Metaplan Information Market

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The Metaplan Information Market method, developed by a German consultancy firm uses a number of ‘communication tools’. Groups are set up to focus on a problem and its possible solutions. Opinions are developed, a common understanding is essential and a formulation of objectives, recommendations and actions plans is the goal.

Specially trained ‘facilitators’ administer the groups, ensuring good communication; cooperation and high levels of understanding are achieved. His objective is to provide the group with the right sort of communication tools at the right moment so that the group is able to get to the bottom of the crucial matter with greater success and efficiency.

‘Communication tools’ are:

  • Basic physical items (standard oval, cloud-shaped and rectangular cards of various colours
  • Felt tipped pens
  • Display boards, etc.
  • A series of standard presentation get-togethers
  • Rules that produce clear and legible display
  • Rules that provide effective communication, voting, etc. in groups.

These tools allow the ‘facilitator’ to administer effective, co-operation within group discussions where key issues are recorded and displayed and the participants can put forward their ideas.

This method is also useful for large-scale meetings or ‘information markets’. One possible arrangement:

Organise a fairground-like set of, perhaps, 20 booths around a very large hall, each booth representing a predetermined theme or critical question and staffed by 2-3 trained ‘facilitators’. Participants can choose which booths interest them most, and can move between them, joining in the discussions at each booth, and recording their votes at predetermined stages. (Business Week 1976).

The recognition of themes and the supervision of expectations for a major ‘market’ necessitate several months of prior planning, initial meetings and an attempt at decision-making. Vigorous follow-up is imperative to ensure the process does not experience a lack of expectation from the participants.