Dotmocracy (also known as dot voting) is useful as a simple and quick method
for groups to use in setting priorities when there are many options. It involves
voting on options using a limited amount of dots (or dot stickers) in order to
find consensus in a large group.
When to use it?
Frame / Generate: to quickly gauge support
or narrow down/determine a list of priority options or ideas.
How to do it?
Brainstorm ideas or options on a list that everyone can see or review.
Explain these options and, if appropriate, allow participants to add or change
the options presented.
Give each participant a set number of dot stickers.
Ask participants to place dots next to options that they like. Participants
may place more than one dot next to one option.
When all dots have been place, count the number of dots for each item and
make a priority listing on a new list.
You may discuss with the group if they agree with the outcome of the dot
voting and identify tensions.
Different colour dots may be used to signify different values.
Dotmocracy is a flexible tool that
can be used with a number of different audiences of all sizes.
Depending on the complexity of the issue and options being
discussed, dotmocracy can be executed in about 30-75 minutes, including
discussion of options and outcome of the voting.
Pros and Cons
- Can be quick tool to take the temperature of a room, or determine if everyone is on the same page or if there is considerable divergence of opinions on options.
- Creates a fun activity, good visuals, and limits discussion while collecting input from the whole group.
- Depending on the options and issues being presented, dotmocracy can limit creativity and a diversity of ideas. It may also give confusing or false results (particularly if individuals use all their dots for one option rather than considering multiple options).
- Bias may created as individuals may place dots where others before them have placed dots.
Be clear about what participants are voting on and
what the objective of the voting is so they can make informed decisions about
where to place their dots. Also, if using different coloured dots, clarify if
colours signify anything.