Talking Point: The Disney Institute Blog

Deliberative Discourse: A Strategy for Idea Generation

November 23, 2012 by Bruce Jones, Programming Director, Disney Institute

A recent article from Fast Company offers suggestions in creativity and idea generation – and not in a way you may have previously been considering.

Ask yourself, "How does the next great idea come about?" Perhaps you make a connection you had never before considered or, maybe, it was the result of a more traditional brainstorming session. But could "the next big thing" come from an argument? Arguing, or "deliberate discourse," as its more appropriately known, was a phrase coined by Aristotle referencing "participative and collaborative (but not critique-free) communication." It is a way to express a variety of ideas and opinions with the understanding that everyone is working towards a common goal. This is no free-for-all, though.

Stick to these five rules in your next "deliberate discourse" session to foster a work environment that breeds creativity:  

1. No hierarchy: “Breaking down hierarchy is critical for deliberative discourse. It’s essential to create a space where everyone can truly contribute.”
2. Say “No, because”: “No is a critical part of the process, but if you’re going to say no, you better be able to say why. Backing up an argument is integral in any deliberative discourse.”
3. Diverse perspectives: “We’ve all heard of T-shaped people and of multidisciplinary teams. This model works for us because deliberative discourse requires a multiplicity of perspectives to shape ideas.”
4. Focus on a common goal: “Deliberative discourse is not just arguing for argument’s sake. Argument is productive because everyone knows you’re working toward a common goal. Develop a statement of purpose at the outset of each project.”
5. Keep it fun: “Deliberative discourse is a form of play, and for play to yield great ideas, we have to take it seriously.”

This model may not be for everyone, but it is a way to mix up your current creative strategy.

For more learning on this topic, consider enrolling in our Disneys Approach to Business Excellence professional development training course, which further explores the five universal pillars of operating a successful business—leadership, employee engagement, quality service, brand loyalty, and organizational innovation. Together, these forge an enduring bond between inspired leaders, motivated employees, satisfied customers, and create an ability for an organization to continually grow its brand.

Tell us—how have you stepped outside the box for the sake of creativity in the workplace?


Disney Institute is ready to help you apply strategic rigor to your customer experience efforts - call us at 321.939.4600 or complete our Contact Form

Posted in Business Excellence | Tagged Deliberative Discourse, Creativity, Innovation, Arguing, Creative Tension, Organizational Creativity, Organizational Innovation, Business Excellence, Bruce Jones | 0 Comments

0 Responses to Deliberative Discourse: A Strategy for Idea Generation

Post a Comment

Get In Touch

Phone: 321.939.4600
(M-F 9:00 am – 5:30 pm ET)

Email: You can also reach us through our Contact Form.
(No solicitors)