It can be frustrating and time consuming for organizations to make good decisions as highlighted in this Stanford Social Innovation Review Post. Often, after all the effort, decisions aren’t very robust and implementation can be even harder.
We started Loomio – an online platform for collaborative decision making — to make it easier for people to make better decisions together. Loomio makes it practical for people to participate who have a stake in the decision but may be remote or not able to join meetings. We believe that when people affected by decisions are able to contribute, the result is better outcomes and increased engagement. The online environment can make it more comfortable for introverts and reflective learners to contribute and other power dynamics may be diminished as well.
Our users across 75 countries have shared many examples of how Loomio makes collaborative decision making more inclusive and effective – such as city governments engaging citizens in policy change; businesses developing strategy; nonprofits using Loomio so that people with disabilities can have a stronger voice in their communities; networks are making agreements across institutional boundaries and technology platforms.
We’re noticing these elements of great online decisions
• Be inclusive: Actively include people to join and provide clear guidelines
• Frame the Issue: Focus the problem statement clearly with ‘just enough’ information
• Distribute Facilitation: Encourage all participants to play a facilitative role
• Be transparent: Written archives increase the transparency
• Shift from Discussion to Agreement: Many dialogues never turn into actionable agreements. Loomio connects dialogue to decision – agreement often happens more quickly and easily than anticipated.
We’re pursuing research to test some of our hypotheses about quality decision making in the online environment. We invite you to try Loomio and let us know about your experience and what you’re learning about better collaborative decision making. We have a lot to gain by making better, faster decisions together.