A Powerful Tool for Citizens’ Assemblies

Easily and reliably recognize collective opinions within a deliberative process.

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Quickly measure levels of agreement on many ideas.

An equal opportunity, anonymous, and transparent process with instant results.

Feedback Frames A4 version

What are Feedback Frames?

Feedback Frames are simple analog tools for secret score voting on many options.  Participants rate each idea by dropping a token in a range of slots that are hidden by a cover, with results later revealed as a visual graph of opinions.  Anonymous votes are validated by a tally of corresponding signatures.

Play Video Watch the 90 second intro video
reading results from feedback frames

Use at Any Stage of a Participatory Session

Feedback Frames are not just for final decision-making. Use them anytime you have statements to prioritize, such as:
  • Questions to be answered
  • Topics to be explored
  • Proposals to be recommended
  • Concerns to be addressed
  • Suggestions to be considered

How to Prioritize a Brainstorm Using Feedback Frames

Feedback Frames at MaRS smile

Low Tech & High Touch

Dropping tokens is fun for participants of all ages. This tactile analog method has no technical barriers to overcome and is a refreshing alternative to screens or paper.

drop one token to record opinion

Avoid Groupthink

Secret score voting is anonymous and hidden until revealed, which deters social conformity bias (aka the bandwagon effect and peer pressure) which can be a problem when voting using raised hands or stickers.

taking a photo of Feedback Frames results

Transparent Methodology

The clear process is easy to document and explain. With raw results published meaningfully in photos,  anyone can see the group’s opinions, prior to a facilitator’s interpretation and summary.

Not a replacement for quality discussion.

A way to recognize collective opinions between & after discussions.

Group shot after Feedback Frames

Support Consensus

Unlike limiting and polarizing yes/no votes, Feedback Frames can record gradients of opinions on an unlimited number of ideas. Results show the strength of all views, while encouraging a focus on shared priorities.

results spreadsheet

Gather Rich Opinion Data

Recorded results include statements, individual opinions on a 5-point scale, or “Not sure”. Optional written comments under ‘Strengths’ and ‘Concerns’ provides insight into the rationales behind opinions. This valuable information can be entered into a spreadsheet for analysis and publishing (including as open data).

Recommended by Experts

Brett Hennig at Sortition Foundation

Brett Hennig

Co-founder and director of the Sortition Foundation, and author of “The End of Politicians: Time for a Real Democracy”

“I recommend Feedback Frames for any event where participants need to make recommendations among many complex and competing options. The simplicity, transparency and anonymity of the process makes them ideal for citizens’ assemblies.”

Lyn Carson at newDemocracy

Lyn Carson

Associate of the Centre for Deliberative Democracy & Global Governance at the University of Canberra, and Research Director for the newDemocracy Foundation

“Feedback Frames are a terrific tool, worthy of widespread use in public deliberations, across cultures and age groups. They are an interactive and fun way of helping people prioritize a multitude of ideas and individual perspectives.”

Dave Meslin, Teardown

Dave Meslin

TED speaker and author “Teardown: Rebuilding Democracy from the Ground Up”

“Feedback Frames allow a group to accurately collect nuanced data that reflects the diverse opinions in a room.

No other system system or tool provides this amount of flexibility, accuracy and convenience.”

A universal tool with shipping around the world!  See Pricing
signatures for feedback frames

Validated Results

Participant signatures track progress and confirm one vote per person per frame. I.e. the number of signatures on a sheet should equal the number of tokens in the corresponding frame.

example rating scales

Customizable Templates

The rating scale, instructions cover, and statement-signature sheet files can be downloaded, edited and printed in any language, for any topic.

Writing ideas on a statement-signature sheet

Like Surveys on Sticky Notes

Ask open ended questions for participants to generate ideas (like on sticky-notes), and then immediately rate the ideas on a custom 5-point scale to deliver quantitative results (like a survey).

A Choice Tool for Professional Facilitators

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Proud Member of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2)

Featured on the Facilitating Public Deliberations Podcast

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Participedia

Part of the Participedia democratic innovations methods collection

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Endorsed by the International Association of Facilitators

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Part of the Growing Wave of Participatory Democracy Around the World

Citizen juries & assemblies (aka mini-publics) are an important democratic innovation to help governments address some of the greatest challenges in our society.  This long-form process empowers a randomly selected and representative sample of the community to learn about a policy issue, deliberate in depth, and identify wise and practical policy solutions.  Feedback Frames provide a perfect mechanism for making all participants’ nuanced opinions equally visible, while avoiding social pressure bias.