Contact ICIT   Founded 1988

Collaboration - The Next Generation

Replace compromise with breakthroughs, alignment, and commitment

Radically increase performance and improve morale

Significantly reduce costs and shorten schedules

Emphasize visually intense dialogue rather than verbal interchange

Solicit conflict to improve creativity and build on each other’s ideas

Transform thought into group wisdom to create “best fit” solutions


topics of interest


“Structured Thought” is key to The Future of Collaboration

Using Structured Thought Processes is very different than the use of more traditional round table, or facilitated, discussion formats.  Structured Thought Processes practically eliminate the inadequacies of groupthink and replace the negative aspects of overly dominant personality types with the positive characteristics of talented individuals who work as a group to make decisions that are truly wise.  (...more)



- Know your Customers and Stakeholders -


- Focus your Resources -


We conduct group work sessions that
consistently transform diversity or contention into

ideal solutions,
with buy-in, on time

We emphasize “learn by doing” so that
superior results help to cause a paradigm shift

“Team training” is NOT required
“Consulting” is NOT required
“Coaching” is NOT required
“Podium Presentations” or “Round Table Discussions”
are NOT required

We don’t waste your time
We just get it done

Best Way

for groups to





This is
very different

We can
explain the

We answer the

We Manage Group Work Sessions using
Group Thought Constructs



- Orchestrate & Replicate Performance Excellence -


- Create Optimum Results for the Good of All -


your group   +   your challenge   +   our structure    =    Breakthrough Solutions

We combine Strategy and Technology with Group Wisdom to make Change For The Better

It’s simple:  We know how to optimally merge your tasks, teams, and tools to achieve the results you desire.


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Topics (click link below)

·  Structured Thought is the key

·  Ideal Solutions on a Strict Schedule
What makes this possible?

·  Group Thought Constructs

·  Ways to Monitor Progress

·  Is This Important to YOU?

·  Process Training

·  From “No way!” to “No problem.”

·  ICIT’s Organizational Goal

·  The ICIT Organization - Characterized

·  Let’s Schedule a Breakthrough

·  VID:  “The Breakthrough Machine”

·  Introductory Lectures

·  Flyer:  Collaboration – The Next Generation

·  Selected slides

·  A Legacy of Lasting Performance Excellence

·  Biography

·  Business Card

·  Links - odds and ends  (a.k.a. Home Page)


-  Ideas and viewpoints are diverse

-  New and better ideas are resisted

-  The task is complex or seems futile

-  The stakeholders are all leaders or are
subject matter experts with equal authority

-  Commitment requires support rather than
sub-optimized compromise

-  Progress is too slow or stalled

-  Conflict within or between groups is prevalent

-  The “best” solution must be created and
accepted within a fixed time period

-  Technology must be applied fast and in a way
that ensures the highest value



Let ICIT lead the effort and deliver
high value results on a strict schedule


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“Structured Thought” is key to
The Future of Collaboration

Using Structured Thought Processes is very different than the use of more traditional round table, or facilitated, discussion formats.  Structured Thought Processes practically eliminate the inadequacies of groupthink and replace the negative aspects of overly dominant personality types with the positive characteristics of talented individuals who work as a group to make decisions that are truly wise.

During these processes multiple thoughts are created very quickly and then evaluated by individuals working together to make lots of initial decisions in parallel.  All thoughts and decisions are captured in a visual format within an environment that permits contention to thrive.  When contentious issues arise they too are transformed into a visual format which enables them to be thoroughly explored and contrasted with other captured thoughts.  This environment of open contention that is displayed visually helps individuals to think, learn from each other, and rapidly iterate and improve their thoughts in real time.  This emphasis on the visual representation of thoughts and decisions helps everyone to “see” why the final outcome is truly an optimum solution and not just consensus based on compromise.

The techniques used to conduct Structured Thought Processes are not intuitively obvious and are different than traditional approaches.  Some of these differences include:

·     A group of 14 or more members can generate and capture over 150 thoughts and ideas within 10 minutes or less.

·     Larger groups (25 or more) are more productive than smaller groups (6 to 8) since larger groups can be organized to perform many more tasks in parallel.

·     Finding ways to limit the scope of initial discussions is strongly discouraged.  One would think that a group can more productively focus if the topics of discussion are somehow constrained.  Instead, the use of structured processes allows the focus of a group to be achieved faster when the discussion remains open to a broad range of subject matter areas.  This is because the time normally required to verbally discuss a few topics is replaced with visual dialogue techniques that consume much less time per topic, allowing all topics of interest to be explored.  Hence, no time is needed to revisit topics that would have otherwise been prematurely filtered from initial discussions.  This also creates greater adherence to a focus with less time expended on “second-guessing” once a direction is decided upon.

·     Likewise, creating and evaluating multiple alternatives (18 or more) is much more productive than creating and evaluating a smaller number of alternatives (3 to 5) since the time consumed to limit the alternatives considered by a group for the sake of productivity is replaced with efforts that cause participants to build on each other’s knowledge as they work together to create a truly optimum outcome.  As a result, the increase in the quantity of solutions that are submitted at the beginning of an effort are often morphed into completely new and better concepts that are readily accepted simply because it is obvious that the most valuable characteristics from many concepts were combined and used to create new and better solutions.  This completely eliminates the time required to convince a group to accept initial concepts or solutions and has a greater chance to survive the test of time since subsequent ideas are often found to be similar to those that have already been considered.

·     The process of voting is used to demonstrate how often majority rule does not result in the best choice.  Once the voting process is completed, a structured process is used to create and select the final resolution.  When the group compares this resolution to the outcome of the initial vote, it is frequently determined that the final resolution is indeed superior. On a few occasions, the result of the initial vote will be similar to the final result of the structured process.  When this happens it becomes clear that the reasons for the final selection are much better understood and are therefore more strongly supported as compared to a resolution selected only through popular opinion.

·     Dissention is encouraged because, when it is controlled, it enhances the learning process.  Visual dialogue techniques promote the need to explore the reasons for differences that exist and the desire to gain a better understanding of all perspectives.  Therefore dissention becomes a welcome contribution to the learning process.

·     Groups that cannot be collocated due to either contentious issues or physical attendance limitations can still work together productively when they are at locations that are geographically dispersed.  This is because all thoughts and decisions are translated into a visual format that can be shared.  This enables all parties to achieve a “greater appreciation and acceptance of the assumptions” that drive the understanding and gener-ation of problems, goals, and essential tasks as compared to more traditional “result reporting formats”.

·     Structured Processes provide a productive learning experience for all.  Participants often feel their exper-ience was highly productive and that their insight was significantly enhanced at the end of their efforts.

·     Since the thought process (not the content) is very structured, estimating the completion time is very accurate even when breakthrough solutions or resolutions to highly contentious issues are required.

·     Leaders who have experienced situations in which a group cannot make an optimum decision are surprised to discover that true wisdom can be achieved by the group when using structured processes.  This frees the leader from being forced to make the final difficult, and potentially unpopular, decision.  As a matter of fact, the leader is not usually required to contribute any content to the decision making process whatsoever.  As long as both adequate subject matter expertise and the willingness to participate exists within the group, then the leader can depend on the structured process to produce an optimum outcome that is truly of highest value to all regardless of the personality types that are involved.  When this happens leaders find that the support and momentum created will ensure their success.


A unique benefit from the use of these processes is that the outcome is often a breakthrough with characteristics resembling altruism.  This is because, as stated above, multiple perspectives are presented in a visual format which allows ideas to be more carefully considered concurrently in order to create, evaluate, and build upon many alternatives.  Each individual is encouraged to think of something that will make things better.  This allows the combination of several alternatives to be iterated into a breakthrough.  In addition, it is important to note that Structured Thought Processes increase the speed at which different ideas are created and considered which makes it difficult to associate one’s ego with each new thought that is contributed.  In combination, these activities promote a focus on producing the “best-fit answer for all” rather than the search for a solution that is often intended to only satisfy the “ego-driven needs of a few”.


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy


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 “Ideal solutions, with buy-in, on time”

requires the proper management of complex group thought

What makes this possible?

·  The approach is simple and straightforward

·  Each step is flexible and easily adapted to different subject matter

·  The duration of each step is relatively short and the time consumed is consistent

·  Large groups are constantly broken down into small groups then brought back together

·  Multiple small groups get lots of work done in parallel

·  Each participant is fully engaged and can contribute even when the group is large

·  All ideas and concepts are represented visually rather than orally discussed in detail

·  Thoughts are visually represented so that new patterns of thought are easily facilitated

·  Contention and diversity are fully understood and can easily be focused upon for resolution

·  The visual representation of thought creates a positive learning experience for all

·  Repeatable results demonstrate breakthrough solutions in any situation


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Our Group Thought Constructs include:

·    Strategic planning, problem resolution, and change implementation (“change for the better”)

·    Collaborative solution architecting and technology application (doctrine, services, or products)

·    User or customer intimacy creation (using external assessment and needs appreciation)

·    Opportunities creation, evaluation, and selection (market, enterprise, or organizational focus)

Although each construct is a powerful tool that can be tailored to satisfy a specific need,
the ultimate goal is to fully integrate and implement these 4 thought constructs into a comprehensive system.
The result is an alignment and self healing realignment mechanism that will satisfy the
ever changing needs at each organizational level while ensuring optimum performance for the entire enterprise.



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We monitor progress in many ways:

·    Time and Cost Savings (greater than 50%)

·    New ideas created (patents per hour)

·    Thoughts and ideas documented and considered (100s to 1,000s)

·    Situations in chaos that were transformed into structure with focus (99 out of a 100)

·    Number of “hopeless” projects saved (4 out of 5)

·    Number of technology “bottlenecks” or “roadblocks” that were overcome (9 out of 10)

·    Number of alternatives evaluated and used to create better solutions (10 to 80)

·    Number of solutions created by the group that experts considered to be better than their original input

·    Changes to group focus that are accepted as “better” and were different than original popular opinion

·    Number of decisions made per hour (100 or greater)

·    Work sessions completed on time and as planned (90% or better)

·    Final solution performance improvement and/or complexity reduction (frequently 80% improvement or better)

·    Number of participants that can participate in a work group and feel fully productive (up to 50)

·    Time each participant remains actively engaged verses idle time (90% engaged)

·    Number of sub-teams created and number of membership changes without noticeable productivity loss

·    Number of conflicts resolved and number of disagreements everyone accepts as not requiring resolution

·    Time consumed to recover lost productivity between work sessions (15 minutes or less)

·    Time consumed to become a fully contributing new member (2 to 6 hrs due to well documented artifacts)

·    Number of high risks identified and mitigated that were previously unknown



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Is this important to YOU?

Our knowledge base is becoming so vast and the world is becoming so small that
in the future success will come to individuals who learn how to
quickly, effectively, and rep
eatedly harness the “thought power” of a group.


Process Training:

A process is only as good as its results.  Once you experience this process and are sufficiently impressed by the results, then you may be interested in Process Training.  Process training is available and can be arranged to satisfy your unique needs.  The techniques are simple but they are extremely difficult to fully appreciate and effectively put into practice until they have been experienced in a “real world” situation that includes the full impact of time constraints and group dynamics.  For these reasons ICIT strongly recommends training only be provided to groups that have first experienced and applied the techniques to overcome a “real world” challenge.  If your group is interested in training contact ICIT.



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Cell: (858) 354-4248

Fax: (858) 505-0682

Don Murphy                                       Bio                            Business Card

President / Founder

Integrated Creativity and continuous Improvement Technologies - ICIT

San Diego, CA



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ICIT Services


We conduct group work sessions that convert diverse needs, complexity, and/or contention
into ideal solutions with buy-in on time.

This is done by facilitating the use of visually based structured techniques to conduct
group thought and to achieve high value results on a strict schedule while transforming
the chaos and conflict within a group into the clarity and conviction of a team.

We have learned when and how to best apply the proper decision-making method or tool,
to the task or issue at hand, so that maximum productivity is achieved during each work session.

We have discovered and created highly productive ways to apply

    “Structured Thought Processes” based on “Visually Intense Dialogue” techniques.

    The effectiveness of these techniques is far superior to traditional methods such as:

·      “Podium presentations”

·      “Roundtable discussions” directed by a facilitator who summarizes results

·      “Parliamentary procedures” based on voting and majority rule

·      “Initiative iteration” or proposal review to focus deliberation and document the changes




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From “No way!” to “No problem.”

Are you an executive with a portion of your job description, perhaps a significant portion, dedicated to your ability to control group dynamics?

Is it your responsibility to achieve the (virtually) impossible task of getting a team of highly intelligent, opinionated “Type A” personalities to work together for the betterment of all?

Do you know what to do if a large part of your compensation and reputation is dependent on your ability to create collaboration and agreement between warring factions, perhaps each with their own conflicting agendas?

Is it even more difficult because the subject matter is so complex that there is no way that one person (you!) can know enough to make the right decisions all of the time?  Or so technical and creative that it may push the limits of your current level of understanding, knowledge, or experience?

Maybe deep inside you suspect that one or another of the team members might be able to pull the wool over your eyes and you could end up looking foolish for supporting what turns out to be obviously the wrong answer.

What if the people who make up the “team” don’t even report to you, or worse yet, they work for competing organizations with no real incentive or desire to help to make you a success?

Believe it or not, there is help available that, with your sponsorship, can actually achieve what may seem to be the impossible.  Of course it will require a lot of hard work along with open minds that are willing to try new ways of working together, but the results are well worth the effort.

Once you determine the correct team members and can ensure their participation in each and every meeting, turn the effort over to ICIT.  With over 20 years of experience in working with groups, moving them from chaos to conviction, your ICIT task lead will leave the content of the activity to the team members while concentrating on how they share and create wisdom.

No matter what the subject, whatever the scope, however complex it might be, by focusing on a series of techniques that allow individuals to work together, ICIT will lead the team through the details of disagreement down a path to commitment.   These unique procedures use both visual and verbal forms of communication to overcome the roadblocks and allow everyone to either recognize or create a breakthrough in the form of an ideal solution for your unique situation.

And this frees you to either attend as a participant, providing your perspective and expertise, or concentrate on your other duties, confident that the team will be driven to produce the results you need in a timely manner.

In the end, you will have a clear understanding of where you are, where you are going and how to get there.  All meetings will have been fully documented, showing the entire decision-making roadmap.  All of the options that were considered and the reasons that the ultimate choice was selected, will be laid out in an easy to understand format.  These documents are invaluable tools for you to leave as your legacy, and most importantly, to be used as a starting point when more information or new options become available in the future. 

You can then move this particular task within your inbox, from “No way!” to “No problem.” 


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy



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ICIT’s Organizational Goal


Ensure “groups” make the “best” “decisions” consistently in a timely manner

     “Groups”  in this context is any gathering of individuals that share a wide diversity in viewpoints
or that are in disagreement or conflict.

          “Best”  is uniquely defined for each situation by the needs of each group with a full appreciation
of the interrelationships to other groups within their environment.
“Best” is rarely consistent with majority opinion and yet buy-in prevails

 “Decisions” include conclusions with focus and acceptance when working on efforts such as:

·      Problem/conflict identification and resolution within and between groups

·      Solution creation, selection, and implementation

·      Program/project planning and execution

·      Collaborative systems engineering

·      Technology selection, development and realization

·      Risk assessment and mitigation

·      Product development and implementation

·      Market opportunity assessment and selection

·      Strategic planning, Organizational Change, and Productivity Improvement




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The ICIT Organization – Characterized


Purpose:  Facilitate group thoughts to create unique breakthrough actions and results

Mission:   Transform group diversity or conflict into team unity and synergy

Vision:     Make the “best” decisions consistently within and between groups

Belief:      The ideas of a group are of equal importance to the ideas of an individual
when striving for the greatest good

Policy:     Understand problem interrelationships prior to solution selection

Method:   Represent all thoughts visually to create or recognize and enhance unique patterns

Result:     Specific, unique, high value actions and outcomes with buy-in on a strict schedule.
In many cases breakthroughs can be predicted and realized on a predefined schedule.




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Let’s Schedule a Breakthrough

(Attending group work sessions led by ICIT)

As soon as I walked into the room, I knew this would not be the sort of meeting I was used to.  The usual materials were there: a sizeable room, chairs, tables, a projector.  But instead of pens and paper pads, there were thick black markers at every seat, and so many packages of Post-It notes that I wondered if I ought to have bought stock in 3M.  The tables and chairs were not ranked to face a podium, but grouped together so that all participants could face each other in the middle of the room.  All available wall space had been cleared of all obstacles and covered with white paper, including the windows.

I took my seat and waited while the others arrived.  I have been to plenty of meetings before, and I thought I knew what to expect.  I was ready for a discussion session, in which I would be encouraged to give my input, followed by a conclusion in which the “facilitator”, or perhaps one of our number, would tell us all what we really meant to say.  I was wrong.  Don Murphy from ICIT is not the average facilitator, and this would not be the average meeting.

Instead of the usual ego-jockeying debate, we all had to write our ideas down on those sticky-notes, and put them up on the white paper for all to see.  Once everyone had done this, we could see all positions without waiting for a drawn-out verbal argument.  But that was not to say we all instantly agreed.  Far from it.  What ensued was some of the most vigorous discussion I have ever been through, but because of the rigorous structure—because of Don’s insistence that we adhere strictly to the meeting’s format—we never had the chance to get stoked up and start really arguing.  Instead of wasting time defending ourselves against those with different perspectives, we ended up pitting all of our brains against the crucial choices we had to make.  By the end of the session, we had a newer, clearer picture of what our critical issues were, and what we would need to do to meet our goals.  And that was just the first session.

At every stage in our work with Don, he was able to tell us where we would be by the end of the meeting, and how long it would take us to get through.  When he said he could guarantee—guarantee—breakthroughs, I had my doubts.  But as the meetings progressed, he always seemed to be right.  The system he used allowed us to stay focused, to use our expertise as it best suited each task.  When we had disagreements about our conclusions from the last meeting, Don could produce the exact results, from our initial comments on all those sticky-notes, through the matrices we used to show how we viewed our task, to the final restatement of our new course of action.  Before working with Don, I often thought the phrase “Productive Collaboration” was a contradiction in terms.  Now I know better.

Don’s success with the process he uses has a great deal to do with his understanding of how strong-willed experts—Type A personalities, I might say—work best together.  First and foremost, he believes that, in group projects, the sum is always greater than its parts.  The whole group, when properly organized, can do things each member might never know to be possible.  How?  Some might answer “with proper leadership,” but Don’s view of leadership, and thus of his role as facilitator, is different from what I was used to.  Most people believe that a leader’s sole function is to have one good idea and rally the troops around it.  As a facilitator, Don would rather keep a group focused, so that together they can have fifty good ideas, and create from their various elements and aspects the best possible option.

Again, I was inclined to ask:  How?  How can everyone remain objective enough to pull off this kind of group effort?  Don has two vital answers. 

The first is the use of a different format.  Instead of allowing verbal explanation and argument to take up valuable time, Don made us all put our ideas, objections, goals, et cetera, in visual form.  We put up hundreds of sticky-notes, and then grouped them according to their similarities, and then assessed the groupings using matrices, diagrams, and charts.  This visual reasoning method let us see all our data faster and more accurately than any sort of verbal presentation.  And, perhaps more importantly, the matrices, rather than being just a means for Don to tell us what to do, showed us how we were approaching the problem.  When we disagreed with the priority rankings a matrix produced, we went back and as necessary, redefined our categories, reassessed our goals, our assumptions, and our approaches.

The second vital answer is the principle that solving problems is not the same as resolving conflict.  In fact, Don believes that conflict is absolutely essential to success.  It just needs focus, which his systematic approach provides in abundance.  In our problem-solving sessions, we found ourselves bypassing rancorous debates because, as revealed by visual reasoning, most debates really did not serve to resolve the critical issues.  Our most vigorous debates were reserved for the really important issues at hand.

But how, one might ask, did we know which were the really important issues?  Throughout our work with Don, he remained committed to helping us find the best possible way to achieve our goals.  He really meant it:  the best possible solution, not the popular favorite before the meeting, not some one expert’s personal brainchild, and not his own personal favorite.  He entered every meeting with a complete plan for what we would be doing with our time, but not which eventual solution we would decide upon.  All too often in the past, the “problem-solving meetings” I had attended were thinly-disguised venues for one person to tell everybody else what to do.  Not so with Don.  The set of visual tools he uses seem to make the important issues stand out as self evident when at first they seemed jumbled and obscure.

In addition to his thorough understanding of productive collaboration, Don has a background uniquely suited to work with groups of strong-willed experts.  Don is an independent consultant with an aeronautical engineering degree.  His client list over the years has included a number of defense industry leaders, government agencies, and Fortune 500 companies.  For more than twenty years, he has built his career on his convictions about productive collaboration, in spite of a corporate culture that tends to favor “cowboy” self-sufficiency over group effort.  Because of the innovative nature of the process that he uses, he has often found his best opportunities in projects others would dismiss as hopeless or impossible.  Time and time again, he has arrived to save the day.  Is each success a fluke?  As one follows another, mounting evidence says Don has finally discovered a system that can get groups to produce breakthroughs on demand.

In addition to his experience, Don also brings to bear a powerful personal drive.  I never seemed to be able to get to a session before he did, and he was always the last to leave.  He kept our tremendous pile of data organized and ready for review, and he also kept us on-task and focused on our project.  It is his goal to help groups of experts come up with the best possible answer for everyone, to whatever challenge they face.  Don dreams that these methods will become the way of the future, a form of productive collaboration in which everyone involved has the opportunity to become the leader because of their personal contributions, and solutions are truly the best available.  While his system has so far been mostly used for corporate high technology problem-solving, I could easily see it being used for projects of much greater range and scale, from the creation of new product lines to improvements in organizational design or the formation of national policy.

For the time being, though, Don is continuing to build on his already impressive track record.  The system he uses is a finely-tuned machine for achieving breakthroughs, and he is its most experienced operator.  With him at the helm, the ominous phrase, “Let’s schedule a meeting” takes on a new meaning.  As I discovered, it means a lot of hard work, certainly, but it also means results.  One might just as well say: “Let’s schedule a breakthrough”.


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy



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VID:  “The Breakthrough Machine”

(How to ensure productive collaboration)

Overview:  Visually Intense Dialogue (VID)

Every large organization faces challenges, and has its own ways of tackling difficult problems.  But sometimes a problem arises that is so difficult, or has such far-reaching implications, that it brings progress to a grinding halt.  Most everyone has had to confront these challenges.  They are excessive delays, cost-overruns, and failures to reach critical goals.  The process outlined below provides a method for addressing these problems.  It is a means for tracking decisions and a process for ensuring repeated success.  It is a method that enables organizations to tackle its toughest obstacles and achieve breakthrough solutions within a tight schedule.  It is called Visually Intense Dialogue (VID).


Two Traditional Methods

Let the experts hash it out.  Put them in a room together and make them talk.  Organize a roundtable discussion, or a series of presentations.  Hope for a breakthrough.  These are, at heart, the ways most large organizations tackle their serious obstacles.  These approaches generally fall into two basic categories described as Option One and Two below.

Option One is a “dictatorship”.  Assigned an intractable problem, a team leader or strong-willed expert takes charge.  By observing debate and listening to presentations, the decision maker chooses and issues the orders.  The decision maker as the “listener” passes judgment.

In roundtable discussions, the people who speak the loudest—or simply argue everyone else to death—will be the ones heard.  But this leaves the team leader, the “listener”, open to a significant danger of error.  Alone, the leader will have to make the choices and take the blame.

Option Two is a democracy.  Rather than expose one “listener” to weighty choices, the experts cast votes on their course of action, whether it is a meeting agenda or a long-range decision.  They become “voters”.  Majority decisions, it is believed, will overcome any vocal minority, and settle disputes.

Everyone likes a democracy, but it can be problematic in a problem-solving meeting.  There is little accountability with a democracy, and with the give and take of consensus building, the group can’t be sure they have exhausted all options to arrive at the best solution. As under the “dictatorship”, the group can be swayed by the loudest voices and the best debaters, even when those people are merely defending their own ideas.

Both of these options, the “dictatorship” and the “democracy”, prove unreliable.  They are, in the end, too reliant on strong-willed debaters.  What is needed is a third option, an objective way of structuring meetings to achieve the best possible outcome, and not the listener’s favorite, or the voters’ popular choice.

Visually Intense Dialogue (VID) is a method for doing this.  It uses the vocal minority’s talents, and the broad experience and skills of every individual within the group and of the group as a whole.  It provides breakthroughs reliably and according to a strict schedule.  Its conclusions can be tracked from the beginning to end.


Visually Intense Dialogue:  “The Breakthrough Machine”

Visually Intense Dialogue (VID) is a set of tools that offers step-by-step procedures, not pep-talks.  It is a process for generating breakthroughs.

The two traditional methods discussed above are easily side-tracked or dominated by strong-willed individuals because they rely for their decisions and solutions on spoken or written argument, not raw data.  People sit around a table and talk, or they recite their ideas from a podium.  But human beings are able to reason visually too.  VID adds methods for visual evaluation to the traditional debates and presentations.

By attacking a problem visually, by using matrices, outlines, and various diagrams to judge each facet of a problem and each possible solution, a group using VID can make decisions objectively, with all the data, and with the thoughts of all, in view.  They make their choices out in the open, using the visual diagrams themselves.

A VID meeting is very structured.  It is designed to get the most out of every team member.  A strong-willed team leader cannot derail the debate to suit their whims because the process doesn’t allow it.  Neither can the majority vote to mandate a resolution and thereby call it quits early.  VID meeting agendas provide a blueprint for structured participation—for collaboration—which allows everyone to work together to come up with the best possible answers.

Finally, the controlled visual-reasoning environment will even harness the creative energy of conflict.  The VID method guides a group of experts to a clear, distinct picture of the choices they face—of the problems to be solved—so they will be able to spend less time arguing and defending their position, and more time building on one another’s ideas.  By comparing decisions and possible pitfalls, they can even decide which conflicts to pursue.  Emotional battles over matters that turn out to be trivial may never need to be resolved.  Instead of pitting their egos against one another, the process forces them to pit their collective ideas against the key issues at hand—and the result will be a breakthrough.

VID can produce these results on a schedule.  A breakthrough happens near the end of the process, but its arrival can be predicted in advance.  It comes when the team members fully grasp all of the available data, when they understand the entire issue and all of their options—not in a bolt from the blue.  Every step along the way will be documented, from the first expert’s “Well, I think…” to the final solution.  And that means success can be repeated.

Seven Steps

VID is a seven-step process, the Seven Cs, based on the previously mentioned processes that take place—visual reasoning, structured participation, and constructive conflict. 

Step 1:     Collect

As the process begins, the team members conduct a massive thought-session, collecting all available data and expert thought.  But arguments are avoided because this is a written process.  Verbal discussion is only allowed to clarify and add ideas, not debate nor critique their value.  The participants put each idea, each individual hurdle, suggestion, goal, or perception, onto a Post-It note.  By the end of Step 1, the team will have hundreds of these Post-It notes, tacked up all over the wall.

Step 2:     Consolidate

Once the data has been collected, the team will sort the Post-It notes.  They will quickly discover that by in large, they have all been thinking along similar lines.  From the large collection of Post-It notes emerges a much smaller group of categories, or headings each of which are fully documented using the input of each participant.  By the end of Step 2, instead of hundreds of scraps of paper, the team will have their Post-Its collected into small patches, comprising a much smaller number of categories each representing a unique issue.

Step 3:     Correlate

Now the group will answer a crucial question:  How do all of these unique issues (actions, goals, problems, and the like) relate to each other?  Do many of them depend on one crucial issue?  Are some more important than others—more central to the task at hand?  Visual tools will provide the answers.

In this step, the most important categories from Step 2 will form the axes of various types of matrices.  Depending on the task at hand, the team might correlate goals to actions, measures to benefits, alternatives to criteria, and so on.  In many cases, the basic action will be the same: a given category is strongly associated with another, somewhat associated, possibly associated, or not associated.  To take the example of actions vs. goals, an action will achieve a goal, or it will get only partly there, or it won’t help at all (or, to take another example, a function might fully satisfy a benefit, could partially contribute to the benefit, or might do nothing at all).  All categories will be compared to all other categories, so that relationships can be clearly seen across the board.

The correlation process, with its matrices and evaluations, provides a simple statement of the experts’ views on their work.  Do they think it’s important?  Do they think it’s not important?  Do these categories have anything to do with each other at all?  What do various solutions entail when compared to each other?

As a group, the team evaluates their diverse categories of thought and how they correlate with one another in a concrete, transparent manner.  All opinions will be up on the matrix for all to see, in clear-cut, black and white terms (there are only strong and weak associations—no fence-straddling allowed).  By the end of Step 3, the team will have a chart, a matrix that shows the results of their evaluation—it will display and prioritize all the actions, goals, problems, measures, et cetera, that they came up with during the previous steps.

Step 4:     Conflict

This is what drives VID forward.  Conflict will naturally arise from the evaluation during Step 3, and if it doesn’t, the facilitator will stir some up.  The team must now debate conflicting courses of action and conflicting opinions.

In practical terms, the conflict often comes from the results expressed in Step 3.  Although a given category—a given action, for instance—may come out on top, numerically speaking it may have the greatest number of “strong associations” with the stated goals, the experts may not agree with that conclusion.  They may say, Wait, that’s not what we meant at all.  And so they may return to Step 3 and rebuild the matrix to include more categories, or they may reassess their assumptions and priorities.

This point bears repeating:  The results, the evaluations provided by the matrix in Step 3, are not set in stone.  This is not a numbers game.  The matrices are a tool to show the experts how they have been approaching their task, and where and how they do and do not agree.  When answers are confusing, or feel wrong, the experts will want to reassess the way they have been looking at the problem.

The arguments that start in Step 4 will be focused by the consolidate (Step 2) and correlate (Step 3) processes.  This makes them constructive rather than destructive discussions.  By the end of Step 4, the team will have a clear sense of where their task’s trouble-spots are, and why.  They will be able to see the real problems, not pet peeves or extraneous distractions.

Step 5:     Create

This is where the breakthrough will happen.  As mentioned above, a consensus on the critical conflicts will drive team members to be creative.  By thoroughly analyzing and visualizing all of the data, the team will find new ways to combine what each member knows, producing something new and different.

This result will be something tangibly different from what a “dictatorship or a “democracy” process produces. In the course of the “correlate” and “conflict” steps outlined above both the display of knowledge and a selection process occurs.  One solution will probably turn out to serve the goals better than the others, but the VID process does not stop there. 

The team will next compare all solutions considered, and examine ways in which the existing knowledge might be recombined to create new alternatives.  This lets the experts improve the one “best” solution, turning it into something better than anyone brought to the table at the meeting’s beginning.  The sum of their work in the preceding steps will become greater than the parts—greater than the suggested solutions they initially created.

By the end of Step 5, the team will have a clear understanding of the best solution and how best to proceed.  But the work is not over yet.

Step 6:     Conclude

It is a fine thing to have a breakthrough, and agree on a course of action, but what happens two weeks later, halfway into carrying it out, when somebody suddenly says, “This isn’t what we discussed”? 

To keep this from happening, in Step 6, the team restates their conclusion, their breakthrough, as clearly as possible.  They might write down a detailed account, or better still, they might create a chart or a diagram that refines and completes what they discussed in Steps 3, 4, and 5 (the correlate, conflict, and create steps).  In any case, by the end of Step 6, the team will have a description—a picture—of  their breakthrough that is clear enough so that people who were not at the meeting will be able to understand what the team means to do, and why.

Step 7:     Commit

A plan of action—even one that has been described perfectly—is nothing without the means to enact it.  In this step, the team prepares to put the breakthrough in motion, to devote to it the personnel, the money, and the time to see it through to its conclusion.  The output is a resource loaded schedule with milestones.  It is based on the detailed thoughts of the group and the agreed upon critical issues that must be addressed.  The result is a group commitment to a specific plan of action.

That’s all there is to it.

With rigorous application, a committed team, a facilitator dedicated to the process, and adequate wall space to display thought there is no task too big for VID.



VID is a mechanism that creates breakthroughs because the final solutions are often viewed as better than those that were initially conceived by the “best’ thinkers when the effort began.  VID is also a progress machine.  Each of its seven steps can be completed on a fixed schedule with small variations in duration.  It is virtually an equation that says, given X(dedicated experts) and Y(time), a Z(goal) can be achieved—be it a better approach to a complex social issue, a new product or technical solution, or simply a smoother-running business.


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy



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Introductory Lectures
(click link below)

·   Flyer:  Collaboration - The Next Generation

Using differences and confrontation
to create the best solution

·   Selected slides

Slides highlight the breadth of issues to be covered during an introductory lecture


Lectures are scheduled by request
and are provided at no cost*

Contact ICIT

Lectures provided at

no cost* with no obligation



To fully appreciate the power of these concepts, methods, and techniques, and their differences to more traditional approaches, lectures are available and can be given to fit your schedule in durations that range from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours

*When required, travel expenses shall be provided by the host organization.


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Collaboration - The Next Generation
(Using differences and confrontation to create “best-fit” solutions,
and in many cases breakthroughs on a schedule)

A variable length introductory presentation
from 15 min to 2.5 hrs designed to fit your schedule



“Collaboration - The Next Generation” is about how to get groups of strong willed individuals with different perspectives and diverse ideas to thrive on conflict and use confrontation to achieve breakthrough solutions on a strict schedule.


This lecture includes a collection of some of the best techniques from around the world that have been transformed into a set of standardized group thought constructs and methods that encourage large numbers of individuals, that don’t necessarily get along with one another, to work together instead of against each other.  The emphasis will be on how individuals with different perspectives can work productively as a group, while projecting their confident opinionated viewpoints and their confrontational nature as individuals, to generate conflict as they collaborate to make the “best of the best” of their ideas.  The result is a desire to work together for constant change, because the selected changes are always for the better.


An entertaining and educational lecture, “Collaboration - The Next Generation” will highlight how to get large groups to resolve complex issues in a highly effective manner without resorting to less productive methods such as podium presentations, roundtable discussions, parliamentary procedure, or the iteration of written propositions.  In addition the use of these methods practically eliminates the inadequacies associated with groupthink and the negative aspects due to the arrogance of some dominant personality types.


When ideas are diverse, when the stakeholders and participants are all leaders, or when breakthrough results are required on time, then “Collaboration - The Next Generation” will help show the way to success.


About the Speaker:

Don Murphy is President and Founder of Integrated Creativity and continuous Improvement Technologies (ICIT).  ICIT is a consulting service with expertise/specialization in the facilitation of large group multidisciplinary collaborative work sessions that find breakthrough solutions in any situation.  Example applications include: problem identification and resolution, change insertion and strategic planning, market opportunity assessment and selection, technology application and realization, external appreciation through customer intimacy, solution implementation using collaborative systems engineering during product development, and organizational development processes.

Mr. Murphy is able to get groups of individuals with diverse needs to create and select ideal solutions to complex and contentious issues on a strict schedule.  He has conducted over 300 work sessions, with up to 50 participants per session, over the last 20+ years.  He has learned when and how to best apply the proper decision-making method or tool, to the task or issue at hand, so that maximum productivity is achieved during each work session.  The decision-making tools and methods that have been the most useful to Mr. Murphy are known as: The 7 Tools for Management and Planning, The 7 Criteria for System Architecture Descriptions, Stuart Pugh Concept Selection, The Kano Model, Quality Function Deployment, Hoshin Kanri, Market Opportunities Assessment, Customer Intimacy, The Objectives-Methods-Resources (OMR) Management Model, The Beliefs-Feelings-Thinking-Actions-Results Model, The 5 Common Expectations of Management, The 4 Essential Elements of Successful Change, The 4 Elements that Create Resistance to Change, the 7 Steps of the Visually Intense Dialogue (VID) process, and The 10 Step ICIT story.


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy



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Introductory Lectures
- selected slides highlight a breadth of issues -

The selected slides shown below represent some of the more complex topics to be covered during a 2.5 hour presentation.  The slides for the entire presentation are available by email request.

Contact ICIT

The intent of the selected slides shown below is not to “tell a story” but instead to indicate the breadth of issues that are covered during a 2.5 hour presentation.  If limited time is available then the presentation can be tailored, using a subset of topics, to fit your schedule in durations that range from 15 minutes to 2.5 hours.

ICIT can also arrange to present all material in a series of 4 lectures that last 1 hour each.  This arrangement can accommodate a series of weekly lunch time sessions and allows time for the audience to participate in active discussions that explore the ramifications of these powerful concepts and time to more thoroughly consider the subject matter between sessions.

We at ICIT are confident that once this material is presented, with anecdotes of real experiences that include both obstacles and success, you will be convinced of the value of these techniques.  Pilot projects can then be selected to demonstrate how the wisdom of your groups will yield high value results on a repeatable basis and on a strict schedule.

We look forward to hearing from you.

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Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT

Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT

Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT

Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT

Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT

Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT

Return Home                      Return to Topics                          Slide Selection Explained                         Contact ICIT


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy


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A Legacy of Lasting
Performance Excellence

Sooner or later every executive has to face certain questions.  Is my company achieving peak performance?  Are my employees as productive as they could be?  Is there room for improvement?  If so, how can I implement large-scale changes that will impart a significant and lasting effect?  What kind of legacy will I leave this organization?

These questions can seem nebulous, and maybe even a little unnerving.  They are broad and open-ended, and they address a scale of change that is not easy to measure or orchestrate.  A large organization is a complex living organism.  While the above questions may need to be asked, they are not precise or constructive enough to overcome this complexity and bring about the changes they suggest.  To help address this challenge the ICIT organization has analyzed the reasons behind these questions, and formulated 12 new questions, designed to be more exact, to directly address the ways organization-wide change might be executed so that a legacy of lasting performance excellence is maintained.

These 12 questions are intended for an executive concerned with lasting change, with improvement that can be rapidly implemented and then extended beyond the influence of those currently in leadership positions.  The focus here is the immediate creation of an organization that outperforms its competition because of the abilities and participation of all of its pieces, all of its employees, departments, and assets and then sustaining these efforts into the long term future.  If your primary interest is assembling a good sales team for this year, or meeting the current fiscal financial goals, you may not find these the most relevant questions to ask.  But if you want to make large-scale, lasting changes to improve your organization, you may want to take a closer look at this list and see if you have answers to these questions.  If you are interested in the business philosophy and the formulation process behind these questions;  the specific answers that they could infer;  or if you would like to know more about how to put your unique answers into practice, then contact us at ICIT.

1.    Values ?

What influence do your personal values, beliefs, and philosophies have on the culture of the organization and how do they relate to the values of the company?

2.    Reputation ?

What are the processes and systems that your organization has in place to create and ensure customer enthusiasm?

3.    Synergy ?

How does your organization standardize its processes and ensure that they operate together to create competitive advantage within an environment of customers, suppliers, and competitors?

4.    Improvement ?

How does your organization manage evolutionary and revolutionary change for proactive and reactive continuous improvement at all levels?

5.    Ideas ?

How does your organization release the full creative potential of every individual, so that results are greater than the individual input?

6.    Leaders ?

What does your organization do to create, retain, and replenish leaders?

7.    Rewards ?

How does your organization and its employees recognize and share in the intrinsic and tangible value of both success and failure?

8.    Employees ?

What does your organization do to enrich the life and meaning of its employees both inside and outside the workplace?

9.    Evidence ?

How does your organization show objective evidence of continuous improvement and how does the evidence use objective and subjective input?

10.  Direction ?

In priority order, what are your organization’s long term and short term opportunities for improvement, and how are they determined?

11.  Needs ?

What assistance do you need to achieve lasting organizational excellence and success?

12.  Community ?

What does your organization do to contribute to the betterment of both the local and global community and its environment?


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy



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Biography – Don Murphy


Don Murphy is President and Founder of Integrated Creativity and continuous Improvement Technologies (ICIT).  ICIT is a consulting service with expertise and specialization in the facilitation of large group multidisciplinary collaborative work sessions that find breakthrough solutions in any situation.


Mr. Murphy has conducted over 300 work sessions, with up to 50 participants per session, over the last 20+ years.  He has learned when and how to best apply the proper decision-making method or tool, to the task or issue at hand, so that maximum productivity is achieved during each work session.


Mr. Murphy graduated with a BS degree from California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo, in 1980.  Since then he has attended numerous conferences, symposiums, and workshops on American, European, and Japanese enterprise-wide productivity improvement, product development, and organizational alignment business management techniques.  From his studies he has been able to integrate several tools and methods from around the world into a set of four Group Thought Constructs that can be productively used to resolve complex issues in any situation. 


Mr. Murphy has held positions such as Director of Productivity and Matrix Management Development, Director of Program Management, Director of Process Assurance and several other positions such as Program Manager, Configuration Control Manager and Project Engineer.  During his years as a consultant he has conducted work sessions with Mattel Toys, Qualcomm, Integrated Medical Systems, NASA, US Air Force (USAF) Space Systems Command, Sverdrup Technology, General Dynamics Electronics Systems, Hughes Aircraft, McDonnell Douglas, and Cubic Defense Applications.


A few example “breakthroughs” that Mr. Murphy has achieved when leading groups include:

Reduced imagery system design for a $20M development program to $8M in 3 weeks

Reduced combat training system design complexity by more than 50% in 1/5th the time

Transformed 25,012 requirements from 5 countries into 28 major system functions and 862 lower level functions to support the development of a “product based” military ground training system

Created and evaluated 18 alternatives and then selected a new battery technology during a 3 day effort resulting in a completed prototype in 4 weeks

Led efforts with technologists, during volunteer lunches, to create a new combat training service that has continued to generate high profits over the past several years

Challenged individual best-in-class experts to outperform the results of a group over a 6 week period.  Experts agreed that the group created the best solution at the end of the contest.

Conducted multiple strategic sessions at the corporate level that included:

o      The selection of metrics to report enterprise performance to congress

o      The creation of a new organizational design to decrease redundant executive roles

o      The discovery of core competencies that were not apparent to key decision makers

o      The elimination of market initiatives that were politically popular yet not viable

o      The creation of new performance enhancing organizational initiatives

o      The discovery of key customer needs that were previously unknown


Mr. Murphy was born in Los Angeles, California, was raised in Orange County, California, and continued to live in the metropolitan Los Angeles and Orange County areas after college until 1996.  He then moved to San Diego, California where he and his wife currently reside.


Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy



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Copyright  2007-2008     To get started, contact ICIT     858.354.4248   Don Murphy




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