The Principles of the Dialogic Method: An Introduction



There are three fundamental principles in the Dialogic Method – value creation, non-binary approach, and self-determination.


While most approaches towards solution-finding look at distributing available value or resources, the Dialogic Method focuses on creating additional value before apportioning it. 

Non-binary approach 

To be able create value instead of merely distributing it; we need to expand the possible range of solutions that may exist or craft new solutions entirely, which requires a non-binary approach.


Finally, self-determination is required to ensure that the solutions crafted are practical and sustainable. When participants design options and solutions out of their own choice, experience, and willingness, there is a sense of ownership of the outcome. This increases the chance that they will commit to the solution and follow-through action. 

How do the three principles work together?

In the Dialogic Method, these three principles piggyback on each other to create solutions that aren’t just a win-win for two parties. 

This may be of particular importance in situations where broader communities and their interests are key concerns. By involving all stakeholders in a situation to include those beyond just the parties present, and exercising a self-deterministic approach to problem solving, value can be created for everyone. 

This is because the self-determination practised in the Dialogic Method is not just agreeing to a solution, but also creating it. It allows the participants to look beyond the typical ‘my way, your way or the highway’ mind-set that often overshadow negotiations. Coupled to this, the non-binary approach not only produces a multiplicity of solution options that could identify potential new value but could also feed into self-determination. This happens when people are allowed to add their expertise into a common pool of knowledge, which is then stirred by the Dialogic Method to perhaps produce non-conventional, but highly practical and sound solutions. 

Because of these three factors – value creation, non-binary approaches, and self-determination – each faction or participant has a better buy-in and ownership of the solution than if everybody had simply accepted a solution handed to them by an external agency.   

This shifts the narrative from a win-win situation to one where every partner gets to win – an infinite line of wins – and a state of winfinity, if you will.