The value of seemingly random dialgoue

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Have you ever noticed that multi-party dialogues are not linear. They follow a wandering path. 

Someone makes a point and it triggers an idea in another person that is only partially related and it stimulates an idea in another. It goes further in that direction until someone else is stimulated with a thought and brings it back to the original line of inquiry.

It is easy to dismiss all that messy dialogue as irrelevant. However, the meanderings of a good dialogue can be valuable.

They can tell you what is really the problem.

If you see someone changing the topic, it might mean that there is an underlying tension that someone is trying to avoid. By noticing that and uncovering that tension you could end up saving days, weeks, or even months of inefficient effort.

The best creativity occurs when seemingly unrelated concepts and ideas are connected.  The nonlinear path of a dialogue is one way to find those connections. 

So, there is a lot to be gained by paying attention to the meandering course of a dialogue

Why is it then that the traditional way to take minutes assumes linearity and simplicity? 

It is better to listen to complexity. One way to make this possible it to capture the multiple dimensions of a dialogue. Simply identifying and categorising the 'issues', 'risks', 'tensions', and 'opportunities' goes a long way towards making sure you make the most out of a dialogue.

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Scott Wagers

"The Consortium Whisperer" Physician and researcher who has spent the last 12 years engaged in developing biomedical R&D consortia, as well as designing and supporting the delivery of consortium based projects.

No matter who you are, you can, and you should innovate through consortia. They are the only way to make a big difference to the future of medicine. Want to find out how? Get in touch.