the alchemy of conflict

Is your venture limiting the ability to innovate and change by avoiding conflict?

Eric Ries, the author of “The Lean Startup” emphasizes the danger of launching products without closely analyzing problems in order to discover weaknesses, before the competition discovers them. Tracking conflicts among employees and with customers is essential for achieving success as a venture that is striving for innovation. By seeking and embracing the conflicting views of a venture, executives can continuously improve their products and operations. Naturally, employees get trained not to point out weaknesses, fearing backlash from managers who don’t value conflicts. On the other hand customers wil freely complain, and if the amount of unhappy customers is low enough the problem will remain unsolved.

The TED Talk “Margaret Heffernan: Dare to Disagree” has a million views. Heffernan’s bio states, “she illustrates…great research teams, relationships, and businesses allow people to deeply disagree” and that she explains “conflict avoidance, and selective blindness”. Heffernan says, “[for constructive conflict] we have to resist neurobiological drives that make us prefer people mostly like ourselves.” She points out how conflict is a powerful form of caring about something.

This concept is fitting for developing and frontier markets, like ours, where conflict and disagreement are regularly blamed as barriers to growth. Years of political instability in Nepal have genuinely caused problems, but it has created a collective awareness for politics and public issues. Conflict in Nepal can be credited as breeding a new generation of innovators with the inspiration and intelligence to pull Nepal up in the world where it belongs, being the ground Buddha first walked on and the garden of Sagarmatha. Conflict in Nepal can be interpreted as a natural public challenge for a country with such complex diversity. The collective yet varying patriotic love for Nepal has stirred the passions of many to work for representation in the vast potentialities of Nepal’s emerging economy.

In a simplified example, the daily conflicts of anyone can be viewed as opportunities for innovation and profitable ventures. This is one of the best ways to create products and services that make people’s lives better.

Loyalty within a company and the loyalty of customers come down to the freedom to address issues and continuously solve problems. Without this method, any idea can rapidly become stagnant, obsolete, or simply suffer low quality.

Even from a philosophical perspective, it fits perfectly with Buddhist and Hindu teachings on ego and self-cherishing. Ego prevents personal development. The Four Nobel Truths and“Samsar are based on understanding conflict. Conflict is the last battle between Buddha and Mara under the Bodhi tree in the final days that led Buddha to enlightenment. If we don’t embrace the difficult truth we cannot grow. To get closer to our goal of reaching the highest forms and functions, ventures must renounce the comfort and protection of pride to figure out it’s own realities and the product’s flaws.

Innovation is about finding and solving problems. It has never been easier to launch a unique or a duplicated venture than today. To have a competitive edge, embracing and understanding the nature of conflict is essential.

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