The Delphi Process

As always our success or demise is about communication.  The Delphi Process was a major advancement made by the Rand Corporation that developed the first Think Tanks.

The Delphi Method is simply powerful passionate ego-free communicating and creating.

You may enjoy reading what Lewis Thomas MD. wrote about it in his book The Medusa and the Snail.

Excerpt of what he said of the Delphi Process:
"Because of the urgency of the problems ahead, various            modifications of the old standard committees have been devised in recent years, in efforts to achieve better grades of collective thought.”

“There are the think tanks, hybrids between committees and factory, little corporations for thinking.........Industries have organized their own encounter groups, in which executives stride around crowded rooms bumping and shouting at each other in hopes of prodding out new ideas.  But the old trouble persists: people assembled for group thought are still, first of all, individuals in need of expressing selfness.

The latest invention for getting around this is the DELPHI technique.  This was an invention worked out by some Rand Corporation people dissatisfied with the committee.

The method has a simple almost silly sound.  Instead of having meetings, questionnaires are circulated to the members of a group and each person writes his answer out and; sends them back in silence.  Then the answers are circulated to all members and they are asked to reconsider and fill out the questions again after paying attention to the other views. Three cycles are usually enough.

It is almost humiliating to be told that Delphi works, sometimes wonderfully well.  Ones first reaction is resentment at still another example of social manipulation, social science trickery, behavior control. Maybe, after all this is a way of preserving the individual and all his selfness, and at the same time linking minds together so that a group can do collective figuring.  The best of both worlds in short.

What Delphi is, is a really quiet, thoughtful conversation in which everyone gets a chance to listen.  

There are no voices, and therefore no rising voices.  It is when you look at it this way, a great discovery.  Before Delphi, real listening in a committee meeting has always been a near impossibility." 

 Lewis Thomas MD.