Decision-making processes are a central component of day-to-day activities in a business and typically decision makers are those with the most authority. Consequently, this means that those who have most information are not decision-makers and therefore need to provide reports to those who are. However, there are various alternative decision-making processes that in different ways include associates in the decision process rather than just allowing them to pass on information. Integrative Decision-Making is one of these, which based on Holacracy invites associates to propose changes to the organisation as long as they can find consensus. But in some situations, individuals may not have the answer, but need multiple viewpoints and expertise to solve a problem. In these situations, open space is a technique that can structure a meeting to gather diverse opinions and support people to work together.

Open Space

Open Space is a technique for meetings whose purpose is to explore certain challenges and gather diverse opinions about them. Hence, it is useful for situations where nobody knows the answer, and the ongoing participation of a number of people is required to deal with the questions. Open Space should not be used in any situation where somebody at a high level thinks he or she has the answer, or where somebody must always be in charge and have control.

Appreciative enquiry

Appreciative Inquiry is a model for analysis, decision-making and the creation of strategic change, but in particular for decision-making among larger groups. It is a technique developed for collective exploration of a problem state and potential solutions, with an emphasis on what works in an organisation rather than what is broken. Some people refer to it as the opposite of problem-solving as it builds on strengths, not weaknesses. Compared to other group decision techniques, AI differs by appreciating the strengths of the current state and steering the collaboration by carefully designing the questions raised in the decision process. In AI the questions steering the decision process typically have 4 stages:

  1. discovering what organisational processes that work well
  2. dreaming about the processes that would work well in the future
  3. designing and prioritising the future processes
  4. developing the plan for deploying the future processes