Search form

Evaluating Ideas: Pick 3 - Drop 3

Pick 3 - Drop 3 is another tool for narrowing down a long list of ideas generated by a group. Group members shorten their brainstormed list by identifying both the highest and lowest priorities among the ideas. This method accommodates two styles of decision-makers: some people find it easier to identify what should come off the list, while others are more comfortable identifying what to keep.

Imagine that your elementary school has been given a $5,000 unrestricted gift. Teachers have already brainstormed a list of ideas for spending that money. Now ask each teacher to review the list and select the three items he or she would keep on the list. Ask the teachers to put a green mark by their three "keepers."

Next, ask each member of the group to select three items that are least important to keep on the list. Ask them to put a red mark by the "drops."

Key Points To Take Away

--- Use Pick 3-Drop 3 as a way to narrow down a list of brainstormed ideas.
--- This method identifies highest and lowest priorities on a list.
--- It's okay to have both red and green marks on any given item/idea.


Remind participants that it is okay if you end up with both green and red marks on any given item.

Review the list with the group. If they agree that the items with the most red marks can be taken off the list, cross those out with a red pen.

Circle the items that have the most green marks with a green marker.

At this point, there may be clear agreement on spending $1800 on a new office computer and printer, $500 on art supplies, and $750 on a special music workshop for students. After moving those items to a new list, cross them out and have the group repeat the process -- this time using different colored markers -- to determine how to use the remaining money.

Once the list is narrowed down sufficiently for your needs, identify items with the largest number of positive votes. If necessary, discuss areas of disagreement, then use a decision-making tool to arrive at an agreement.

NEXT WEEK IN GREAT MEETINGS: The Pro-Con Sheet is another tool that can be used to evaluate ideas generated by a group.


About Great Meetings

Pam Plumb and Dee Kelsey are your facilitators in charge of Education World's Great Meetings series. They are also authors of the popular guide to meeting facilitation, Great Meetings! Great Results. Together, Pam and Dee have more than 40 years' experience facilitating change and training meeting leaders.

Learn more by clicking the links below:

* Read biographies
Learn about Pam and Dee.

* Read a "backgrounder"
What will you learn from this series?

* See the Great Meetings archive
See past articles in the series.