Sticking Points
A thinking routine for mapping messy controversies

Choose a big issue and look at these four facets…


What facts do people differ on?

What facts do they agree on?


What values do people differ on?

What values do they agree on?



What practical interests (e.g. investments, land, group loyalty) do people differ on?

What practical interests do they share?



What policies (i.e. general actions to take) do people differ on?

What policies do they
agree on?

Follow-Up Conversations 

  1. How does the pattern of Facts-Values- Interests-Policies differ by different groups, e.g. scientists, people from different political parties, business people, workers, different nationalities, etc.?
  2. How could progress be made without necessarily completely agreeing? E.g. people might try to settle some facts, find some common interests, arrive at a compromise policy. What are the opportunities in this case?