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Arts & Culture

Is Conflict Good For Progress?

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episodeMaking Mistakes.

About Margaret Heffernan's TED Talk

Most people instinctively avoid conflict, but Margaret Heffernan says good disagreement is central to progress. She argues the best partners aren't echo chambers, and how great teams, relationships and businesses allow people to deeply disagree.

About Margaret Heffernan

We bring children up to imagine that there is a right answer, and that intelligence is about knowing that right answer. And therefore if you get a wrong answer, you're stupid.

The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray. How do organizations think? In her book, Willful Blindness, Margaret Heffernan examines why businesses and the people who run them often ignore the obvious — with consequences as dire as the global financial crisis and Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

Heffernan began her career in television production, building a track record at the BBC before going on to run the film and television producer trade association, IPPA. In the U.S., Heffernan became a serial entrepreneur and CEO in the wild early days of Web business and was named one of the Internet's Top 100 by Silicon Alley Reporter in 1999.

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