For an offsite or a planning session, a general counsel might solicit opinions from the members of the law department. Several software packages enable low-cost yet powerful means to gather such input.
A software program from All Our Ideas, developed at Princeton University, collects opinions but also has an interactive function. “Users can make their own suggestions about the problems or issues they’re being quizzed about. Subsequent users of the site then are queried about both the original and the new proposals.” This neat trick comes from the Princeton Alumni Weekly, Nov. 12, 2010 at 37.
The notion of an organic survey, one that enriches as it matures, fascinates me. Think about the possibilities of a question such as “On a scale of one to ten, how effectively do you think discounted rates save us money?” Mere numbers leave us cold. Lawyers in the department would not only provide a scaled answer but they could refine the question, add their reasons for their response, comment on other cost-control methods or generally both learn and contribute more. The formerly inert survey morphs into a vibrant knowledge exchange and debate.