What is a Polarity Map?
Teams use the Polarity Map® technique in meetings to explore the benefits and problems with opposing factors, or poles, that play against each other when making a decision, especially when both alternatives have relatively equal validity. For example, teams may struggle with the need to innovate vs the need to manage risk, or a focus on fresh voices vs a reliance on experience. During the meeting, the facilitator draws a two-by-two grid and places the "poles" at the sides. In the top quadrants, the teams list all the benefits that come from each alternative. The bottom quadrants, or "the shadow side" is used to list the problems that arise when a group operates too much in that pole. Once the quadrants include more detail, the team can then talk about specific ways to achieve the benefits at the top of the graph while watching for and preventing the problems listed on the bottom.