Support parties to develop many possible solutions
An idea by: Patricia Booij Lieuwes Denise Haacke Maud Vennemans Marieke Zee
Brainstom in 5 phases
Storm phase During this phase, both parties are going to make up 6 possible solutions in 3 minutes. The solutions may help to get to the final solution. Because of the time pressure, parties are being encouraged to think creative. No solution can be wrong, this has to be clear for all parties. It is important not to give criticism on any of the ideas, this because criticism can have a negative outcome on the quantity and quality of the ideas. According to Fisher, Ury and Patton “joint brainstorming sessions have the great advantages of producing ideas which take into account the interests of all those involved, of creating a climate of joint problem-solving, and of educating each side about the concerns of the other’’. 
Exchange phase Both parties get to see the solutions the other party has made up. Each party chooses 3 solutions from the other party that they think can help them finding the final solution. Parties do not shout the ideas they come up with immediately, they have to write them done. This because brainstorming than is less productive; when one party gives his or her ideas the other party does not have the opportunity to give his or her own ideas, besides that parties can become unable to find new ideas themselves.
Negotiation phase: Together both parties are going to discuss the solutions that are still left. Both parties put their 3 solutions next to each other. Now they can see which solutions may seem similar and which perhaps can be combined. Parties work up to a final solution that works for them both. According to Osborn it is easier to reduce a lot of ideas to a good idea, than to find a solution to the problems in one idea. This is why we think brainstorming is so important; you can break through the difficulties in finding a way to work with just one solution, you can choose the best of all the possibilities given by the parties.
Composition phase: Every solution that now is left can be combined to make 1 proper solution for the dispute.
Solution: Now the ultimate solution for both parties has been reached.
 H. Prein, Trainingsboek conflicthantering en mediation, Houten: Bohn Stafleu Van Loghum 2009, p. 275.
 R. Fisher, W. Ury and B. Patton, Getting to Yes; negotiating an agreement without giving in, New York 1991, p. 65.
 Diehl, M., and Stroebe, W. Productivity Loss in Brainstorming Groups: Towards a Solution of a Riddle, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 53, 3 (1987), p. 497- 509.
 A. Osborn, Applied Imagination: Principles and Procedures of Creative Problem Solving, New York: Scribner 1963.
Creative solutions that are identified by the parties themselves are often the most effective. How do you get parties to work on creative solutions, instead of blaming each other?
What to do
Making people see what happens if they do not find a solution: Facilitators of CEWLA in Egypt explain to parties the risks of not finding a solution and going to court.
Emphasize that parties need to find a solution themselves: The Karen facilitators in north Thailand and lawyers for Praxis in Azerbaijan emphasize that the parties need to find a solution to the problem together and support creative thinking.
Ask Direct Questions: Praxis lawyers in Azerbaijan ask direct questions about parties' interests and needs. This helps to focus the discussion on the important issues.
Allow for different scenarios to exist next to each other. Sometimes the truth cannot be determined objectively. Or the perceptions of the parties on the facts, issues, possible outcomes are simply not compatible. In the Dutch Code of Conduct for Handling Personal Injury Claims, Principle 14 states: If circumstances are difficult to determine, parties consult on possible outcomes (scenarios).
This is the technique in which agreement on one aspect of the problem is linked to finding an agreement on another aspect. Example: If A agrees that B can continue to live in the house, what could B do for A to help him with the harvest?
Increasing the pie
This is a technique in which the facilitator guides parties to new solutions by increasing the scope of what is included in the negotiation.
Additional techniques for finding creative solutions:
Schonewille, M. (2005) Mediation toolkit
Brainstorming instruction is an effective method for increasing the production of good ideasIt works for a particular type of creative thinking problems, and is even more effective if preceded by extensive training in its use.
Effects of "brainstorming" instructions on creative problem solving by trained and untrained subjects.Parnes, Sidney J.; Meadow, Arnold
Journal of Educational Psychology, Vol 50(4), Aug 1959, 171-176.
: 4 steps to generate solutions:
R. Fisher, W. Ury and B. Patton, Getting to Yes; negotiating an agreement without giving in, New York 1991, p. 65.
Parties may address issues one at a time, in an ad hoc manner. The parties may alternate choosing issues to discuss. They may work from most to least important issues, or from easiest to more difficult issues. They may start by identifying which issues are key, and which issues are contingent on other agreements. They may package issues together to enable balanced trade-offs.
Moore, C., The Mediation Process: Practical Strategies for Resolving Conflict, 3th ed., San Francisco: Jossey-Bass Publishers, 2003
Finding solutions through a creative brainstorm can produce novel and useful solutions. This is particularly true if all solutions each party can think of are written down without shouting them out, prior to a collaboration or exchange process. This accesses the largest number of possible solutions, thus improving the chances of finding an appropriate solution. Diehl, M. & Stroebe, W. (1987) 'Productivity Loss in Brainstorming Groups: Towards a Solution to a Riddle'. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 53(3) p.497
Try to make sure that the facilitation is not conducted as a 'performance', where one person is 'performing' for all the rest. Generate a 'concert' where all participants are taking part. In this way, the best ideas will come to the fore.
The Handbook of Conflict Resolution (2006) Deutsch, M., Coleman, P. T., & Marcus, E. C. (Eds). Jossey-Bass, San Francisco, US.
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