The Power of Dissent: How It Leads to Innovative Thinking

To maintain or enhance effectiveness within fast changing and difficult circumstances, teams in businesses have to be inventive. 

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Team innovation refers to the introduction or implementation within a team of novel and intendedly beneficial ideas, methods, products, or procedures. Examples include a computer software to keep track of holidays and sick leave within the team, a policy for resolving complaints, a new strategy to release a product in the market, and a new service for loyal clients. 

For teams to be innovative, team members must produce creative ideas and evaluate these ideas critically, discarding those that appear useless and implementing those with potential. 

Dissent from the minority and the effectiveness of group decision making

Individuals who are a part of groups have a significant predisposition towards comfort and alignment with the perspective held by the majority of their group because group leaders frequently demand compliance and punish those who break from the norm. 

Even though conformity and compliance demands serve a useful purpose in that they make coordination and the completion of tasks easier, there are a few drawbacks to the practise of seeking concurrence that have been identified. 

The Importance Of Strong Dissent

The presentation of an opposing viewpoint in a group setting has been shown to increase the level of creativity displayed by the members of that group. It is via dissent that alternative thinking is encouraged, the quality of decision making is improved, and improved innovation is achieved.

An aggressive protest to the viewpoint of the majority or the consensus is an example of dissent. This is essentially the viewpoint of a small minority. The expression of dissent can serve to both liberate and stimulate our thoughts. It does this regardless of whether or not it is correct. It teaches us to fight the attitude of following the herd without fear and helps us become independent thinkers.

Minority voices inspire new ways of thinking, regardless of whether or not those who disagree with them are successful, or even when others deem the opinions of the minority to be incorrect. A way of thinking that is biassed and convergent is stimulated when there is consensus among the majority of people, whereas minority perspectives contradict the consensus among the majority of people and stimulate an unbiased way of thinking.

Putting Dissent in a Realistic Perspective

We have all been in meetings when there is always one individual who disagrees with everything else being discussed. It could be their attitude, their urge to exert control over others, or their desire to demonstrate how intelligent they are. It is helpful to have a framework that can improve your business’s innovation and creativity while yet maintaining its civility if you are going to systematically encourage disagreement within the organisation.

We all display our egos proudly, regardless of whether or not we are willing to accept it. A difference of opinion might be misinterpreted as a sign of contempt or even as an attack on the individual’s person.


(“Assessing the Work Environment for Creativity – Article – Faculty and Research – Harvard Business School”)

K. W. De Dreu, Carsten. Minority Dissent and Team Innovation: The Importance of Participation in Decision Making. Accessed 13 Feb. 2023.

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