Disconfirmation as a model of collaboration

Posted by Chrissie Brodigan on February 15, 2015

Constructive conflict with research findings leads to better collaboration.

The intent of research is to shine a light onto things we want to know more about, even if some of those things bother the hell out of us. Research can be used to inform execution, but it is not execution unto itself. Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but respectful disagreement and discussions about data are essential to achieving progress.

For a research team to flourish, its parent organization must encourage discussion where people can disagree. This helps teams get smarter through the process. Actively seeking disconfirmation of research models and being open to the reality of unconscious bias is actually core to a great model for collaboration.

Teams may in fact disagree with research findings. Internal debate and decision against pursuing a particular product direction doesn’t change what is learned from research or related recommendations. Debate and the research insights can co-exist even in conflict.

Understanding what’s happening, even if an organization doesn’t go after a particular direction immediately, will make an organization stronger. The pursuit and sharing of research helps to create awareness, conversation, and hopefully encourages constructive conflict that makes teams and the products they build to move the world forward stronger and better.

Talking about research, even if it’s to disagree with the findings or recommendations, is to acknowledge that something discovered matters to someone.

*Photo credit: the ever-wonderful and creative Matthew McCullough