Nominal Group Technique (NGT)


The Nominal Group Technique (NGT) is a structured and highly organized group decision-making method that encourages the active participation of individuals to generate, clarify, and prioritize ideas or solutions to a specific problem or challenge. Developed in the early 1960s, NGT provides a systematic approach for harnessing the collective intelligence of a group while ensuring that every participant’s input is considered and valued. It is particularly useful in situations where consensus building and idea generation are crucial.

Key Concepts

  1. Structured Process: NGT follows a well-defined and structured process, which includes rounds of idea generation, clarification, and voting.
  2. Equal Participation: NGT ensures that all participants have an equal opportunity to voice their opinions and ideas, avoiding dominance by a single individual or group.
  3. Anonymity: In the initial idea generation phase, participants work independently and anonymously, which can encourage more candid and diverse contributions.
  4. Consensus Building: NGT aims to achieve consensus or near-consensus among group members regarding the best ideas or solutions.
  5. Moderator: An experienced facilitator or moderator guides the NGT process, ensuring that it stays on track and follows the established rules.

The NGT Process

The typical NGT process consists of the following steps:

  1. Problem Statement: The group is presented with a clear problem statement or challenge that requires a solution.
  2. Silent Idea Generation: Each participant independently generates a list of ideas or solutions related to the problem. This is done silently and without discussion.
  3. Round-Robin Sharing: Participants take turns sharing one idea from their list, one at a time. Ideas are recorded for all to see.
  4. Clarification and Discussion: After all ideas have been shared, the group engages in a discussion to clarify and better understand each idea. Participants can ask questions for clarification but do not engage in debate.
  5. Voting: Each participant typically votes on the most important or preferred ideas, often using a predetermined ranking or scoring system.
  6. Consensus Building: The moderator tallies the votes and identifies the ideas with the highest scores. The group discusses these top-ranked ideas and aims to reach a consensus on the best course of action or solution.
  7. Documentation: The final list of prioritized ideas or solutions is documented for further action or implementation.


Nominal Group Technique is employed in various domains, including:

  • Business and Decision-Making: Organizations use NGT for strategic planning, problem-solving, and innovation.
  • Healthcare: In healthcare settings, NGT is used to determine treatment options, prioritize quality improvement initiatives, and develop patient care protocols.
  • Education: Educators utilize NGT to make curriculum decisions, develop teaching strategies, and assess educational programs.
  • Research: NGT is employed in research settings to generate research questions, prioritize research areas, and evaluate research proposals.
  • Community Development: NGT is used in community planning and development to involve residents in decision-making processes and prioritize community projects.


  • Structured and Inclusive: NGT ensures a structured and inclusive decision-making process, preventing domination by a few individuals and encouraging equal participation.
  • Diverse Ideas: The anonymity of the initial idea generation phase allows for a wide range of ideas and perspectives, fostering creativity.
  • Transparency: The process is transparent, as all participants can see and contribute to the discussion and decision-making.


  • Time-Consuming: The NGT process can be time-consuming, particularly with larger groups or complex issues.
  • Moderator Dependency: Successful NGT sessions often rely on a skilled moderator or facilitator.
  • Limited for Highly Controversial Issues: NGT may not be suitable for situations where strong disagreement or debate is essential.

In conclusion, the Nominal Group Technique is a valuable tool for structured group decision-making and idea generation. By ensuring equal participation, anonymity in idea generation, and a systematic approach to reaching consensus, NGT empowers groups to effectively tackle complex problems and make informed decisions.