are faced with complex issues and helps foster greater participation, learning, collaboration, contribution, alignment and buy-in. When Possibility is applied in a learning search process an ordinary group event becomes extraordinary!
How does Possibility work?
Using a computer and projector, a question and a set of answers is presented to the group. (Example question and answers: “How important is strategy X to accomplishing our goals?” 1=Not Important 2=Little Importance 3=Somewhat Important 4=Important 5=Very Important.) Each person in the group responds (responses are anonymous) by pushing the numbered button on their keypad that best represents their opinion or preference. The computer gathers, tabulates and projects a distribution graph of the group’s responses for all to see. A demographic question can identify sub-groups within the larger group to show what ‘employers’ thought compared to ‘educators’ for example. Multiple items can be rated and then graphed in rank order. Two criteria can be used to display an X/Y scatter diagram for quadrant analysis (example: how important vs how urgent). During the meeting these graphs inform the group quickly, allow deeper interactions and help optimize the group’s output. The graphs can be printed immediately or the information can be formatted, grouped and displayed later using popular programs like Microsoft Word, Excel and Access.
Where can Possibility be used?
- Public Forums and Citizen Involvement Events
- Association Meetings or Conferences
- Group Decision and Problem Solving Meetings
- Community Planning Meetings
- Transportation or Land Use Planning Events
- Conferences, Seminars, Workshops and Training
- Strategic Planning Events
- Brain-storming, and Creative Sessions
- Search Conferences and Visioning Events
- Charrettes or Collaborative Design Events
- Focus Groups and Group Dialogue Sessions
- Group Assessment and Team Building Events
- Product Design, Evaluation and JAD Processes
- Mobilization and Action Research Processes
What are the benefits of using Possibility?
- Going beyond the limits of normal group communication dynamics
- Facilitating faster and better informed decisions
- Getting more work done in less time
- Involving everyone for maximum participation
- Not bogging down or getting off track
- Generating high levels of buy-in from participants
- Tapping the group’s “mind” and knowledge
- Fostering consensus and collaboration
- Allowing anonymous expression of opinions
- Providing an immediate feedback loop for all
- Doing processes that can’t otherwise be done
- Documenting the group’s discussion
- Dramatically reducing the time in group ‘grounding’ conversations that lead to higher level group dialogue
- Creating a shared experience that the event was productive and “my input made a difference”