Defend The Opposition
One of the problem solving exercises I use in live workshops helps participants to find positive elements and sparks of inspiration they can use even when they are forced to work on a project they may not feel is the best choice.
This exercise is also used to help people understand and respect different viewpoints, fosters a bit of empathy, and gives opposing sides a chance to walk a mile (or at least a couple blocks) in the shoes of their perceived antagonist.
If Group A is adamant that “Idea 1” is better and Group B is resolute in their belief that “Idea 2” is better, you’re going to have a hard time getting them to compromise.
I have found that the best way to see the value in an opposing viewpoint is to have to defend it.
This means you create a debate-style dialogue where Group A has to defend and promote Idea 2 (not Idea 1 that they all love so much!) and Group B must advocate for Idea 1 as if it were their first and only preferred choice.
The process here is that each group has to defend the ideas they didn’t believe in by convincingly presenting the benefits of this opposing side. They will now have to use reason and logic to scrape together enough evidence to defend this undesirable position, which gets them to separate from their strong emotional attachment to the original idea they liked so much.
If we could get Law Enforcement and Black Lives Matter to have discussions and debates with each other — but require they argue for and in support of the opposing view points, perspectives, and concerns — I believe a better understanding of the others situation might lead to some change that both sides could agree on as mutually beneficial.
It’s worth a try, right?
It doesn’t seem like the concept could do any worse than whatever methods they are using (or not using) right now.