Many projects fail because the one group or individual who could best influence the outcome of the project is not invited. The group seemingly responsible for the event, the group or person to blame, is often excluded. After all, why make your life difficult by including the group with whom you most ardently disagree? What does that person offer when they only seem to offer opposing thoughts? Yes, managing conflict can be challenging, but bringing the dissenting opinions into the room gives you the additional information, leverage or even support you would not have had you continued with your exclusionary thinking. Passion is an amazingly creative fuel, handled with care and courage, it can open the door to opportunities unimaginable to the lone thinker. The synergy of the group, the differing opinions, backgrounds and expertise; now there is a powerful force.
There are many excellent examples of how to bring these disparate groups to the table. I have used several. The Stakeholder Guild is a concept to come out of the work of the Regenesis Group. It is a powerful tool to help build a group that will bring together different perspectives. In his book, Seven Arrows, Hyemeyohsts Storm describes another group gathering process. He proposes selecting members who represent 12 different dimensions of society from the former warrior to the pregnant young female; each sees the world through slightly different eyes and contributes to the building of the whole.
There has been enough thinking around the optimum means to share knowledge and information within a group, that it is clear to me that complex problems require all kinds of different thinking and thinkers. We must bring to the table the innovators and the planners, the artists and the engineers, the poets and the academics. Human survival depends on our diversity, not on our similarity. Nature does not survive because she is homogenous, she survives because she evolves, because she adapts and changes; sometimes to more complex states and sometimes to simpler states. All of these different ideas of who should be at the table, underscore the importance of bringing, not only those with whom you are conformable working but also those who challenge your current paradigm.
Sir Ken Robinson (https://www.ted.com/talks/sir_ken_robinson_bring_on_the_revolution) expressed this so well in his TED talk. He suggests that reform is no use as it can only improve a broken model. This is similar to idea of fixing a problem by looking backwards to decide what we should have done differently; hind sight. We need to transform our thinking, we need a revolution, we need to form an image based on the unique potential of the community, region or even apartment block where we live. As communities come together to re-think the impact of severe events or long percolating crises: education, storms, earthquakes, injustice the potential exists to create significant and regenerative change.
As we come together in community to explore the natural and human resources that can come into play we will in fact, be the change we want. The group will evolve and change. Light bulbs and ah-ha moments will all occur. There is be disagreement and celebration. And together real creative thinking will occur. Prepare to be surprised!