According to Hick’s Law, the more options that are available to a person, the longer it will take to make a decision. This is all-the-more true in a membership-driven organization, where multiple, sometimes unexpressed, perspectives exist on what priorities should be pursued as part of a strategic plan (assuming it has one or is considering adopting one).
To overcome this and other challenges, the Opportunity, Issue and Risk Identification and Prioritization (OIR ID&P) visual consensus-building tool was developed to guide a deliberative process focused on defining goals.
The OIR ID&P tool does not purport to overcome all of the challenges associated with finding consensus amongst a sometimes very diverse group of people. However, the visual consensus-building tool helps
- facilitate discussion on public policy issues, which can sometimes elicit very emotional reactions from volunteers (depending on the nature of the issue or the mission of the organization in question);
- participants to feel as though their ideas have been heard, recorded and evaluated against other, competing interests;
- participants to recognize that there are other ideas and views related to the subject under discussion;
- clearly identify the positive and negative impacts an organization must be ready to address at different time periods, depending on the size of the opportunity, issue or risk; and
- contribute to more conscious decision-making when addressing opportunities, issues and risks (often-times with limited resources and limited time).
 The Hick-Hyman Law is explained in greater detail in W.E. Hick, “On the Rate of Gain of Information” in Quarterly Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1952, vol. 4, pp. 11-26, as well as Ray Hyman “Stimulus information as a determinant of reaction time” in Journal of Experimental Psychology, 1953, vol. 45, pp. 188-196.