A Delphi Project

NZ is going to experience, or is already experiencing, a series of major challenges. Covid. Climate Change. Housing and demographic shifts to name a few.

Rather than go along with the traditional middle-of-the-road attempts to address, or more often to defer these problems, we need to consider significant responses, marshalling our technological and human resources to make significant inroads on issues that the last generation of politicians have lacked the strength of character to address.

One way of brainstorming solutions is to invite solutions from experts (or anyone) without prior consultation, so that they produce a wide range of quite different ideas, which may then be refined into workable and possibly integrated solutions. 

This process has been used in a number of crucial decisionmaking roles, and, properly conducted, can significantly improve design and decisionmaking. It is a solution based approach however, not a representative one as such.

Why the contribution is important

The failure to address issues like climate change, habitat destruction, energy creep and major sociological imbalances like inequality shows that existing policy mechanisms are not producing the results a healthy or thriving country requires.

A Delphi project can accommodate multiple perspectives, not merely those that presently enjoy disproportionate influence.

by OBhave on March 03, 2021 at 11:08PM

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  • Posted by stowellj March 12, 2021 at 16:49

    Not sure of the definition of a Delphi project nor of the way such a project differs from a citizens' assembly or similar. How does the project work to deliberate on the ideas presented and to prioritise the solution?
  • Posted by stowellj March 13, 2021 at 12:35

    Having now done a bit of homework, it seems that the Delphi method of brainstorming a problem was developed as a form of prediction of possible outcomes by a panel of experts, with a facilitator to focus in on common ground through a number of iterations. So it was originally as management tool. Wikipedia indicates that it has been used for policy issues. From this limited research I would still prefer to see the much more widely used mini-publics or citizens' assemblies (widely not including Aotearoa New Zealand) where there is plenty of opportunity for experts and immediate stakeholders to present to the assembly or jury, but the randomly selected members are in the driving seat and ask the questions. To a degree, the CCC already is a form of Delphi panel, though lacking an independent facilitator, but the element of public deliberation is missing from the current "feedback" to the CCC's draft advice. A pity really.
  • Posted by OBhave March 13, 2021 at 21:56

    @stowellj - the likes of citizens assemblies need a broad range of possible alternatives to consider. That isn't happening at present, because broad policy settings are points of agreement between the major parties. Current settings prioritise things like a high inward migration rate (temporarily in abeyance due to Covid). Things like that are incompatible with resolving things like the housing crisis, or meeting our commitments under the Paris climate agreement. Many other issues are also deadlocked by locked in policy presumptions that the public have little or no input into. We will get better outcomes if those things vested interests are determined to resist are not preemptively taken off the table, but must pass the test of public interest and support.
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