Ritual dissent and assent

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…a gathering harvesting emerging solutions and breakthroughs.

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A short workshop to drive up value, and drive out fear and loathing to create overall plans and solutions that are more ore resilient than consensus based techniques bring out the best in both the participants and the solution.


  • open space uses consensus, and dissent is often not allowed (taboo even).
  • Rituals take out the personal aspects because everybody has to go through the same process; therefore, people like rituals.
  • In control tests ritual dissent increases weak signal detection by more than 60% over consensus-based methods. As such, it facilitates weak signals, big action.
  • How can you hope to bring in a culture of tolerated failure if the climate fails to allow for even the most modest of dissent.

Vincent Walsh says a trashing session (as he calls it):

  • liberates the audience as that are allowed to be supercritical.
  • allows people to be totally and utterly wrong, and raise uncomfortable truths with impunity;

It is a kind of gloves off approach.

A trashing session has three game rules:

  1. You don’t have to say things you believe. You can say anything. So, you can say things you can take back.
  2. What goes on in a trashing session, stays in the trashing session. You are not allowed to afterwards say, “Did you really mean what you said in there, about the insignificance of my whole career?”
  3. You are not allowed to check on what the other is doing with your information in that trashing session.


Ritualize dissent (challenge) and assent (positive alternatives) to scrutinize and enhance proposals, stories, ideas, or whatever. Use consent to make a decision.

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The socratic dialogue, wise fool, and writer’s workshop are closely related.

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Web: Cognitive Edge Network » ritual dissent