What is Ritual Dissent?
Ritual dissent is a workshop technique designed to overcome taboos against publicly critiquing ideas. The goal is for the presenter to hear candid, useful feedback.
During a workshop, a presenter shares their idea with a group that listens silently throughout the presentation. Dialogue or questions are not allowed. Then, the presenter turns his or her back to the group, symbolizing having "left the room" and listens in while the group discusses either what they didn't like (ritual dissent) or what they liked (ritual assent) about the idea they heard.
Large groups may break into several tables of "listeners", and presenters will then move from table to table to repeat their presentation. Between rounds, presenters are encouraged to consider the feedback they've heard so far and use it to improve their presentation in subsequent rounds.