Have you ever been broken out into small groups with facilitators and white boards and forced to discuss trivial problems while ignoring the larger ones? You've probably been at the receiving end of the Delphi Technique.
It's a management technique for quelling large groups of people into submission, busted out frequently at raucous schoolboard meetings or town halls or in corporate offices when a particularly noxious change is being floated (which is my own personal experience with it).
The idea is that by breaking a large group that could ordinarily benefit from hearing what each other have to say and could potentially turn on whatever awful idea the organizers have into many small groups you isolate the "troublemakers" and by having a facilitator stay on-message in each of those groups and control the conversation with a whiteboard or flip pad you end up ramming your agenda through in a way that doesn't appear malevolent.
Click through for more about this method AND for how to short-circuit it
Delphi Technique Reading Massachusetts
The Delphi Technique. What Is It?
"The goal of the Delphi technique is to lead a targeted group of people to a predetermined outcome, while giving the illusion of taking public input and under the pretext of being accountable to the public."
The Delphi Technique is a calculated method some administrators (such as school superintendents), committees (such as a school committee or school building committee), group facilitators and special interest groups (some ballot question groups and less-than-honorable architectural firms) use to achieve "consensus." Through the use of the Delphi Technique and the promotion of an "us" vs "them" mentality among the citizens of a community, dissenting voices are identifed, marginalized and discredited and the (often hidden) agendas of various groups and controlling individuals promoted.
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