4. Map the paradox. To help “map the paradox,” as an example, draw two small boxes on opposite sides, in the middle of a blank piece of paper. In the left, write “City’s Needs” and in the right, write the budget. Brainstorm the answers to four simple questions: What are the benefits of meeting the needs of the city? What are the benefits of staying within the budget? What might be the unintended consequences of over-focusing on the city’s needs? Or of over-focusing on the budget?
Answers to question one go in the upper-left quadrant; answers to question two in the upper-right; answers to question three in the lower-left; and answers to question four in the lower-right. This created a variation of what Dr. Barry Johnson called a polarity map. If there’s an upside and a downside to both sides, should you meet the needs of the city or your regional budget?
In one example, that rhetorical question was used to lead a discussion with city officials about the tradeoffs of focusing on one side at the expense of the other — an idea led to a breakthrough with the city.