Weblog Entries for December 2010
December 30, 2010
Viv has written about rethinking facilitation training and I agree with her. That's not unconnected with having done some very interesting work with her this year and planning some more in February.
We need to acknowledge that the net now makes it dead easy to get information online and that we need our face-to-face events to do the stuff that is harder to do online. That means not sitting listeing to lectures and data dumps which we can do much better at our computers where we can control the speed and level of repetition to suit ourselves.
When we meet, I think we need to push the limits a bit and be more playful and experimental. As Viv says, this involves thinking about the field we create together, the space we open to learn and connect.
I also love her point about having an opportunity to pulse between facilitating and being facilitated. Viv and I explored this a lot in some of our work and it's been one of the more thought provoking things I've done. In fact it starts to raise interesting questions about whether facilitation is, really, a transitive verb at all: is it really something done by one person to another - or it that really just manipulation?
I looked up the Love Police on youtube following a tip from Euan. Here they are visiting Canary Wharf to challenge, amongst other things, the status of private security guards dressed rather like policemen. They're also challenging the way places like this, while looking like public areas, try to take the status of private land when it suits them.
These guys are also challenging convention in a variety of ways and present an interesting idea of the role of love. Watching them hug the security guards is fascinating.
I think this would be a good video to show people who want to talk about innovation, because I think it points to questions about power, discomfort and disruption that sometimes get avoided in polite society.
The power of vulnerability
I wrote the other day about the pitfalls of labelling some emotions as "negative" and trying to avoid them. It's interesting to see how Brené Brown explores similar territory, and the challenge of being vulnerable.
She suggests that to be wholehearted is to be willing to be vulnerable, and lists some of the main ways we try to avoid vulnerability.
The first is to numb uncomfortable feelings:
we are the most indebt, obese addicted and medicated adult cohort in US history.But you can't numb emotion selectively. Numb fear and disappointment and you numb joy, gratitude and happiness. She argues that if you numb those, life loses purpose and meaning. (That links across to Kantor's notion of the three languages of power, meaning and feeling and the way they are intertwined).
Some other ways to avoid vulnerability:
We fake certainty. I was particularly struck by her definition of blame as a way to discharge pain and discomfort
We perfect. We take fat from our butts and put in our cheeks.
We pretend that what we do doesn't have an effect on people.
The effect of all of these is to disconnect us from others, setting up a vicious cycle of discomfort and avoidance.
The alternative is to embrace the mess and allow connection. Her line about children perhaps encapsulates her philosophy: instead of seeing them as perfect and trying to keep them that way, we could see them as imperfect and hardwired for struggle - and treat them as worth of our love and belonging in their imperfection and struggle.
Makes sense to me.
December 23, 2010
links for 2010-12-23
For me, the software bit is less interesting than the angle on the creative process as a series of tiny moves. How Eliot's The Wasteland emerged over time through multiple drafts and the huge impact of Ezra Pound on it.
This get my mind turning. Relationships and the objects in them are complex and rich.
Fascinating. Civil disobedience worked, even under the Nazis, in certain specific instances.
"Lanier is once again conflating human-to-human relations and human-institution relations and suggesting that the same principles should apply to them. A world in which humans don't trust each other is indeed cold and inhumane. A world in which we trust powerful institutions merely on principle is one where we abdicate our responsibilities as citizens and human beings." via preoccupations
Society is the still face
Chris Corrigan has a brilliant post that uses this video to illuminate the profound effects on children of relationship... and why it matters to all of us.
(Click here if you can't see the video)
Negative feeling, positive thinking?
Work teams who openly express their negative feelings share more information, have greater solidarity and are better at solving complicated analytical problems, a new study has found.If you dip into the author's summary, you get a richer picture. It fits with what I blogged the other day about increasing emotional bandwidth: socialising feelings, as well as actions and meanings, actually makes for more creativity and better analysis.
"Negative" is a piece of shortand used to distinguish feelings like sadness or anger but this gives them a bum rap. All these feelings are legitimate and have clearly played vital roles in our evolution. By labelling them "negative" we risk deterring the sharing that the research suggests is useful.
I'll also add that we kid ourselves if we think we can avoid sharing our feelings. They leak out like crazy, as anyone will recognise when dealing with difficult situations. You may hear people claiming "not to do touchy feely" but of course they're generating a big felt impact on others whether they acknowledge it or not.
December 22, 2010
links for 2010-12-22
Not finishing and weak gods...
The other day I linked to Cath Richardson's writeup about goodfornothing. In the last year, I've started to really appreciate the upside to not finishing things; we tend to assume completion is all but it has its penalties. Here's how Cath puts it:
Not finishing is a bonus. It all got a bit rushed by the last 2 hours as the finishing line approached and a few last pieces in the puzzle came together too close to the wire. At first I was disappointed that we hadn't tied up all the loose ends but then I realised that not finishing is part of the party. It's what keeps the ideas and the energy running in your head long after the event is over and I hope we'll be able to convert some of that energy into doing more in future with the groups we worked with. On a more general note, not polishing your work up to too fine a degree also means you don't get too attached and are ready to take it apart to build something even better next time.Today I was catching up on the footprintsinthewind blog, and came across this, which feels related:
When we set up a mighty god in front of us, we are constructing something built on our wishes: desires for things or wealth or fame or popularity or destruction of others. A powerful god is a human ego-driven god. A real God, one who is real and meets us where we are is one who knows failure, defeat, and the need for hugs, one who is not afraid to say “Who knew?” A real God is found in reality: in unanswered prayer not just impossible wishes granted, in prisons not just achievement, in poverty not just wealth, in broken cluttered homes not in shiny and new, in sickness not miraculous cures, in still hush not loud pounding pulpits. A real God is suffering, surprising, weak....That means we have work to get to.
December 21, 2010
links for 2010-12-21
Ghetto testing is geekspeak for going to prototype rather than researching abstract ideas with potential customers. "question customers with prototypes, not questions"
Increasing the social visibility of commenters mitigates trolling behaviour
I'm blogging this mostly to get it out of my brain where it's been revolving for a few minutes.
For a long time, I've talked to anyone who'll listen about the value of increasing emotional bandwidth between people. It's an intentional metaphor that tries to convey what can happen when people working together develop greater trust. It means more stuff can be exchanged.
I'm now thinking of linking this to David Kantor's stuff about the three languages of families/organisations: the language of action/power; the language of meaning; and the language of feeling.
My hunch is that there can be a synergy here. If we increase our capacity in one of these areas, it can support increased bandwidth in others. Whereas we sometimes think, for example, that action means stamping over feelings or the other way round.
December 20, 2010
links for 2010-12-20
An elegantly written discussion of the power politics surrounding wikileaks.
December 19, 2010
links for 2010-12-19
Another great review of goodfornothing. Excellent guiding principles include: think through doing; work small, share fast; it's not about a big vision; and (my favourite) not finishing is a bonus. That last one is something I've felt strongly about for a long time.
A great review of the goodfornothing creative sprint - getting people beyond clever thinking to make things happen
Paul Clarke reviews the efforts to create government systems to suit the needs of individuals. YThey fail, because it's just not that simple.
December 16, 2010
links for 2010-12-16
In a hundred years, I hope people will look back at things like this with incredulous amusement. Like we look back on things like quack medicine from the nineteenth century.
December 15, 2010
links for 2010-12-15
The value of a feminine archetype in managing complexity
Meeting and the post-coital cigarette
I was thinking about the fabled importance of the post-coital cigarette. I think we like the idea because it's a sign that the climax shouldn't be an ending of relating.
In pop psychology, we're encouraged to think of unfinished business as a kind of pyschological trash we need to clear out. Whereas unfinished business in what keeps our relationships alive.
So to those in meeting who insist on closure and clarity... that's all fine. But do you want to be the kind of partner who just rolls over and falls asleep?
Geoff Lye writes in praise of Gen Y. I really liked the qualities he sees in them. Perhaps especially this:
Looking forward, companies face challenges – and equally opportunities – from the Gen Y shifts. To maintain competitive advantage, companies must attract the best graduates: Gen Y is less interested in status and high salaries – they witnessed their parents in this struggle – they now have different priorities. They care more about flexible working hours and a better work-life balance. Employers failing to meet their demands are at risk of competitive disadvantage. Gen Y cannot be bought with status and salary – prospective employers must demonstrate progressive values aligned with those of Gen Y – who must believe in a businesses’ mission. As noted above, Gen Y will hold businesses to account in the market for misconduct. And considering the immense power of the new and rapidly evolving tools immediately at their disposal (Twitter, Facebook, blogging, etc), they can communicate this misconduct both swiftly and effectively. More generally, however, Gen Y is incredibly aware of the grotesque social and ecological debts left by previous generations, and they are not prepared to see business further widen the intergenerational injustice.I'd only add that I'm a little cautious of the generalisation that applies these characteristics to an age cohort. I'm not in Gen Y by age, but I feel I am in attitude and I'm not alone. Sounds like Geoff is too.
Hat tip: Tweet from Tom Farrand
December 13, 2010
links for 2010-12-13
Funny and largely true
Thought-provoking, My favourite is '9. Be aware of how often you ask people to do something as opposed to asking other people “what needs to be done”.' via Dave Pollard
Fascinating, esp this: " Not surprisingly, the ability to make sense of words takes up a significant chunk of the visual cortex, as brain cells previously devoted to object recognition get usurped by the alphabet. (Dehaene refers to this process as “neuronal recycling.”) Deheane also speculates that, while “learning to read induces massive cognitive gains,” it also comes with a hidden mental cost: because so much of our visual cortex is now devoted to literacy, we’re less able to “read” the details of the natural world. (Just imagine all the things you could notice if you couldn’t read this sentence.) " via @chriscorrigan
Following, but not sheep
My friend Matt Moore and colleague Anne Murphy have started up a new blog on the idea of Followership. A useful antidote to much laboured thinking on the virtues of leadership. In this post, Matt talks about how following is typically equated with being a sheep. He reports how how people ask about "how to get people aligned" as a euphemism for "how do I get people to obey me."
If you stop to think about it, this is quite a deep, dark question. Because if you follow those pesky existentialists, the core of being human is our ability to choose our own lives. Never absolutely and rarely independently but some element of choice is part of being human. So above question is actually: “How can I dehumanise people?”
December 10, 2010
links for 2010-12-10
"the more I think about it, the less obvious it is to me why the man is being pilloried for doing wholesale what establishment journalists do on a retail basis all the time." via preoccupations
"Secrets are only as secure as the least trusted person who knows them." I could quibble with the language but strikes me as a great aphorism. via preoccupations delicious feed
Qwrap) Harold jarche ex-trainer, ex-ISD, ex-performance technologist, ex-social learning specialist - now just working smarterI think he's onto something. A few years ago, most people had a sensible, if boring, answer to the question "What do you do?" at cocktail parties.
In recent years, the answers have been longer and more elaborate as more of us have taken on portfolio lifestyles. But, to be honest, these longer speeches can still be boring. Perhaps we're itching to get beyond these "do" labels altogether?
December 6, 2010
links for 2010-12-06
David Smith's links for 4 and 5 Dec - a superb compliation of coverage of wikileaks.
I'm back in catch-up mode with Reverb10. Here's the day 3 prompt: Moment. Pick one moment during which you felt most alive this year. Describe it in vivid detail (texture, smells, voices, noises, colors).
This is a tough one but I'll go with the one that first came to mind, even if it's more intellectual than sensual and I'm going to pass on the texture stuff.
I was in Sri Lanka, running a big workshop with Viv. There were delegates from all over the world, and we had an awesomely permissive brief to explore complexity through playback theatre and improv.
Everyone spoke great English, even though for many it was a second language. And we started to sense that this was subtly inhibiting how people participated. It's just harder when it's not your native tongue.
We reached a point where needed another way to explore the idea of "different ways of knowing". And we thought of playing gibberish games - because we thought this get us past the way English was limiting engagement.
In improv, when you speak gibberish you avoid using any known language, but you do try to be saying something real and not merely making strange noises. There's a knack to it, and all sorts of things to learn from the endeavour. And in the challenge, everyone would be on a level playing field: your native tongue would be help to you in a gibberish game.
We tried a few different games and loved the results. Suddenly, people who'd been quite reticent earlier in the week came alive, vocally and physically. It looked like our hunch was right: the use of English had been limiting engagement.
Then we reached a point where Viv and I had run out of gibberish games we could remember. So she pulled out her iPhone and used an app that basically lets you plug in an imrov category, shake the phone, and it randomly suggests a game.
It threw up a game called Gibberish Reunion. We looked at each other, realising it was going to be a risk introducing a game we'd never heard of, still less played. But that's the point of improv: get to the edge of your comfort zone.
Essentially, everyone pretends to be at a class renunion, many years on. They slowly recognise familiar faces and gradually start to share stories with increasing warmth and enthusiasm, until eventually they begin singing the old songs they sang as students. All done in gibberish.
What this set off is hard to describe but it was hilarious and heartwarming. It ended in a remarkable tribal dance around some imaginary campfire in which absolutely everyone was completely engaged.
The best improv for me is not the cleverest line or action. It's when you see people playing it revealing more of themselves in their play, and when you sense something really spontaneous taking place. These people were not just roleplaying to meet each other with warmth. Viv and I pretty much fell over laughing and the feeling was remarkable. We'd gone beyond words in a way we'd not expected.
There is a field...
Somthing else I meant to say about goodfornothing.
I spent some time working on the brief for Global Generation. They create urban gardens, sometimes in unlikely spaces, that create interesting engagements between young people and the businesses located in their community. We got interested in the idea of the gardens as common ground: a place where things that might seem like opposites can come together. Urban youth & corporate staffers; nature and the city.
I'm easily excited by ideas of physical and psychological meeting spaces, and I found myself thinking of this Rumi quote:
Out beyond ideas of wrongdoingThat's a very poetic description of an idea that I think is operating in all sorts of mundane places, without us noticing it.
and rightdoing there is a field.
I'll meet you there.
When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about
And that's one of the interesting things about the goodfornothing space. Often, a gaggle of people would gather around a task and there'd be a falatering attempt to work out what we should all be doing to be effective together. The conventional assumption is that without co-ordination, we'd risk wasting time on things like duplicated effort.
There comes a point, though, when arguments about an ideal structure get in the way of getting on with the work. And then we find ourselves sucked unwittingly into status games that can start to interfere with the goodwill of the group.
What was nice about goodfornothing is that I think everyone got this on some level, and no one got carried away with the idea of control.
Goodwill may be a better co-ordinator than a clear structure. This weekend, I think that's the way everyone chose to play it.
With goodwill, efforts get co-ordinated without having to be made explicit. I tweeted something to the effect that there is a field holding us together; we're all communicating in all sorts of non-explicit ways and the co-ordination will be taken care of, without a lot of special effort.
What I don't mean here is that we can simply rely on goodwill and everything will always turn out fine. I think where I am going is: being sensitive to the goodwill is really useful.
And perhaps when we talk about goodwill, we're using a slightly loaded term to describe the field. That might be an important distinction: there will be many times when we feel a lack of goodwill, but the field will still be there and it might be very important to realise it.
Creativity and politics
Whatever you think about the moral rights and wrongs of the wikileaks controversy, it's fascinating to see how a closed system responds to disruption. Unquestionably, what all sides are fighting over is power.
And I'm wondering how many discussions which appear to be about creativity and innovation are, below the surface, really about who's in charge here?
Good for nothing
I spent Friday evening and Saturday at goodfornothing. It was a creative hackathon where we worked on briefs for three great social enterprises, organised by my friends at Pipeline. A mixture of ad agency types and geeks got together on their own dime, met the clients and got on with it.
Rather as in open space, there was a very simple overall structure, so we self-organised. It was fun to watch the group dynamics as a participant. I think we collectively decided to let go of managing each other and mostly just went where our personal enthusiasm took us. Not a great of effort spent on peacock status displays.
The final presentations were full of ideas and energy. Each involved lots of people doing small pieces, with no-one pretending to be in charge. But it all made sense; it didn't need to be more structured. A good example of messy coherence.
Which leaves me (again) wondering: is a lot of management a sort of OCD tidying up?
Quote of the day from Tom Farrand of Pipeline (roughly): these aren't normal clients - they want to get things done. In fact, I think we're all normal people, but our conventional working structures often stifle that.
And inthecompanyof wonders how this energy could be used to shake up conventional agency work.
December 3, 2010
I usually like what Henry Mintzberg has to say, and I enjoyed his performance at a recent HR conference. He challenges many of the clichés about leadership and the "inflated sense of the CEO". I agree with him that paying yourself a vast salary is not the act of a good leader; it is absolutely bound to distance you from the people working under you. He's more interested in supporting collaboration and getting people to learn together rather than teaching from on high.
The suggestion that HR folks see themselves of fifth columnists is great. Actually, I suspect that might be good advice to a lot of other people working in big organisations.
Hat tip: Harold Jarche
December 2, 2010
Reverb 10 - day 2
Moving swiftly on, the prompt for today is
What do you do each day that doesn’t contribute to your writing — and can you eliminate it?Well goodness, there are so many things. And I think writing is actually something that's become less important to me these days. I often show up for meetings with no means of writing things down and I can't recall making a proposal longer than one side of A4 for a long time.
But the answer I'm going with is: thinking too much. I overthink stuff, and let the perfect become the enemy of the good. The desire to write a comprehensive post usually stops me saying anything at all. In the end, I write fragments anyway, and it serves me well.
Can I eliminate thinking? No, and I don't want to. But I'm trying to do a bit less...
This is probably going to be a mistake.
I've just read that my friends Viv and Patti have signed up for Reverb10. It's a challenge to express online a response to a daily prompt, for each day of December. Inspired by them, I'm going to give it a shot, pencilling in my mind the option for some of my responses to be mere tweets.
I'm already a day late, but here's my effort for December 1st. This is the prompt:
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?Great, I am not a big one for anniversaries and looking back over years, so I appreciate the challenge. Lots of things happened in 2010, and many of them were surprises - shared in fact with Viv.
The new year found me in New Zealand, where I'd more or less fled, so stressful had the last few months of 2009 been. I can't quite recall, but I probably spent January 1st on a beach somewhere, thoroughly appreciating not being in a) winter or b) enmeshed in a series of jousting matches with a variety of unhelpful legal and property professionals. Then I was off to Australia where I hung out with Viv and decompressed some more. Fish and chips by the Ocean Road being among the pleasures.
Things got better from there really, and this year has seen some very exotic-sounding travels, to Sri Lanka, Singapore, Bangkok, and a return trip to Sydney and Melbourne, and finally Helsinki and Vienna. To be honest, some of this was more road-from-airport-then-meetings than anything, but it was fun nonetheless. As I often point out, this might create the illusion of a jet-set lifestyle, but these trips were intersperesed with a great deal of not moving much at all. And actually, some of the UK trips, especially one to Falmouth, were rather pleasing with much less of the jetlag to cope with.
Those airmiles contributed to it being a great year for the deepening of friendships. I've seen way more of Viv this year than all the others put together. Plus I got to work for the first time with some other folks I'd long wanted to - such as Chris Corrigan and Geoff Brown. Plus Anne Pattillo, who I'd not met before but hope to again. I suspect we'll all fondly remember the after-gig entertainment in Melbourne where we improvised a self-mocking song to mark our first shared collaboration, and I mischievously smuggled its chorus into an apparently serious radio interview the same evening.
I've made a lot of excursions to Cambridge, where I'm thinking of moving, the property stresses mentioned earlier having been (fingers crossed) resolved.
A theme that has reverberated with me this year has been the difference it makes for people to gather around a purpose other than just making money. I've met some remarkable professionals in the humanitarian aid world which brought this home to me, as have some of my meetings with social entrepreneurs here in London.
I think for a few months I noticed I was feeling a bit bored hosting open space, even though I thought it was working well for people. I settled for "living in the question" of why that was, stuck with it, and have found I've re-engaged with it at a new level of interest. I'm increasingly preoccupied with the challenge it poses to people in general, and me especially, to name what it is we want and give clear expression to it, rather than merely dropping hints and hoping for the best.
I've also been learning more acutely how much I come alive in good conversation, and how easy it is for me to withdraw when I don't get it... a circle that can be virtuous or vicious depending which way I play it. I've become more conscious of holding the space to just be in conversation, letting go of the temptation to make things happen and in so doing turn the other person into an instrument.
I'll tempt fate by summarising the arc of the year as one from anxiety to calm, though that is a transition I make multiples times each day, and in the other direction too.
So having rambled, I now get to pick my word for year and - notwithstanding the jetting about - I'm going to go with slowing. I'd like to think I'm slowing down, and in a good way.
As for 2011, I'm going to hope for... connectedness. But we'll see....
Thanks for indulging me... and I hope you'll be tempted to join in.
Benny Hill on social networks
In a hierarchical world, the cohesive authority group has the edge over a loose agglomeration of individuals. In a networked world, the scales may be reversed. The loose agglomeration have a far higher capacity to reorganise themselves, and the authority starts to look less surefooted.
Case in point, perhaps: this funny video. Protesting students were confounded by the police tactic of kettling: essentially, finding the large group of protesters and blocking them in place until they run out of steam. But, days later, the students are able to implement a new strategy and suddenly they make the police look a bit foolish (at least with the crafty addition of some Benny HIll music.)
(Click here if you can't see the video embedded.)
Hat tip: Political Scrapbook.
Rob Paterson had a long chat with me last week, and has used this as a launchpad for a series of four posts about deeper conversations. Rob's taken a few of my ideas and elaborated extensively, going into some very interesting territory.
Mutual appreciation society disclosure: He says some very flattering things about me and I could well understand if you think I or we both need to be taken down a peg. That's what the comments are for.
Meanwhile, I'm going to start blogging back some reflections on the conversation and Rob's posts.
I got to meetings for a living, often as a visitor rather than as an habitué. I think this gives me a particular sensitivity to familiar patterns which sometimes elude the particpants themselves. So I have a big interest in what it takes to create a deeper conversation, one that gets people into less familiar territory and with a greater sense of commitment and engagement than business-as-usual.
There simply can't be a magic formula for this, but Rob talks about some of the things that work in some contexts. Some of my personal rules-of-thumb relate very much to how we respond to feelings when in conversations, especially difficult ones. Here are some of the things I've noticed help me engage more deeply:
- Being willing to engage with feelings - starting with my own, rather than speculating or moralising about other people's
- When I have a strong reaction to what someone says, it often helps if I can suspend my emotional response. By this I mean a middle ground in which I don't act on it without thought, nor repress it and pretend it's not there
- When listening to someone to whom I have a hostile response, it helps to see something of myself in how they are behaving. So if I think they're being long-winded and repetitious, it might help to reflect on my own capacity for that and see if this allows me to feel a connection with them.
- Noticing the differences between emotions and visceral feelings. I often wake up and tell myself I'm tired. But then I ask myself what I'm physically feeling - for example where am I tense or warm or cold... and end up sensing that I'm actually more excited or anxious and not tired at all. This kind of literacy can help when processing strong reactions in conflictual conversations. This relates also to distinguishing meanings from feelings - see this post for more on that.
Needless to say, I often fail to practice these precepts as you'll find in my blog rants or argumentative behaviour on twitter. And I am not arguing for one second that we should always be in deep conversation... just that I'd like to spend more time there with other people.
I loved the metaphor Rob uses in his final post in the series. He shows us a nervous skier, who leans back and overthinks his approach - and who loses control. When skiing, as I eventually, learnt, you have to overcome some initial fear and lean down the hill. Paradoxicaly, this gives you more engagement and control, not less. His son got this quite naturally; it was/is harder for Rob. You have to let your body do the skiing, rather than calculate it in your head. Rob asks:
Do you want to ski like me, or like my son?And in many ways, that's the challege for those who think they can get through meetings without engaging with their feelings.
In fact, when I'm coaching I often pay a lot of attention to how people organise their bodies. How they hold themselves is intimately connected with how they come across. If you doubt this, try an experiment with a friend or colleague: give a very short presentation twice. Use exactly the same words but the first time do it with your eyes wide open; and the second do it squinting. See what a difference that makes to both of you. And then notice that even small movements along the spectrum between wide-eyes and squinting have an impact.
It's easy and kind-of-safe to focus on the content and ideas, but leave out the animal side and you'll be missing a lot of the connection.
When we're talking, we're not just transmitting information; we're engaged in a rich dance of relationship... whether we acknowledge it or not.
More to follow...
December 1, 2010
links for 2010-12-01
Interesting take on storytelling where the aim is to leave the outcome ambigous. Suggests the author should have a firm idea of what it is, even if not giving it away.
Dissent and disturbance
Evelyn Rodriguez writes about the role of dissent in promoting creativity, referencing this article by Charlan Nemeth: Rogues and Heroes: Finding Value in Dissent (pdf). It turns out that dissenting views, even when factually wrong, can (in some circumstances) improve the broader critical thinking skills and creativity of groups.
Needless to say, handing this kind of dissent is challenging, stressful for both the dissenter and the group. I've long felt that creativity and anxiety are frequent bedfellows, and our capacity to find a space to hold conflict is an important mark of our ability to think better.