There is a very interesting type of conflict resolution that is prescribed by law in certain states in the United States but is not often used because it is not much liked by lawyers. In normal conflict situations, both parties start at extreme positions knowing that they will gradually bargain and fight their way to a middle or compromise position. A great deal of time, effort, and expense is involved. In the alternative method the conflicting parties never meet. Each party "designs" the most reasonable "outcome" or conclusion. Both outcomes are placed before a judge or arbitrator. This person has to choose to the most "reasonable" of the proposed outcomes. Clearly if one suggested outcome is unreasonable and the other is reasonable then the reasonable outcome wins. So both parties try their hardest to "design" a reasonable outcome. All the effort which might have previously gone into fighting now goes into "design". If both parties do a good job of designing a reasonable outcome then it probably does not much matter which one is chosen by the judge. The interesting point about this procedure is that all the emphasis is placed on design instead of argument.

source: Edward DeBono, Serious Creativity, p 65 tags: Conflict, Organization