Activity to Collect, Rate and Assess Topics

Here is a recent request from a person on our website looking for the right tool to collect, rate and assess problems:

“James, in a nutshell, we know some issues exist and we know some have not yet been identified.  Essentially, if everyone came prepared to discuss their perception of what issues exist, and we had a good activity to collect, rate and assess to issues, this would be great.

Below was my response:

In terms of issues that exist, collections, rating and assessing – this is not something we have as a product to sell.

However, we have done this quite a bit in our own facilitation:


  • Break everyone into small groups of 4-5, have them brainstorm whatever (problems, in this case) in 15-20 minutes.
  • Then we ask them to put the top 4-5 problems onto index cards with one item on each card (so each person is holding an index card).


  • Then, on a scale of 1-10 (10 being highest), rate the importance of the problem.
  • Take 15 seconds, write down the first number on the back of the index card that comes to mind and the facilitator will say ‘Switch’ and hand the index card to the person on your right.
  • Go around the room until everyone has voted on each one.
  • Have each person add up the scores and see which ones in the room score the highest.


  • Look at each of the problems and see if there are repetition or they can be combined (small groups may very well have come up with the same problems).
  • From there, you begin assessing what can be done to solve the most pressing problems.

FYI – you might want to rename “problems” to challenges or even opportunities.  Problems are only problems to those with no creativity.  Problems, or challenges (or whatever you call them) are opportunities to make something better, to improve and to be creative.

This may seem “pie-in-the-sky” or polyanna, but it absolutely is not.  You find what you are searching for and vocabulary can change what you see.  To test this, watch this video:

You find what you are told to find and miss opportunities to see something truly unique and different.  Challenge your group to find the obvious (once you see it).

You might also want to check out Appreciative Inquiry.  Google it and read up a bit on it.”

What are your ideas to help this person?




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