Round 1: brainstorming

[The following are instructions for Round 1 of the "Potential solutions" Delphi survey]

Instructions:

You are asked in this Delphi survey to generate and assess a set of alternatives for addressing the horse problem. In other words:
How might we solve the problem of roaming horses? What should we be doing?

In Round 1 of this Delphi survey (the current round) you are asked to brainstorm and come up with some ideas for horse control/management. Do not worry too much at this point if your ideas seem a bit off-beat or unlikely to work. The objective here is to simulate creativity and generate as many ideas as possible. All responses are anonymous.

In Round 2 (later in April) you will have an opportunity to rate the desirability of each of the candidate solutions proposed by the Delphi panel. The overall objective of second Delphi survey is to create a list of candidate solutions to hand to RDOS staff so they can flesh out the details, costs, and so on.

Value-Focused Thinking:

We have already spent some time identifying goals and objectives for our horse control actions in the previous Delphi survey. Ideally, the alternatives we generate in this stage of the decision process should reflect these priorities. This process is generally known as "value-focused thinking": we work backwards from our goals and objectives to identify possible courses of action.

Our final list of fundamental goals and objectives are shown below in yellow. As you can see, I have removed some items from from full list from further consideration. These removed items fall into one of three groups:

  1. Fundamental objectives rated as less than "moderately important": A small number of objectives had an average score of less than 3.0 in Round 3 of the Delphi survey. This suggests that, in aggregate, respondents do not believe that these objectives should be the focus of our attention as we move forward on this problem.
  2. Means objectives: An objective like "reduce the number of horses" can be seen as a means of achieving a larger fundamental objective. Although we tried to stay focused on fundamental objectives in the Goals and Objectives Delphi by using the "Why is it important?" (WITI) test, a few means objectives made it to Round 3.
  3. Complementary objectives: Some of the objectives identified by the Delphi panel are more-or-less independent of the main decision problem and boil down to implementation. For example, "community involvement" can be achieved irrespective of choice of horse control action.
Fundamental objectives
Average
Score
  long-term sustainability of solution
4.8
  humane treatment of horses
4.8
  maintain relations with First Nations
4.7
  human safety
4.6
  minimize cost to residents
4.4
  fairness of solution
4.0
  continued access to recreational areas
4.0
  minimize legal liability for local government
3.9
  eliminate property damage
3.9
  maintain peaceful relations between residents in the region
3.9
  improve aesthetics of the West Bench
3.1
  reduce risk of disease transmission between wild horses and owned horses
2.9
  continued visibility of horses
2.6
  compensation from horse owners
2.1
  job creation
2.1
Means objectives  
  reduction in the number of horses and herd management
4.4
  determine ownership and legal status of the horses
3.8
  prevent people from feeding and caring for animals
3.6
Complementary objectives  
  maximize community involvement
4.1
  facilitate public education and understanding
3.9
  positive public perception of horse control actions
3.4
  establishment of a mechanism for complaints
3.0

Some Tips for Round 1

I think you will find the task of generating alternatives difficult. Here are some suggestions:

  1. Use the fundamental objectives above to guide your suggestions: Alternative generation is a creative process and the emphasis in Round 1 of the Delphi is to generate as many ideas as possible. Our fundamental goals and objectives can help in this process. I suggest that you consider each objective and ask yourself: How could the objective be attained? So for example, you might focus on different ways to achieve "human safety" and come up with "install streetlights on dark roads" as an alternative. Please note that I am not asking you to come up with a means of achieving each and every fundamental objective. The process is not that formal. Value-focused thinking is simply a technique help get the ideas flowing.
  2. Generate multiple alternatives: Several residents have already expressed a preference for "fencing" as a solution to the horse problem. However, we should not make a premature commitment to fencing without considering other alternatives. Fencing may turn out to be economically infeasible. Or fencing may not be supported by the Provincial Government. We need to keep a list of alternatives open until the feasibility of each can be determined. Moreover, "horse control" likely involves multiple complementary actions.
  3. Focus on desirability, not feasibility: Some objectives such as "minimize cost to residents" are difficult to assess without detailed plans and cost information. As such, it is important that you ignore the feasibility of alternatives at this stage. RDOS staff and, if required, consultants will be called on later to determine the economic and legal feasibility of each alternative.
  4. Keep your explanations short—a couple of words should do it: We are not looking for fully-elaborated solutions at this point and lengthy explanations are not required.
  5. Limit yourself to one answer per box below: As noted above, the horse control strategy ultimately selected by the RDOS will likely consist of multiple complementary actions (e.g., fencing + designated contractor to round up strays + herd reduction on the other side of the fence + ...). However, collation of responses on my end is easier when each action has its own box.

Do not worry if you cannot come up with one alternative for each answer box. Answer boxes can be left blank. However, you should know that once your survey has been submitted, you cannot get back in to change your answers.

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