After having spent some time with the group broken up into pitch teams, it is now time to re-unite the crew. This can be a difficult task as participants tend to form identities around the topic that they have invested their efforts in during the pitch phase. The group’s shared criteria and the transparency of the selection process will pay-off if you are able to guide the group through an honest and open evaluation of all the topics with only minor bruising of emotions. Goals
  • Reflect on pitch evaluations.
  • Work towards a consensus decision on the most appropriate decision for the group.
  • Select a topic for production.
Duration 1-2 workshops Activities
  1. Begin with some fun team-building games. It is not unusual for participants to form strong alliances with their teams during the pitch process, but the time has come to move beyond that phase and to recombine as a single functional group.
  2. Remind the group that the purpose of the pitch process was not to find a “winner”, or even to chose which idea was “better”. The purpose was to refine the short listed topics while working out which is the most “appropriate” for this group to make at this time. Reinforce that the decision will not be made today, but that it will be made in the next session.
  3. Emphasize the important role of the criteria that all group members have agreed upon, and that will guide the final decision-making phase.
  4. Prior to the workshop, facilitators should go through all of the written feedback from the pitch session and write it up in a form that can be distributed to each of the participants. This could be done by simply retyping each response (to preserve the anonymity of the respondents), or by summarising and pulling out what the facilitator considers the more relevant parts of the responses.
  5. Go through each of the criteria and discuss the degree and ways in which each pitch sizes up against that particular criteria. In a shift from the previously “hands-off” facilitation style that this guide has advocated up until this point, it can be necessary for facilitators to begin giving feedback that is designed to help move the group to a final decision. This must be done carefully, and with transparency, so that it doesn’t appear as if the facilitator is taking sides. Facilitator feedback that advocates for one topic being chosen over another should always be framed in relationship to the criteria. Remember, the criteria will not give you a black and white, yes or no answer, they just give a framework to have a discussion within.
  6. Often the time constraints on a program mean that the major and final deciding factor in the decision is simply which idea is the most ready to go, and the most achievable in the time allowed. This is a valid selection criteria. There is no point in having an incredible idea that cannot be achieved.
  7. Take an informal “straw poll”, anonymously if it seems appropriate to get honest responses. A straw poll is a vote that has no immediate consequences beyond checking the mood of the group. If a large majority or unanimity is present, come back to the group with this information and suggest that the decision is essentially made. Work with the minority to ensure their commitment to the topic that is selected. The group might choose to offer those participants who preferred other topics something in order to help bring them on-board, such as a key crew role in the production.
  8. In the case of  a group evenly divided between two or more ideas, it might be necessary to conduct some sort of vote to reach a decision. One way of having a vote that is not a straight win/lose equation (and that is different from the multi-vote system used in Step Five), is to use the “Degrees of Agreement” method:
    1. Everyone gets to vote on a scale of 1-5.
    2. 5means: LOVE IT! (no reservations)
    3. 4means: LIKE IT (minor reservations)
    4. 3means: IT’S OK (some reservations)
    5. 2means: NOT CRAZY ABOUT IT (significant reservations, but will go along with the group)
    6. 1means: I CAN’T SUPPORT THIS (major reservations)
  9. Prior to voting, it should be made clear that these categories relate to the criteria, not necessarily to how excited each feels about the topic in the moment, that each participant should be able to justify why they vote in a particular way (ie not just vote “1”s or “2”s on topics they like slightly less than others). At this stage in the process, it should be highly unlikely to receive any “2”s, let alone “1”s.
  10. Depending on the nature of the group, these numbers could have different meanings. If your group has all the time in the world, the presence of even one “1” vote could mean that the project can not be chosen, and will need to be modified to bring that “1” up to at least a “2”. More likely, the group will be under significant time restraints, and will need to use these numbers as a guide for making a decision very quickly. This can be done by adding up the total score that a topic gets from the entire group, and close calls can be teased out by looking at how the votes were spread. For example, the total score on two topics might be the same, but if one had several “2”s, and the other had none, it might be better to go with the one with more general agreement, and less serious reservations.


This model was developed by Dan O’Reilly-Rowe, benefits from his collaboration with a number of educators at Global Action Project in New York City, and builds on practices common in many youth media organisations. The model was first recorded and refined as a part of the Youth Media Learning Network Fellowship , 2007-2008.

Storytelling Prompts | Finding Topics to Explore

Morgan Sully, 2010.  Coming up with a worthy topic for a story can be tricky, but it doesn’t have to be.  Here’s a few prompts to get you started. Participants Can work for small or large groups.  Not much technology is needed for this activity. Skills/Technique This...