84 years have passed between the publication of the Jury Theorem (Condorcet, 1875) and the first formal implementation of consensus among experts (Helmer and Rescher, 1959). Condorcet (1) stated that if each member of a voting group is more likely than not to make a correct decision, the probability that the vote of the group is the correct decision increases with the number of members of the group. This simple principle was applied by RAND researchers to forecast the impact of technology on warfare (2). Commissioned by the US Air Force, RAND created during the 50’s the Delphi method. In the Delphi method a group of experts anonymously reply to questionnaires and then receive feedback in the form of a statistical representation of participant’s response. The process may be repeated several times with the intention of reducing the range of responses and arrive at something closer to expert consensus.
Real Time Delphi could expand the use of Delphi consensus.
Since the 60’s the consensus among experts as a research method has adopted numerous variants and has gained followers, especially in the field of health. Evidence that the number of researchers who apply methodologies inspired by the Delphi model has increased continuously is shown in the above graph. The number of studies published over the past 10 years has grown continuously, but the application of information technologies multiply Delphi possibilities. Internet and mobile devices allow introducing innovations and variations in the method to adapt it to many different needs. Online Delphi known as Real Time Delphi has a lot of future in a wide variety fields as research, knowledge management, decision making, prioritization or even the organizational learning.