May 11, 2013
Delphi Technique and NH Listens - You Judge
As you might expect, I have different alerts set up to notify me when new information is published on the Internet. It might be articles, videos, just about anything. To set up an alert service on Bing, just type Bing News Alerts into Bing.com and follow the directions.
So I received an alert this morning about a very funny new video that got loaded to YouTube overnight. It's about NH Listens and the Delphi Technique.
What's so hilarious about this video, is the NH Listens organization is so worried about their perceived image in the community, they recently added a section to their website to deflect this Delphi Technique argument. The day I created this post it was visible at the bottom of their FAQ page.
But the trouble is, the NH Listens group has a history of making rapid and wide-spread changes to their website whenever someone exposes things about them that make them look bad. So they may change the URL or eliminate what they say. That's why I provided a screen shot for you so that if they do try to take it down, you'll always be able to see what they said.
I have to really chuckle when I go to their pages, because you'll notice a copyright link in the lower right corner of their page. NH Listens is part of the University of New Hampshire. That institute of higher learning accepts all sorts of tax dollars both at the state and Federal Level. That means just about all the information they create and publish on their website(s) is pretty much owned by everyone in the USA, so it's exempt from copyright. In other words that USNH copyright link - it's a scare tactic.
The folks at NH Listens are really self-concious about their use of the Delphi Technique in their *community conversations*. This is yet another example of doublespeak - using a different phrase or synonym for a thing that's not really so pleasant.
Here's the format of a typical meeting that NH Listens *facilitates*:
- Attendees gather in a large room
- While billed as community conversations most meetings do not contain individuals that represent a true cross section of New Hampshire residents. I've been to four facilitated Delphi Technique sessions and not seen one person of color, not one immigrant, not one person on welfare, not one homeless person, etc. I see educated and well-to-do people at these meetings
- Some invited attendees are directly related to the topic - they have a dog in the fight
- Often a handout of biased talking points is distributed to drive the conversation to a pre-determined outcome
- Attendees are broken up into small circular discussion cells - sometimes in different rooms
- Small discussion cells last up to 90 minutes or more
- Each discussion cell compiles a list of a few summary points
- Summary points are reported back the to all attendees at the conclusion of the meeting
This meeting format is CLASSIC Delphi Technique. Don't believe me? All you have to do is a search on the Internet and you'll discover all you want to know about the Delphi Technique.
What you'll soon realize is that it's a highly unethical method of running a meeting. You'll discover that all sorts of powerful psychology is employed at the meetings. You'll discover that the Delphi Technique is bad bad jujumagumbo.
That explains why NH Listens doesn't want you to *think* they use the Delphi Technique.
This is why they've renamed it the community conversation! Isn't that clever?
Did you enjoy the cartoon? I hope whoever made it starts making more!
Oh, and if you think I'm wearing a tin-foil hat, here are a few others who feel like I do about this horrible unethical Delphi Technique:
All you have to do is go to YouTube and type in: Delphi Technique