Forcing the disagreement

Currently, the idea that the crowd is wiser than any single individual is widely spread. Places like Wikipedia and Quora rely on the network effect of the internet to benefit from collective human knowledge. The idea behind this is that the aggregated knowledge of the population is able to find the right answer and cancel out the noise. But the crowd may not be wise.

The un-wiseness may be caused by the herd mentality. Once several people group together and discuss the points and actions to take only a few ideas my prevail. People with stronger charisma or higher in the hierarchy may enforce ideas on their peers without knowing. Leading everyone in the meeting room to buy into it and go with the flow.

This is why it is important to place different mechanisms to question and re-evaluate different action plans decided in meeting rooms. The tool that I’m here proposing is a forced disagreement. If everyone in the room agrees the last person to agree on the plan has to disagree even though he or she strongly believes in it. This person has to do the research and argue why this idea is wrong and work on an alternative approach. At every meeting the person who disagrees should change; thus expanding the “thinking out of the box” across the people in the team.

This tool forces people to think outside the box and not follow the pack mentality. This is important because not always the agreed decision is the best. The disagreement, although artificial, creates an intellectual tension that incentives continuous growth within the group. It prevents conformity and may lead to overlooked but better solutions.

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