Discussion, it turns out, has its same roots in percussion and concussion (discus) which means to throw, fragment, or shatter. As Graeme Nichol's of Arcturus Advisors points out in his Dialogue vs. Discussion article:
The purpose of discussion, though, is to make sure you win, or that your point of view is the one that is accepted. During the discussion you will support your idea and give your points more strongly until, eventually, others agree with you.
That doesn't sound very collaborative, does it?
Dialogue on the other hand is an exploration of ideas...during dialogue everyone works together contributing towards the idea.
Senge credits his discovery of the distinction to David Bohm who first really advocated it (see the link to Bohm's Dialogue).
There's a pretty good illustrative difference between the two hosted by The Dialogue Group, a small consultancy with some impressive clients. They reinforce the collaborative nature of dialogue:
In Dialogue we do not try to convince others of our points of view. There is no emphasis on winning, but rather on learning, collaboration and the synthesis of points of view.
I think that words are important. Specific words even more so. I've heard it said that you can really only ever "think in the words that you know" (for example, when I was living in Japan, my friend Shinobu once told me that she needs to use English to really convey emotions -- kurazy desu ne?).
So, today's Big Idea: Next time someone says they want to have a discussion with you, ask to have a dialogue instead.
Think of drums and fireworks -- boom boom. They may just be planning on trying to win you over instead of really asking for your help or input...
How can I fail more? Actually, a lot more.
And How can I fail faster?
Agility is about finding what doesn't work as much as it is about what does work. The basic idea is to fail fast so that you can figure out dead end paths sooner.
"In Innovate or Die, Matson suggests that the goal with intelligent fast failure is to move as quickly as possible from new ideas to new knowledge by making small and manageable mistakes — intelligent failures. By moving quickly, we can determine what works, and what doesn’t, without draining the bank account and energy devoted to developing the idea."