Decision-making is challenging. Businesses can succeed or fail based on one good or poorly processed decision. There are endless “what-ifs?” and possible solutions to consider and there is never a guarantee that one option is better than another. Inevitably, decisions must be made in order for any business to evolve.

Utilizing a decision-making technique can help process ideas and solutions. One tool that we use is a paired comparison analysis (PCA), also known as Pairwise Comparison, to help take the guesswork out of decision-making. It forces individuals to blend criteria and ideas together allowing for a head-to-head comparison of all the options presented in order to collectively determine what will work best.

PCA requires each option to be paired up in order to determine which is preferred or takes precedence. In using this technique, individual judgment is reduced and more effective solutions result. Employees or coworkers often have different ideas about which criteria are most important, the PCA allows for divergent thinking where different values and knowledge are shared and considered. In this process, the goal is for team members to listen more open-mindedly, reducing bias from personal opinions.  Selecting the final list of criteria you use to pick between two good ideas is a very creative exercise, which appears at odds with the concept of evaluation and selection.  

We had a client who needed help picking between two viable options on where best to manufacture and assemble a key product in a new emerging market. The market they were entering required the product to be assembled locally to qualify for government subsidies.  We spent two days with a team of engineers and marketing experts to identify and agree on what were the best criteria we should use to do a proper paired comparison analysis. These criteria ranged from local customer needs, logistics to get the parts exported, and typical cost and feasibility factors. It took nearly a full day to diverge, discuss and make a decision on a final list of criteria. Once we had the final list of criteria, we were able to compare the two options as a group and make a good decision that everyone agreed with. This session broke an almost two-year log jam and finally got the product to market.

Within any business, when executed effectively, group-decision making can render the most invaluable process for determining innovative concepts and solutions. Whether it’s bringing a product or service to the market, transforming what exists, or evolving as a business, a Paired Comparison Analysis can be instrumental in determining the value of each decision.

Are you interested in learning beneficial decision-making techniques for your business? Visit Remember, everyone is an innovator, you just don’t know it yet.