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Zeroing in on Delphi: When Complex Issues Require the Most Effective Approach

In today’s business environment, management consulting firms must be ready to address client challenges and needs that will transform their business by 10 or 100 times.  Tools and methods must be scaled up to ensure applicability to the widest possible audience globally.

The Consulting Workshop Series provides a good understanding of the 10 methods of conducting Workshops that are custom designed to fit specific workshop objectives.  Different methods are developed for the purpose of providing organizations the most appropriate tool necessary to support organizations in their Strategic Planning.

If it is the management’s goal to expose all opinions and options regarding a complex issue, then the Delphi Workshop Method is the perfect approach to undertake.  By using Delphi, organizations can gain the benefits of pooling and exchanging opinions to learn from other’s views.

Understanding Delphi as a Consulting Workshop Series Method

Delphi is a structured communication technique originally developed as a systematic interactive forecasting method that relies on a panel of experts. Its main objective is to expose all opinions and options regarding a complex issue.

Delphi is most effectively used in technology forecasting, as well as business forecasting such as sales of new products.  It is used in the implementation of multi-stakeholder approaches for participating policy-making.  It is also effective in patent participation identification and public policy issues such as economic trends, health, and education.

A dialectical process, it has been designed to provide the benefits of pooling and exchanging of opinions to learn from other’s views.

Discovering the Delphi Approach

 Delphi can be approached in 3 different angles. Depending on the objective of the activity, we can determine which is the most strategic way to approach Delphi.

  1. The Conventional Delphi. Called a pen and paper Delphi, it is aimed at a consensus of the most probable future by iteration. It has three main characteristics: the anonymity of the participants, the structuring of information flow, and regular feedback. These three key characteristics help participants focus on the issues at hand.
  2. The Policy Delphi. The Policy Delphi is a tool for analysis of policy issues. It is employed to generate the strongest possible opposing views on the potential resolutions of a major issue. Generating a consensus is not its primary objective and survey questionnaires are given greater emphasis.
  3. The Delphi Conference. A Group Delphi, it allows for more discussions and debate. In the Delphi Conference, participants forego anonymity. Time constraints may require a fixed number of cycles and consensus can be increased from one to two rounds of voting.  The Delphi Conference often takes less time than the traditional Delphi.

In undertaking the Conventional Delphi, the Policy Delphi, and the Delphi Conference, organizations must be keen on following the right procedure in undertaking any of these Delphi.  Because of its different approaches, the steps that are undertaken also varies. Taking the right step is necessary for better understanding and clarity of flow, as well as optimizing the use of Delphi in achieving Operational Excellence as one of the appropriate results at the end of the activity.

Interested in gaining more understanding of the Delphi consulting workshop method? You can learn more and download an editable PowerPoint about Consulting Workshop Series: Delphi here on the Flevy documents marketplace.

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About Joseph Robinson

Joseph Robinson is the Vice President of Strategy at Flevy. Flevy is the marketplace for best practices in business management. Learn how the Fortune 100 and global consulting firms do it. Improve the growth and efficiency of your organization by leveraging Flevy's library of best practice methodologies and templates. The documents at Flevy (https://flevy.com) are of the same caliber as those produced by top-tier management consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, and Accenture. Most were developed by seasoned executives and consultants with 20+ years of experience. Flevy covers 200+ management topics, ranging from Digital Transformation to Growth Strategy to Lean Management. You can peruse a full list of management topics available on Flevy here. Prior to Flevy, Joseph worked as an Associate at BCG and holds an MBA from the Sloan School of Management at MIT. You can connect with Joseph on LinkedIn here.

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