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How OCDR Bridges Divides

Thorough Collaborative Process

The process begins with a comprehensive analysis of the issue and the stakeholders, and includes the co-creation of the process by all stakeholders. We then use structured, facilitated dialogue to:

  • Help people examine diverse viewpoints and interests
  • Turn competing answers into common questions
  • Generate options that address those interests 
  • Build consensus on mutually beneficial solutions

The Science of Human Relations

Over the last twenty years breakthroughs in the social and cognitive sciences have created a revolution in our understanding of human behavior and human interaction. Collaborative Problem Solving is based on this science:

  • Identity helps humans make sense of a complicated and chaotic world. Political identity has now become an important source of identity. Our process draws out multiple and shared sources of identity (e.g. mother, citizen, hockey player) and creates the new identity of problem solver. This enables participants to modify their positions on issues without threatening their sense of identity.
  • We help participants counteract many well documented cognitive biases which lead us to unconsciously seek out and double-down on our beliefs even when – and sometimes especially when- presented with contradictory evidence. We do this by creating the conditions that enable participants to explore their deeply held beliefs.
  • Participants in our process analyze and alter the simplistic good versus evil narratives that inevitably fuel conflict.
  • Humans are hard wired to create groups and to favor members of their group. This tendency is exacerbated in conflict. To counteract this tendency, our process taps into human’s social nature to build relationships across group membership and to build a new group – problem solvers.
  • Human behavior is driven by the goal of meeting basic human needs such as security, belonging, recognition, and meaning. Our process helps participants to uncover the basic human needs at the root of the conflict and to develop solutions that meet the basic needs of everyone involved.
  • We tap into the deep human drive for meaning and purpose to motivate the hard cognitive and emotional work needed to solve problems.

Relationships and Trust First

Our process begins with helping stakeholders build relationships and trust by fostering openness and authenticity, and by exploring shared values. Not only do relationships and trust enable stakeholders to develop wise and durable solutions, they also enable parties to work together productively in the future as new aspects of the issue will inevitably arise.

Integrative Problem Solving

Rather than compromise, participants commit to find solutions that integrate the most important needs and concerns of everyone involved.

Enough Time

Often a year or so is needed to build trust and enable relationships for the process to work.

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