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group work

This method is used to select the most promising ideas based on the criteria for a potential solution. You can use dot-voting to pick a number of ideas from a much larger volume of ideas, and the exercise is ideal to do after idea generation.

The method may seem simple, but it can help to enable a useful dialogue in group work that deals with the development of criteria to base the idea selection on. The development of criteria often occurs implicitly, where the students are not aware of what they and the other group members may consider important for the solution. This is particularly the case in interdisciplinary collaboration.

The output of dot-voting is a selection of ideas that can be detailed and developed further into concepts. (Search for concept development methods)


  • The students describe a minimum of 5 criteria that they believe the solution should live up to. Here, criteria should be understood as properties/qualities that the solution can fulfill to a greater or lesser degree, and not as requirements that either can be fulfilled or not.
  • Then, each student has 1-3 dots to place on the ideas that best live up to the listed criteria. This can also be accomplished by marking a dot using a marker on each idea listed on Post-its.
  • The ideas with the most dots (3-5 ideas) are then selected.
  • If there is time, you can wrap up the exercise by having the students present their selected ideas in plenum.

Worth Considering

As the facilitator of the exercise, you can create a dialogue about the selection criteria to let the students reflect on their processes and cooperation.

The exercise can spur lots of time-consuming discussion. Therefore, it is wise to plan a strict time schedule.


You should have an overview of how many ideas have been developed and how many ideas should be selected via dot-voting. For the exercise, students will need: markers, large sheets of paper and Post-its.

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