Constructive conflict for creative innovation

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Constructive conflict for creative innovation can nurture stronger teams, creative thinking, and innovative outcomes.  Albert Einstein noted, “The significant problems we face cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” Conflict serves as a message to adapt.

In society and our workplaces, conflict is avoided and discouraged, having negative connotations. This is a mask of cohesiveness that inhibits true alignment.  In Margaret Herrenan’s TEDx talk, ‘Dare to disagree’ (below) it demonstrates that challenging the conventional ways of thinking can unlock extraordinary results, using ‘constructive conflict’ for creative innovation to drive and inspire change.

Consultants are given licence to ask questions that challenge the conventional thinking, somewhat ‘constructive conflict agents’ working in organisations where thinking may be reigned in. How do you nurture constructive conflict for creative innovation from within your own organisation? Consultants that are willing to ask the difficult questions.

To create greater constructive conflict for creative innovation which involves creative focus, shared understanding and true cohesiveness.  An environment where being listened to and seeking to understand, really understand, coexists in robust and constructive way. For me being able to manage these team dynamics is a sign of an inspirational leader. Jim Collins (Good to Great, 2001) states “Yes, leadership is about vision. But, leadership is equally about creating a climate where the truth is heard and the brutal facts confronted.” Enough brutal facts to ignight some passion and innovation.

Here are some tips on how to incorporate constructive conflict for innovation in your team:

  1. Fertilise constructive conflict, create just the right amount of pressure for people to move into “creative zone” seeking alignment and understanding.
  2. “Calling out” where believe conflict may be just beneath the surface.
  3. Where you see there may be in conflict or individually inviting the team members to express their voices are heard and their views are explored.
  4. Be comfortable creating an uncomfortable silence.
  5. Ask more questions to draw out thinking.
If you have questions or comments about constructive conflict for creative innovation, or you have a story you would like to share, I’d love to hear it.
Please drop me a line at or on twitter
By | 2017-05-12T10:02:33+00:00 December 2nd, 2014|People, Performance Edge, Process|1 Comment

One Comment

  1. Honney 28/12/2016 at 10:34 - Reply

    That takes us up to the next level. Great posting.

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