Ranking options or items is not a trivial process. The main problem that usually people try to make a decision and select one out of all the items or options. This is the wrong way. The ranking is a kind of problem that should be solved using the relevant problem-solving tool. Many people asked me when should they use Round-Robin Ranking (RRR) provided here, in the PRIZ Platform? Why can’t I make the choice on my own? How difficult that can be?
After experiencing the power of RRR myself several times, I decided to write this short post and give a real-life example of ranking made with the help of creative thinking tool.
First, I want to start and remind the very bases and the main concept of the Round-Robin Ranking approach. The one thing that I want to highlight and quote is this:
A human being is not capable of comparing more than two things at a time. We can adequately choose between two things only. We actually are capable to perform ranking of two items or options only.
The fact is, in my mind, it is not impossible to make a choice between more than two things. However, it usually extremely difficult and takes a very long time. Especially, if a potential mistake can cost you.
Just try to remember the last time when you needed to decide what computer or car to buy, which restaurant to go with your significant other or where to fly for the next vacation. At the end of the day, you did make the decision and you were most likely happy with it. The question is, how much time did you spend, how frustrated and exhausted were you during this decision-making process?
As an example, I would like to describe is the selection of vacation destination or, in this particular case, Destination for Company Retreat.
In the last couple of weeks, all employees in our small startup received an email asking to submit, along with other things, their preferences for Company Retreat.
There were 5 options:
For some people the choice is extremely easy: they’ve been in Spain, Canada and Mexico, and their home town is in Florida. Well, the natural choice – Portugal. But, for me, since I haven’t been to any of these places, except Mexico, all of these options were practically equal.
As an average human being, I started with reading and researching about the destinations. I went through a gigantic number of articles and comparisons. In the third article, I already forgot what I was reading in the first, so I started making notes. I learned a lot of interesting facts and some of them were super interesting and even eye-opening, but I didn’t get an inch closer to reasonable ranking, to making my selection of preferences.
Eventually, I got tired of it and made almost random prioritization. From one hand I got it over with, I made my choice. But, I was not happy with the result, since I didn’t feel that I made a conscious decision. I was too busy to waste any more time on it. After all, this is not something that can affect my life, wherever we go, it will probably be good enough; plus, I was hoping that other team members will do better.
A day after, I decided to use try RRR for my problem. The results were not even close to my previous selection:
The only pair I was struggling with is Spain vs. Portugal. For that, found a small article Portugal vs. Spain: Which One Is Right for You? and made an immediate desition – Spain is a win for me because of nightlife.
As a result:
Going back to the initial question that people ask me, what’s the point of using RRR (or in fact any tool) for such a trivial task?
I usually answer with a question: “How would you make the choice?”
The funny part, nobody could give me a definitive answer, ever! And after some time of thinking, all of them, without exception, said: “Well, you simply compare one against all the others one by one…”. But, isn’t it the exact same process that Round – Robin Ranking (RRR) tool provides, but without the need of keeping everything in your head.
Of course, choosing were to go for a company retreat is not that big of a decision, and if you make a bad decision, it is probably not a big deal. The situation is much more sensitive though, if you are trying to decide what to do next for your business development, or determine what would be the best investment of resources for the next quarter. These decisions might mean life or death for your company.
Would trust your intuition, just because the process of choosing is so frustrating?
Try to use Round – Robin Ranking tool as an effective instrument for making decisions and ranking of options or items. This tool will save you time and improve the efficiency of your activity.
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