Using Conflict to Spark Creativity

Using Conflict to Spark Creativity
Duration: 60 Minutes
Module 1Module 1
Recorded on: 2023-02-28
Unit 1Presentation Materials: Using Conflict to Spark Creativity
Unit 2Transcript: Using Conflict to Spark Creativity
Unit 3Workbook: Using Conflict to Spark Creativity
Unit 4Recording: Using Conflict to Spark Creativity

Conflict is often seen negatively. As people see conflict as something that must be avoided at all costs, people are rarely equipped with tools on how to resolve conflicts let alone leverage conflicts into something productive. This webinar will explore how conflict can be a powerful catalyst for creativity, driving people to think differently and come up with new solutions to problems in the workplace.

Leading the discussion is Margaret Crowley, the owner of Crowley Mediation and a partner in Mediator Training Center. Her firm provides mediation services for a variety of legal issues. She also provides training in mediation and mediator coaching.

Specifics of this session include:

  • Humans’ tendency to avoid conflicts and the need to view conflict from a different lens.
  • Determining whether a conflict is good based on the workplace environment it is happening in and the type of conflict that is unfolding.
  • The two types of workplace environments where conflict may arise – functional or dysfunctional, the qualities of each, and how these impact the people within and how conflicts emerge.
  • The types of conflict that may materialize in workplaces – task conflict vs. relationship conflict – and the characteristics of each.
  • A rundown of the different common workplace conflicts that emerge, what each of these looks like, and discerning whether these have more of a task conflict or relationship conflict attributes.
  • Our tendency to view and approach every conflict as a relationship conflict, the disadvantages of doing so, and how this affects us.
  • An example of expectation mismatches in generational differences in the workplace.
    • The four generations that are currently active in workplaces and how they view generational differences and how the differences can result in opportunities to learn from each other or in conflicts.
    • A look into the skills that each generation believes to be their edge in the workplace.
    • Approaching generational differences as a type of task conflict where the diversity in skills can result in creative decision-making and better solutions.
  • The benefits of the task conflict approach in terms of espousing knowledge sharing and enhancing creativity in problem-solving.
  • Divergent thinking and how this is used typically in brainstorming.
  • Convergent thinking and how this is used to find the best solution from an array of options and why this shouldn’t be mistaken for conformity or groupthink.
  • Steps and considerations when approaching workplace conflicts.
    • The critical first step of determining whether it is a task or relationship conflict.
    • Managing the problem by encouraging teamwork, discouraging groupthink, and fostering creativity.
  • A brainstorming exercise that applies divergent thinking and the guidelines to make brainstorming effective by using open-ended questions, keeping it creative and fun, allowing silence, and encouraging as many solutions as possible without evaluating them immediately.
  • The four creative process steps to implement when trying to resolve a problem in the workplace.
    • Starting with preparation to identify and articulate the problem by seeking the opinion of those involved.
    • Slipping into incubation to allow ourselves to sit in the problem and come up with possible solutions.
    • Moving into illumination where we try to arrive at an aha moment in terms of the best solution to the problem at hand.
    • Verification where the ideas that resulted from illumination are reality tested to ensure that the option chosen is the best solution to implement.

Questions from the webinar attendees are about:

  • How employees may tend to not share their ideas for fear that supervisors may feel threatened.
  • Staying in the discomfort of conflict when we’re conflict averse and haven’t had much experience with it.
  • The fine balance between being open to new ideas while also embracing existing effective processes.
  • Conflict resolution in the different team formation stage.
  • Dealing with individuals who operate in dysfunction.



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Resources and Handouts


Audience Comments

  • “Using Brainstorming to help identify the problem. Understanding that sometimes you may only think you know the problem.” — Antonya
  • “I love that the instructor mentioned it’s normal to have conflict. Some think it’s not and get easily offended and shut down. We all can’t agree all the time, it’s impossible.” — Cecilia
  • “I liked the slide that explained how the different age groups can benefit the workplace.” — Elisa
  • “I thought the most valuable learning points were categorizing conflict as relationship or task conflicts and learning what the different generation’s strongest skillsets were.”– Lucia
  • “I loved your activity session.” — Maribel
  • “I appreciate the resources I can share with my management team.” — Miranda
  • “This webinar was great!” — Victor
  • “The presenter’s knowledge and presentation format was engaging and she was thoughtful and in-depth in her response to questions. AWESOME!!!” — Vivian
  • “The most valuable thing I learned was to make sure we vet all of the creative ideas we or our group come up with.” — Karen


Additional Resources
1 year ago
After the Webinar: Using Conflict to Spark Creativity. Q&A with Margaret Crowley
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