By Michel Ghazal
To begin with, my definition of negotiation is as follows: it is a means to invent a new solution in a situation where there are both common and divergent interests, with the aim of reaching an agreement that is less costly than the conflict (MESORE).
Therefore, whether the negotiations are simple or complex, the negotiator's objective is to be inventive to find acceptable and workable solutions to the problem they are facing.
However, every time I have been asked to help break a deadlock in a negotiation, either as counsel for one of the parties or as a mediator for both parties, I have been struck by the fact that there are so few ideas on the table for breaking the deadlock. Very often, I have found myself in the presence of one or two ideas at most, and these were none other than the positions adopted by the protagonists at the start of the conflict...
What are the reasons for the shortage of ideas that negotiators generally suffer from?
SKILLS AND ATTITUDES THAT KILL CREATIVITY AND ARE BRAKES ON VALUE CREATION
Several problematic behaviours and attitudes soon became apparent to me:
The certainty of holding the truth
Overestimating one's self-confidence is a bias that locks the negotiator into certainties, notably that he holds the truth. Being sure of himself, he will not only neglect the preparation of his negotiation, but he will measure his effectiveness by his ability to impose his solution, the only one he would accept. However, in any negotiation, if there is one certainty, it is that the grey areas - particularly concerning the other party - and the uncertainties are omnipresent. Be curious to explore the concerns and interests of others is crucial in terms of the ability to come up with new solutions that the parties did not think of before starting their negotiation.
Fear of trapping yourself with your idea
Negotiators avoid giving new ideas that come to mind for fear that their counterparts will see them as concessions and/or a 'compromise' proposal that prevents any possibility of going back without denying themselves. Therefore, fearing to compromise their position in the negotiation, negotiators prefer to wait for their interlocutors to make the first move. Since the latter have the same attitude, both can wait a very long time... As a result, the ideas put forward to solve the problem are limited and impoverished.
Rejection of the other's ideas
Paradoxically, as soon as the other party puts forward the slightest idea or proposal, the other party rushes in, either to make an immediate counter-proposal or, quite simply, to dismiss it. Indeed, as every negotiator thinks, if the other party has made this proposal, it should be favourable to them. And, since the underlying assumption is that the interests are contradictory, this proposal is necessarily bad for oneself. The critical mind is always quick to point out the flaws in any new idea.
Disputes and arguments are not based on objective realities. They are often based on the differing views of the parties involved. These thoughts are determined by their perceptions of the situation, which lead them to a certain view of reality. Neuroscience is of great use to negotiators here. They alert us to the sources of error in perceptions, evaluation and judgements generated by mental reflexes and "quick thinking".
The following anecdote illustrates this obstacle to successful negotiated conflict management. Ulittle girl is holding an apple in both hands when her mother enters the room. With a big smile, her mother gently says, "Honey, would you give Mommy one of your two apples? The girl looked at her mother for a few seconds and then suddenly took a bite of the first apple and proceeded to swallow it quickly. The mother's smile freezes on her face. No sooner has the daughter finished her first apple than she rushes to take a bite of the second. The mother finds it increasingly difficult to hide her disappointment. Then the little girl hands one of the two apples to her mother and says, "Here, Mommy, this one is much better..
Our perceptions are necessarily partisan and biased and do not always reflect the truth. Note the difference between the little girl's intention and the mother's interpretation of it. Of the information available to them, they will retain that which confirms their first impressions and ignore that which would force them to question them. More generally, people only see what they want to see, and they are quicker to criticise what surprises them. Hasty judgements are thus a major obstacle to the creation of ideas.
Fear of being laughed at or called crazy
"I'm surprised that such an idea could come from you", or "Come on, let's be serious, you know our rules and you know that this is out of the question" are the kind of reactions that the negotiator wants to avoid at all costs. As a result, they are likely to become reluctant to think outside the box and prefer to stick to what is known and less risky.
These attitudes reduce the chances of reaching innovative or daring solutions and lead inexorably to results that are far from optimal. How often inferior agreements are reached; how often untapped, undiscovered wealth is left on the table; how often deadlock and escalating conflicts are the sad consequence.
THE ASSUMPTIONS BEHIND THESE BLOCKAGES AND WHICH "SEIZE UP" THE NEGOTIATIONS: HOW TO OVERCOME THEM?
In order to overcome these blockages, it is necessary to understand first of all what leads to these behaviours that are harmful to problem solving by inventing creative solutions.
One answer lies in the underlying assumptions and preconceptions about negotiation, what it is and what it is not, how it should be conducted to satisfy one's own interests.
Three in particular stand out:
- Negotiation would be comparable to a competition: the only valid objective would be to win a victory over the other;
- The cake would be limited once and for all: what one gains, the other necessarily loses. As much as this may be true in a souk when it comes to negotiating the price of a carpet, in other negotiations, especially in companies, other objects of negotiation exist: the quality of service, the delivery time, the granting of a credit, the establishment of a lasting relationship, etc.
According to Max H. Bazerman and Margaret A. Neale (1992; in particular Myth of the Fixed-Pie of Resources), this hypothesis prevents the perception that negotiators can make a barter by linking two negotiation objects valued differently by each of them. It is indeed possible to link an object that is valued low by one of the negotiators but considered important by the other, with an object that the former values highly but that is minor for the latter;
- The other party's interests and its own would necessarily be antagonistic and divergent: this would suggest that there are no common or shared interests and would encourage them to be ignored. However, reality proves the contrary.
It is recognised that effectiveness in negotiation depends on the ability to manage three types of tension:
- The tension between the opportunities for value creation (enlarging the cake) and the need to fix the shares of each party by claiming and distributing the wealth created;
- The ability of the negotiator to be both empathetic to the needs of the other and assertive in asserting their own interests;
- the tension between defending the interests of the principal, to avoid damaging them, and those of the agent, who must have sufficient freedom of manoeuvre to negotiate creatively.
The presence in any negotiation of these two forces - value creation and value reclamation - places the negotiator before what theorists call the negotiator's dilemma In order to satisfy its interests, is it better to adopt a cooperative strategy (oriented towards value creation) or a competitive strategy (oriented towards value reclamation)? Let us detail these two strategies (Lax and Sebenius, 1986).
Adopting a competitive strategy means denying the existence of this dilemma by considering that wealth is limited once and for all. As a result, the negotiator will mainly claim value by having a Win/Lose attitude. There is therefore no potential to create value, which causes the negotiation to stall and, even if an agreement is reached, its outcome is often unsatisfactory for at least one of the parties, and often both. If it is an ongoing relationship, this can only be problematic when it comes to dealing with each other again.
Adopting a cooperative strategy means denying the existence of the value claim by adopting a resolutely Win/Win attitude focused above all on value creation. With this spirit of openness, the negotiator is led to hope that the other party will in turn be open, reasonable and fair. Unfortunately, when faced with a 'tough' negotiator, the cooperative negotiator quickly becomes vulnerable and risks being exploited. The competitive negotiator takes advantage of this to take everything and give nothing in return...
We can see that these two strategies are far from being effective and achieving the desired result. It is therefore necessary to know how to enlarge the cake by creating value and to be capable of doing so, at the same timeIt is not possible to claim value to secure one's share at the time of sharing. There is only one method that makes this possible when it is well understood and applied: the mutual gains strategy.
HOW TO BE COOPERATIVE AND OPEN TO A STRATEGY OF VALUE CREATION BY REDUCING ONE'S VULNERABILITY TO THE WILL OF THE OTHER TO RAID ALL THE VALUE CREATED?
First, it is essential to develop methods that increase the negotiator's creative ability to generate ideas to resolve complex negotiations. Secondly, it is necessary to be assertive and determined to defend one's own interests by claiming a share of the value created.
What are the ways to create value in negotiation? Here is a reminder of the main paths:
Capitalising on differences
When negotiators come across differences, they usually think that they are the cause of disagreements, friction and blockages. In fact, according to many authors - David Lax and James Sebenius, Max Bazerman, Roger Fisher and William Ury, Jeffrey Rubin, etc. - differences often constitute an opportunity to create value. There are a range of differences that can be capitalised on to create mutual gains:
- Differences in tastes and preferences.
Sf a vegetarian has meat and a carnivore has vegetables, the difference in their preferences makes it possible to agree.
- Differences in predictions, forecasts or prognoses.
In the negotiation of a toll bridge, a public works company won the tender by offering a higher price if it completed the work before the deadline set by the municipality (allowing the municipality to earn revenue more quickly) and a lower price if the work was delayed.
I recommended to a friend who had to move into a house he bought on a specific date, knowing that he had to move out of his house, which he had sold, that he offer the chosen company a bonus if the work is completed before the deadline, rather than penalties for delay. This is more likely to motivate the contractor to meet his commitments and finish on time...
- Differences in the value placed on time
One is concerned with the present, the other with the future. When buying a house, for example, it is possible to agree to pay a higher price if the seller grants a delay in payment...
- Differences in risk aversion
Some of us like risk, others less so. How do we share the risk? If a singer believes that he or she will fill the venue, but the event organiser is not sure, paying a lower guaranteed fee and giving a premium based on the venue's fill rate allows both parties to reach an agreement.
A contractor considers that it is sufficient to dig one metre for the foundations, whereas the client has seen his neighbours dig more than three metres. Rather than finding a compromise of 1.5 metres, both parties can agree to have an outside expert tell them, given the nature of the land, how deep the foundations need to be in order to ensure safe construction of the building...
These can take many forms and relate to process or content; reputation or outcome; symbolic or practical considerations; attitudes to setting a precedent; criteria for measuring success; differing assessments of the attractiveness of using an arbitration or mediation procedure.
For example, in the face of the current severe economic crisis in Lebanon, many companies have agreed to keep their employees in exchange for a reduction in wages, usually by 50%, and a reduction in working hours.
The more it is possible to bring out what is valuable to one without costing the other, the greater the chances of reaching an agreement. This defeats one of the most common preconceived ideas in negotiation: "Everything I give to the other necessarily costs me"...
These differences contain an optimistic message about the possibility of value creation because they create opportunities to invent mutual gains. Another definition of negotiation may therefore be: "The art of exploiting differences"...
Building on differences in interests
Observation shows that, very often, the first ideas that come to the mind of one party to satisfy its own interests are contradictory to the ideas that come to the mind of the other party to satisfy its own. As a result, the negotiators get stuck in their positions, which they confuse with their interests. To break the deadlock due to the resulting positional wars, the principle is to find out whether there are interests in the other party that are not contradictory to one's own. Sometimes this can be done by simply asking the questions: "What is the nature of the conflict? Why ?" and " Why not ?". This helps to find the interests underlying the positions. What the "mutual gains strategy" reveals is that often the interests simply turn out to be different, while the positions are almost always divergent and contradictory.
To illustrate this point, here's a story my daughter told me recently about a conflict with her four-and-a-half year old. It was January, and for her swimming lesson, with the cold weather, her swimming teacher recommended wearing a waistcoat. The little girl refused categorically, and resisted her mother's insistence. The mother finally resigned herself but told her that the next time she would have to wear it. The following week, her daughter refused again and started to cry. When her mother asks why she refuses, she is surprised to hear her daughter say: "I don't want to wear it. My shirt will no longer be visible ".
My daughter suddenly realises that her and her daughter's interests were simply different. Her interest as a mother was to prevent her daughter from getting cold and sick, and her daughter's interest was purely aesthetic. This difference in concerns allowed her to come up with a solution that would have been totally unthinkable at first: she suggested that her daughter put her swimming costume over the waistcoat. She offered to put her daughter's shirt on over the vest, which she did with good grace and without complaint...
Exploiting common or shared interests
Even before they begin their discussion, two diplomats from two warring countries already share at least one common interest: to show that they have each fulfilled their role as advocates of their respective countries' interests... Often, negotiators share many common interests. The desire to do better than their BATNA, their best alternative to a negotiated agreement by avoiding the cost of a non-agreement, or the desire to realise all possible benefits from the agreement, are two minimum common interests. In a divorceFor example, future ex-spouses share at least two common interests: not to empty their pockets and enrich their lawyers to their detriment, and to preserve the balance of their children by seeking to protect them from the negative effects of the separation.
It is therefore advisable, when preparing for negotiations, to search tirelessly for common interests, as they are one of the major levers for building agreements with mutual gains. The spouses may decide to use a lawyer chosen by mutual agreement. Another scenario is that each chooses one counsel, and both counsel choose a third.
Many interests may be common: preserving the relationship; fighting a common enemy; satisfying a higher objective; not being "taken advantage of", etc. Discovering them, especially during the preparation phase, recalling them and relying on them throughout the negotiation, is a formidable incentive for overcoming blockages by tirelessly inventing ideas for solutions, then called options.
Multiplying the objects of negotiation
Among the essential elements of a good preparation, it is recommended to list exhaustively all the points or items to be negotiated: delivery time, price, insurance, guarantees, financing conditions, etc.
But this can be problematic if the parties decide to negotiate each point separately and freeze the outcome with no way of going back. In thinking they are doing the right thing, this certainly deprives them of the opportunity to trade off one item for another, only to discover that everyone values them differently...
It is therefore advisable to lay down a rule at the beginning of the negotiation that as long as you do not agree on everything, you agree on nothing. This increases the likelihood that the result of the negotiation will bring optimum satisfaction on all the points under discussion, for all the parties.
But beware of bluffing. Let's take the example of a divorce negotiation with two objects: child custody and child support. The husband may lie and pretend that he wants parental responsibility, when this is not true. By pretending that it costs him to give up on this point, he can hope to obtain a reduction in the amount of alimony...
Imagining economies of scale
These can create value without the presence of differences or common interests. By merging, two companies combine their IT departments, thereby reducing their operating costs. They will also be able to obtain greater discounts from their suppliers due to a greater volume of purchases. More generally, they reduce costs by avoiding duplication.
Once the cake has been enlarged by the creation of value, it must then be shared. There is a risk that the parties will again fall into a positional war over the division of the wealth created.
How value is created thus affects how it is divided, and how traders share value affects its creation.
Fortunately, the "mutual gains strategy" guards against this risk, as it requires the negotiator not only to be creative and cooperative in creating value, but also to be assertive and firm in defending his or her interests, while not failing to claim value. However, this should be done without forgetting to show empathy for the interests and concerns of the other.
Although the many clients I have had the pleasure of working with or training over the last thirty years understand very well and very quickly the advantages to be gained from inventing new options, several of them, whom I was able to see again after my training courses, told me: "OK, we understand that we have to invent options to get out of the box. But I tell my interlocutors, let's get out of the framework and ... nothing comes out". What can we do?
THREE CONCRETE SOLUTIONS TO OVERCOME THE POVERTY OF IDEAS
I realised that in order to successfully develop my clients' negotiation skills, I had to get them to think differently their negotiations by complementing this learning with the development of their innovation and imagination. Three types of actions help to achieve this:
Training negotiators to be creative
Creativity, which helps to create value, involves two qualities:
- fluidityThis is a matter of knowing how to "turn on the tap" to generate a maximum number of ideas. The probability of reaching agreement is greater if there are more ideas to choose from...
- flexibility or mental agilityThis implies the ability to change the category of solution. It is a way to access originality. Shifted thinking (thinking out of the box, It is a question of energy, of stepping back and, above all, of putting in place methods to avoid being stuck in one place at the beginning of a project. It is a question of energy, of stepping back and, above all, of putting in place methods so as not to be stuck at the first thought.
I therefore organised training courses with specialists to provide negotiators with creativity tools and techniques. The aim was to help them to " think differently "The aim is to correct the "mental slides" and the associated risks, by forcing them to go further than their first ideas, which are often positions. I remind you that the chance of arriving at an acceptable idea is greater if we have the choice between ten, fifteen or twenty ideas rather than between one, two or three...
In the panoply of creativity techniques and tools provided by innovation specialists, beyond the classic brainstormingSome of them quickly appeared to me as more easily transposable and integrable to negotiation situations: the six hats, the brainwritingthe Angel's lawyer or the virtual candids. 
The use of these approaches makes it possible to establish an initial phase known as "divergence "This is an open and noncommittal exploration of the problem posed, before the so-called "convergence" phase, to decide and choose from the options found. To these methods it is possible to add the warm-up exercises used in improvisational comedy. A study revealed that the many exercises used in improv comedy strongly encourage associative thinking. Thus, during a brainstorming session, it increased the production of ideas by an average of 37 %.
Other exercises can also be used as "fuel" to free the mind and promote the ability to generate ideas. For example, the augmentation of sayings that we use in our daily lives. Thus, rather than trying to "cut the pear in two", we should cut it in twenty; or kill twenty birds with one stone; or look for noon at twenty o'clock; or go twenty ways...
Relaxing and freeing the mind, being encouraged to explore multiple new options, being motivated to bounce ideas off others to improve or deepen them, all support the common goal of arriving together at solutions potentially acceptable to all. There is no doubt that in complex, multi-stakeholder negotiations that take place in ongoing relationships, the added value of using creativity to create value and expand the pie will be greater than in one-shot, single-issue negotiations (one issue to negotiate: price).
But be careful, succeeding in involving your interlocutor and making him a partner in the search for original ideas presupposes an essential prerequisite: putting in place the conditions to create a real feeling of security in him: that his ideas will not be used against him.
Negotiate and establish new rules of the game and procedures for value creation
Reducing inhibitions and releasing creative energies to reduce the risk of escalation and increase the chance of reaching a creative agreement, involves fundamental changes in attitude, behaviour and practice as well as changes in the rules of the game. The aim is to have the means to better manage the tension between creating and claiming value.
- Supportive attitudes and behaviour
The key is to come to the negotiating table with a willingness to learn rather than a willingness to convince. Here are some attitudes and behaviours that are conducive to generating new ideas:
- Show the other person that they are really listened to and that their concerns are well integrated;
- Be flexible and 'conditionally' open, not being locked into your initial ideas;
- Avoid certainty by being curious about what the other person thinks;
- Inspire confidence in the other (at the beginning of the process: create a climate of security and trust favourable to the free association of ideas; during the process: avoid arousing distrust, be reliable and trustworthy);
- Demonstrate an ability to look at problems from different angles
- Avoiding and tempering criticism to limit resistance to new ideas
- Know how to use humour to lighten the mood because it " has the advantage of humanising you in the eyes of your interlocutor"William Ury (2006) recommends. Studies have shown that those who work in an environment where humour is present are more creative. Humour is a real fuel for creative thinking;
- Avoid anything that might make the other person lose face.
- Preferred Practices, Processes and Tactics
It is also important to focus on practices, processes, tactics and, more generally, ways of doing things that encourage mutual cooperation and avoid those that reveal a desire to capture the 'lion's share' of the gains made. The following is a non-exhaustive list of such practices, processes and techniques:
- Multiply ideas before accepting or rejecting them by organising and reserving specific times for creativity;
- Present your ideas as options to be considered, not as 'take it or leave it' solutions;
- Avoid presenting your idea as the only idea that will be accepted;
- Explore the reasons why the other person rejects my idea rather than turning it into a position;
- Put in brackets the first ideas for solutions that come to mind;
- Involve and involve the other person in the development of solutions
- Encourage the opposite party to come up with ideas that will satisfy them by asking them directly;
- Explore a proposal made by the opposite party before accepting or rejecting it;
- Build on the other person's idea by improving it to make it more acceptable
- Separating the invention of ideas from the decision-making and commitment phase on the other hand
- Avoid immediate counter-proposals;
- Moving from face-to-face to side-by-side in terms of the problem to be solved;
- Avoid insults and personal attacks;
- Separate the relationship from the problem to be solved;
- Arrange for breaks and recesses;
- Use a mediator to overcome reluctance and prevent invention from increasing divisions. He can be given the concession; he can show a positive face of the other...
- Helping the other to save face;
- Remind them of the importance of monitoring the relationship to reduce the temptation to defect;
- Avoid cheating on your priorities and wishes.
This is not advice on the substance of the negotiation, but on how to deal with it. What can facilitate the establishment of these mechanisms is to negotiate them upstream, as methods and rules of the game to facilitate the negotiation of the substance itself. It is a negotiation on form before negotiation on the substance. It can be time-consuming, but it certainly saves a lot of time afterwards...
- Introduction of an innovative procedure: the second-level joint committee
Since, as we have seen, there are many obstacles to creativity:
- the fear that the new idea brought in will commit the decision-maker who submits it;
- the fear that it will be seen as a concession that will push the other party to demand more;
- the fear of appearing weak in the eyes of their constituents by agreeing to be flexible and accepting the exploration of options far removed from their original positions;
And knowing that if there are ten or fifteen ideas on the table, it is easier to find the right solution than if there are only one or two, here is a procedure that I used successfully during the banana conflict in Martinique and which provides a concrete solution to these obstacles: the creation of a " of a second level joint committee ".
Following the United States' demand for the abolition of European subsidies to banana producers, the four unions in the sector launched a strike, which blocked the island of Martinique for several weeks, over a number of demands, including considerable wage increases, at a time when the producers were facing financial difficulties. The blockade was total. I recommended to the growers' cooperatives, which called on me for help, to set up this procedure with the unions. After a stage designed to explain the method and reassure them of its implications, I obtained the support of all the stakeholders. I was then able to bring them together in a neutral place: the hotel where I was staying.
After setting clear rules to avoid aggression and personal attacks, I allowed everyone to vent. I was then able to offer the group a series of creative methods, starting with the Brainwriting, to generate a maximum number of ideas. After deleting the most outlandish of them together, we were able to keep about fifteen ideas that met the four points on the agenda of this negotiation. We then submitted them to the official negotiators. A week later, an agreement was signed, but not without some very tense moments...
In practice, this procedure creates a double separation:
- between the inventors of ideas and the decision-makers who have the power to commit. Its members are representatives of the official negotiators and know the file inside out. However, they have one particularity: they are reputed not to have no decision-making power. This is in comparison to first-level negotiators who are able to make commitments on behalf of their side. This committee is responsible for generating as many ideas for solutions as possible to break the deadlock whenever it arises;
- between the invention of ideas and the commitment to those ideas.
As soon as the formal negotiation stumbles on a problem, rather than breaking off, it stops and the second-level committee meets, with the task of looking for a quantity of ideas and solutions without worrying about their quality in order to resolve the conflict.
This is facilitated by an external, neutral facilitator, experienced in mediation and creative methods, and accepted by all. With no fear of being trapped by their ideas, a surprising harvest of new options, which the parties did not think of at the outset, can be harvested. All that remains is to submit these ideas to the official delegation, thereby re-launching the discussions.
The likelihood of reaching an agreement acceptable to all, without going down the slippery slope of concessions, is thus considerably increased. Everyone wins...
The success of this procedure presupposes prior negotiation and the acceptance of several rules of the game:
- confidentialityNo public statements to the media are allowed until the negotiation is completed as this is a complicating factor;
- participation To be associated as far as possible all actorsaffected by the decision but not the decision-makers themselves;
- neutralityTo organize creativity sessions with this committee, led by a neutral external facilitator accepted by all;
- objectivityTo submit new ideas to official decision-makers for further discussion and review against objective criteria;
- continuity of the relationshipThe aim is to meet for new creative sessions as soon as there is a block in the official negotiations. In this way, the official negotiations are simply suspended and the relationship is never broken off.
This procedure was successfully used in South Africa during the negotiations between Frederick De Klerk and Nelson Mandela to bring that country out of apartheid.
Achieving an outcome in the form of an optimised agreement (which exploits all the interests and possibilities on the table) requires strategies that seek mutual gain, not victory over the other.
This implies a radical change in the rules of the game and sometimes involves going against one's own natural tendencies and ingrained practices. As a result, the chance of getting others to cooperate and get involved in coming up with creative solutions to a problem is increased tenfold.
Thus, if one of the parties dares to negotiate differently, the inevitable tension between value creation and value reclamation can be better managed, making a mutually beneficial and acceptable outcome more readily available.
Bazerman Max H. and Margaret A. Neale (1992), Negotiating RationallyFree Press.
Fisher Roger, William Ury and Bruce Patton (2006), How to Succeed in a NegotiationParis, Seuil.
Ghazal Michel and Bertrand Reynaud (2008)The two of us, it's overParis, Seuil.
Ghazal Michel and Yves Halifa (1997), Move along, there's nothing to negotiateParis, Seuil.
Lax David A. and James K. Sebenius (1986), The Manager as NegotiatorFree Press.
Rubin Jeffrey, Dean Pruitt and Sung Hee Kim (1994), Social ConflictMcGraw Hill.
Ury William (2006), How to negotiate with difficult peopleParis, Seuil.
 The MESORE, the best alternative to a negotiated agreement, makes it possible, if prepared in advance of the negotiation, to define the threshold at which the negotiator will prefer not to reach an agreement.
 See my article : http://www.negociateurs-sans-frontieres.fr/la-curiosite-quel-fantastique-defaut/
 See my book co-authored with Bertrand ReynaudThe two of us, it's over (2008).
 This is how my colleague Mario Varvoglis, expert creativity consultant at the European Negotiation Centre, defines them: the Six Hats by Edouard de Bono, encourages an in-depth analysis of a topic by adopting six different and complementary postures: critical thinking, feelings and emotions, creativity, factual orientation, constructive approach and synthesis. This technique is very suitable in the preparation phase.
The BrainWritingBrainstorming is a method based on ideas being written down rather than spoken as in Brainstorming. Once each participant has written down his or her idea, he or she turns the sheet over to the person next to him or her, who can use it as inspiration and react to the suggestions already made. If there are ten people, one hundred ideas are collected.
The Angel's AdvocateThis is the antithesis of the devil's advocate. This method encourages a focus on the weaknesses and flaws of an idea, but rather on how to move it forward into a solid and acceptable option.
The technique of Virtual Candids forces you to imagine the remarks, observations, ideas or questions that characters, at first sight remote from the problem posed, would make: a doctor, a lawyer, a child, a teacher, a fireman, Freud or even Steve Jobs... Each one has its specificities and would give a different angle of view and perspective.
 See my article : https://cenego.com/la-confiance-en-negociation-comment-la-developper-et-quand-sen-mefier/
 Vanessa Marcié (2020), "Humour as a catalyst for creativity", Harvard Business Review : https://www.hbrfrance.fr/chroniques-experts/2020/03/29547-lhumour-un-catalyseur-de-creativite/
 See my book, written with Yves Halifa: Move along, there's nothing to negotiate (1997).