This technique helps you to analyse and debate two or more strongly-held competing views or hypotheses.

Use this to...

  • Understand the merit of a competing view.
  • Reduce tension and potentially narrow differences.
  • Push groups to find new information to prove a hypothesis.

Try this...

I never said that! If opposing views are deeply entrenched, ask group members to argue the case for the position that they would not normally support. This help you all see both sides of the story more clearly.

Any further questions? This technique is very useful if you’re facing a long-standing strategic issue, a critical decision with far-reaching implications, or long-standing differences of opinion.

Watch out for...

Weak opposition. If you’re finding it difficult to create two solid arguments, you may want to try Devil’s Advocacy instead, which challenges a single, dominant view.

Power play. Be sure that every group member gets the chance to share their views.

Steps...

  1. Kick off the analysis phase of this technique by agreeing two or more competing views or hypotheses. All thinking should be towards your business theme.
  2. Split into as many groups as you have views. Each team will then develop their case using available data. Structure the argument to show key assumptions, evidence and the logic. 
  3. Each team should now present its findings to the group who should challenge the teams on their logic. This is the debate phase.
  4. Each team should be given the chance to present their case, challenge the other teams and question assumptions, evidence and logic. Look for group gaps in understanding.
  5. Formulate questions that have been surfaced. What do you need to know?

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