Mediating Brain Health & Business Health: Enhancing the Workplace with Dispute System Design

Enhancing the workplace is no longer an endeavor towards maximizing profit and planning the next extravaganza with the proceeds. It’s a matter of organizational survival, and with it, our own.

There are many areas I could point to raise related points – environmental disruption and the need to transition the energy sector; mental health and the need to build systems adequate to meet those needs and a whole host more. There’s no shortage of challenges and work to do to meet them, but I’m here to suggest that the answer is not further up the same road – or a little longer on the hamster wheel, if you like.

Far from continuing on with business as usual, leaders like McKinsey and Harvard Business Review recognize we must make a shift towards resilience. But, I would argue, resilience is more than rethinking conventional Key Performance Indicators – KPI’s like cash flow, ROI, and profit margins. Resilience in my view is about establishing a robust framework for continuous, collaborative decision-making used to select and reselect KPIs as needed, because the volatility we are seeing now doesn’t seem to be slowing down… ever. If change is so constant and swift, the only sensible response is to learn to change better.

If change is so constant and swift, the only sensible response is to learn to change better.

Dispute System Design (DSD) may hold the keys to producing these collaborative decision-making frameworks for enhancing the workplace, but they will only work if this work supports the relationship at the core of business: the human-business relationship. Ken Cloke discusses the overlapping concepts of “Economic Conflicts” and the evolutionary limits of Capitalism in his most recent book, The Magic of Mediation.

In my presentation for this year’s Texas Association of Mediators professional development conference, I will talk about how we can bring this relationship into a kind of “symbiosis” with the help of Dispute Systems Design, potentially enhanced by Artificial Intelligence. I’m thrilled to make a contribution, however minor it may be, the Lisa Amsler’s work on Dispute System Design.

A.I. is to be all the rage at the moment, and of course for good reason at times, but this is not a topic thrown in ad hoc. I wouldn’t be talking about artificial intelligence if I didn’t think it were going to become as big of a factor as the human-business relationship itself. If we fail to take an active role with a long view, A.I. will continue having the dramatic effects it already has and we will be increasingly less positioned to adapt.

From “overemployed” individuals working 3-4 full time jobs with the help of A.I. to the actors guild collective bargaining agreements over the fate of an entire industry, these are just the beginning – but there’s still time to get a handle on these issues, and deploy A.I. as part of the solution rather than the problem.

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