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The Smart Solution Book by Mr. David Cotton

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Tool 3

Ritual dissent (and ritual assent)

What the tool is

The owner of a problem often has fixed ideas about both the problem and possible solutions. Ritual dissent, developed by Dave Snowden of Cognitive Edge, allows a group of people to discuss a problem whilst its ‘owner’ turns around and listens to the discussion without intervening. A good discussion gives the owner new insights which, arguably, could not have been gained had the owner taken part in the discussion.

The benefit of ritual dissent is that the problem owner has no opportunity to defend an idea. Whilst this may seem a disadvantage, it prevents the owner becoming proprietorial or defensive about an idea until it has been explored thoroughly by people with less emotional investment ...

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