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Mediation Games

John Nash died this week, in a tragic car accident. John Nash was the Nobel-prize winning mathematician whose theory of non-cooperative games published in 1950 has been described as one of the top ten ideas in economics in the 20th century.

His theory introduced and explored the concept of what is known as Nash equilibrium. According to the New York Times obituary, Nash equilibrium provides a conceptually simple but powerful mathematical tool for analysing a wide range of competitive situations, from corporate rivalries to legislative decision-making. It builds on the notion that, in most real world interactions, there is potential for more than a zero-sum game. Players’ interests are not [...]

Teaching Mediation in a Non-mediation Country: From the Fully Laid Table to Irish Beer…

Within this blog, we would like to familiarise you with the procedure of drafting and creating a complex mediation curriculum both from the inside and outside. Martin Svatos is one of the founders of this curriculum at the Charles University in Prague, and Sabine Walsh has accepted the invitation to give the final speech within this curriculum and to appraise the outcome of the effort.
Charles University mediation

Martin:
It all started with LinkedIn discussion couple month ago when I posted a question: What is your favourite mediation book and why? Well, at the time, I did not aim to gain the participants preferences and opinions about the best mediation books that should be used in the mediation training. The purpose [...]

Negotiation and Memory

Is it true that as we get older, we tend to forget things more easily? Or is it that some things are just less important?

As negotiators and mediators, we often deal with complex layers of information that appear all too much for any one person to recall. So we enter the negotiation room burdened with our big folders or sporting our slim iPads laden with mega data containing all the information that we might possibly need. I wonder though, if we sometimes rely too much on the documents when we could be structuring and presenting information and issues in ways that would maximise the negotiation experience — for everyone.

Let’s start with an overview of memory. From my reading there seem to [...]

How Mediation Helped Resolved Two Thousand Years Old Mystery…

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There is by far no other nation that would contribute to European civilisation with such an enormous portion and that would be so easily forgotten as the Etruscans. According to some authors, their influence to nowadays’ Europe culture is at least comparable to that one of Romans or Greeks. And yet, how many people enjoying a glass of famous Italian wine Chianti know that the first grape wines in the area of Tuscany were planted by Etruscans some two and half thousands years ago? Or do you ever ponder where did the Adriatic Sea take its name from? Only few know that its origin is related to the ancient city of Hadria and that it is related to Etruscan denomination of blue colour. Or how m [...]

Dispute Resolution of a New Generation*

As the world of business develops at an unprecedented pace, we all are constantly facing new challenging situations which we must rapidly understand, find new solutions to and, in some cases, adapt ourselves to. A global net of co-operations, business opportunities, market resources and novel technologies has inevitable spanned across our world of business.

Along with any innovation and development comes a new challenge and with that a new method to deal with it. Unsurprisingly, the segment of dispute resolution is no different from the others and also needs to rapidly adapt to the fast paced developments in the world of international commerce. Globalized, multicultural and highly complex t [...]

Reflecting on mediation as a new year beckons…..

As 2014 comes to an end, it is good to reflect. How privileged many of us are. I often remark to others that my “job” is better than “real work”. What do I mean when I say that?

As mediators, we have an extraordinary window through which we view life, other people and what happens in times of difficulty or distress. It is a vantage point which we need to cherish and respect.

In a period of ten days recently, I worked as a mediator in a number of diverse situations. These, anonymised here, have included an evening with townspeople explaining to a quarry operator their distress about the effects on a community of nearby blasting. I have sought to help a national sports body handle a very sensi [...]

Mediator’s Proposals? A Story…

I have never been a great fan of mediator’s proposals. I took the view that the mediator’s job, done well, was to help the parties to come to a solution themselves. Party autonomy and all that. Achieving a satisfactory outcome, I thought, shouldn’t require a specific suggestion by the mediator.

I have changed my view. As usual, experience is a great teacher. As is improvisation. Here’s what happened. After several hours of to-ing and fro-ing, and with a still significant gap between them, the mediator brought the principals together to meet with him, without their legal advisers (and with the advisers’ permission and encouragement). They talked for a while about their respective claims and [...]

Scotland: The Final Word?

“The key to doing well lies not in overcoming others,
but in eliciting their co-operation.”
Robert Axelrod

“Although negotiation takes place every day, it is not easy to do well. Standard strategies for negotiation often leave people dissatisfied, worn out or alienated…..”
Roger Fisher and William Ury

For probably the final time, I am writing about the referendum which was recently held in Scotland. Now, a Commission has been set up to address the need for additional powers, which the “No” vote has prompted.

Collaborative Scotland and Core Solutions have submitted views. These may be of interest to all of those who are pondering how the future of politics and our mediation work may i [...]

The Negotiation Campaign

Negotiations are like political campaigns. It is an organized effort to influence decision makers. “How” and “When” to begin the campaign are fundamental questions to examine before actually engaging in the formal negotiation. Consider the first presidential campaign of Barack Obama. While the election was in 2008, the campaign began before 2004 when the Democratic Party identified Obama as a rising star and selected him do the keynote speech at the 2004 Democratic National Convention. It was in that speech that he famously set the stage for his own political future by stating: “there’s not a liberal America and a conservative America; there’s the United States of America. There’s [...]

Lessons in Life for Mediators?

I am interested in convergence – of ideas, of behaviour, of trends, of different disciplines. The more I read, the more common themes I discern in the arts, science, spirituality, leadership and in what we do as mediators. A reflection of this is found in the African concept of ubuntu, “the profound sense that we are human only through the humanity of others.” These are the words of Nelson Mandela. Ironically, one of the finest books I have come across recently which encourages this idea of convergence is Mandela’s Way: Lessons in Life, by Mandela’s biographer, Richard Stengel.

In fifteen short chapters, Stengel captures the essence of what made Mandela special – and each one of [...]