Group voting on ideas is a shambles

Shane Doyle
3 min readOct 12, 2021

Tldr: Not everyone is good at making decisions, so don’t expect a group of people to make brilliant decisions.‍

I’ve got a massive gripe with how certain flavours of design thinking, you know, the ones that say that we need to agree as a group to move things forward, saying that we need to be democratic in how we decide which ideas we should move forward.

See, I think this “group thinking” doesn’t produce good ideas, but the opposite, this kind of group thinking makes shit ideas. Ideas that are either way too safe, don’t solve any problems, or are a huge waste of time.

Now please hear me out before you jump down my throat saying, “Shane, you don’t have a fucking clue”. Just hear me out, then, you can say that.

I was recently in a workshop where we tried to make a more personalised experience for personal banking. Our persona hated going to the bank as it took her away from things she wanted to do, such as going to the gym or spending more time with her friends. She hated it so much that the thoughts of going to the bank would nearly ruin her weekend. She hated waiting in the queue. She hated the fact that she had to go to the bank in the first place. That is all the background you’ll need for the rest of my rant.

So it was time to come up with ideas to solve that, and the group came up with tons of great ideas, and some not so great, which is part of the process. But when it came up to deciding as a group through “dot voting” to pick which ideas we wanted to progress with, which ones would you think the group would move forward with? The fucking ones that involved either booking a reservation to go into the bank or having the ability to wait in her car outside of the bank and receive a notification from the bank when she should come in. WTF! That will make banking better for a person who hates coming into a bank, who would prefer to do anything else. Yes, let them wait in the car, so they don’t have to queue in the bank. I mean, honestly, what the fuck! 🤯 The ideas that suggested that she didn’t need to come into the bank got little votes; those ideas would improve the banking experience for that person and make it more personal.

You see, the problem with a lot of this group thinking is you need a certain degree of people who can see the wood from the trees, and in most cases, people don’t see this too often. Also people can be…

Shane Doyle

Husband • Dad • Lead Product Designer • 🇮🇪🇪🇺 • • co-founder of