After studying newlyweds for just a short period of time, psychology researcher Dr. John Gottman can predict whether the couple will be together in five years with over 90% accuracy. So how does he do it? He gets them to argue. Gottman watches the couples debate, and he analyzes how they fight. Surprisingly, the ability to engage in healthy, respectful disagreement is a huge predictor of long-term success.
It turns out that creative teams – and their ideas – are no exception. A recent study from Charlan Nemeth at UC Berkeley, and the practices of outstandingly creative firms like Xerox PARC and Pixar, suggest that conflict isn’t something to be reduced. In fact, regular, structured fighting may be one of the single most important ingredients in the ideation process. [read]