Want innovation? You need healthy conflict

Richard W. DeVaul
7 min readMay 3, 2021
The Boxers, 1818, by Théodore Gericault, Metropolitan Museum of Art

High team performance is often described in terms of harmony — everyone pulling together. But in the workplace, this kind of harmony isn’t always healthy, and can be a sign of deeper problems. On innovation teams, high performance is defined not by harmony, but by its opposite: conflict; more specifically, high-performance in creative teams is defined by positive, healthy conflict.

Richard W. DeVaul

Founder, mad scientist, moonshot launcher. Writes on innovation, entrepreneurship, and social/queer issues. ex-CTO of Google X. @rdevaul on twitter