Back to top


  • Submitted by Dave on Oct 29, 2018

    Tree and I (Dave) spent Thursday afternoon and Friday at a joint conference of two organizations, Pattern Languages of Programs (PLOP) and Portland Urban Architecture Research Lab (PUARL), held in side by side at the Portland campus of the University of Oregon.

    We learned about major pattern language initiatives overseas, including 10 pattern languages developed by Wolfgang Stark and his team in Germany (the same folks who translated Group Works into German), and 60(!) pattern languages developed by Takashi Iba and his team at Keio University in Japan (who brought 25 attendees from the Iba Lab to the conference — wow).

    We are pleased that Group Works seems to be recognized as an exemplary pattern language, and has been the inspiration for some others.

    Tree appreciated connecting with the diverse international community of people working in this area, and the underlying intention of social change motivating many of them. She was surprised and delighted to learn of the pattern language antecedents to the creation of both wiki (the first wiki was created to hold and modify software patterns) and agile. She especially enjoyed talking with wiki innovator Ward Cunningham, whose new Federated Wiki project shows great potential for use in connection with Group Works, and with Ross Chapin who works on “pocket neighbourhoods.” All in all, she found the conference more lively and fulfilling than she expected.

    A highlight for me was Takashi’...

  • Submitted by Dave on Aug 30, 2018

    Thanks to Alexander von Below for upgrading our iPhone app to work with the latest version of iOS. We're leaving it as free at least for now, to allow time for everyone who bought the old version to upgrade. You can find it here.

    If anyone's up for creating an Android version, please let us know.

  • Submitted by Dave on May 22, 2017

    Robert Best has kindly developed a method of incorporating the selection of a random Group Works card within any Slack application. Here's his video that explains how to add a slackbot with that functionality to your Slack team, and here's a link to his Google Doc file of shortened URLs for all of the Group Works cards (you'll need that file because of the length limit for URLs in the Slackbot).

    Once it's in place, all you have to do is type the magic phrase ("Group Works card please" in Robert's example, or whatever phrase you choose to set) and the bot will retrieve and display a random card from the Group Works deck.

    Thanks so much to Robert for developing this cool add-on for Slack users, and to Ferananda Ibarra and Jeff Clearwater for showing it to us.

  • Submitted by Sue on Oct 29, 2016

    Cynthia Kurtz and Sue Woehrin led a workshop on cross method mapping using the Group Works pattern cards at the October 2016 NCDD (National Coalition for Dialog & Deliberation) conference. Cross method mapping, developed by Cynthia, is a protocol for comparing and contrasting two different facilitation methodologies in a systematic way using the Group Works pattern cards as a common language. At the NCDD workshop one group compared Open Space Technology and Reflective Structured Dialogue; another group compared Structured Dialogic Design and Non-Violent Communication. All participants came away not only with new openness to another method but with greater insight into their own familiar one! Try this for yourself. You might surprise yourself by uncovering hidden connections and distinctions, and you’ll discover new ways to bridge divides across varying methodologies. Cynthia's workbook can be found on our resources page under workshop handouts (and can be adapted for your own use).

  • Submitted by Sue on Feb 1, 2016

    Group Works est disponible maintenant en précommande en français! Merci à Juan Carlos Londono à Montreal, Christine Koehler à Paris, and Jeremie Schaeli à Lausanne, Suisse pour avoir traduit Group Works en français comme Les Clés des Dynamiques de Groupe.

    L'équipe Group Works est très fière d'accueillir cette nouvelle version de notre outil pour la facilitation de groupe efficace!


    Check out the new website for French deck users!

    Kudos to Juan Carlos Londono in Montreal, Christine Koehler in Paris, and Jeremie Schaeli in Lausanne, Switzerland for their great team work transforming Group Works into "Les clés des dynamiques de groupe"

  • Submitted by Sue on Dec 10, 2015

    We're excited to pass along the great news from the team of Christine Koehler, Juan C Londono and Jérémie Schaeli that the French translation of the Group Works deck has gone to press! The decks are expected to be ready for sale in March 2016. A hearty congratulations to this dedicated team who persisted across an ocean in their collaboration. Check out their budding website and watch for a list serve in French to appear soon.

  • Submitted by Dave on Oct 15, 2015

    I spent a delightful day on Monday with Delvin Solkinson (from and Kym Chi, along with 14 others in Heart Gardens and Elphinstone Park in Roberts Creek BC, learning about the principles of permaculture. They use the Group Works deck as part of their toolkit, and now it's being used by 'permies' all over the world, such as Looby Macnamara in the UK. The banner photo on our Facebook Community page was taken at one of Del's workshops in New York (that photo is by Gene Stull). Awesome! Thanks Del and Kym!

  • Submitted by Sue on Jul 13, 2015

    Congrats to Ulises and Marta on the publication of the Spanish translation of Group Works!!  

    "Nos sentimos muy felices de anunciar que ya están disponibles en español las cartas de la facilitación, un paquete de 91 cartas en color con diferentes patrones grupales necesarios para reuniones efectivas y armoniosas, creado por Group Works y traducido al español por Ulises y Marta, miembros fundadores del Instituto Internacional de Facilitación y Cambio Europa, IIFACe.”

    “We are happy to announce the ‘facilitation cards’ are already available in Spanish, a deck of 91 colorful cards explaining different group patterns present in effective meetings, created by Group Works and translated into Spanish by Ulises & Marta, both founding members of the International Institute for Facilitation and Change Europa, IIFACe”.
    Un abrazo,

    José Luis Escorihuela 'Ulises' * Facilitador de grupos
    Facebook: ulyselba    Twitter: #!/ulyselba

    You can download a free copy of the Spanish translation in a pdf file from, or order a printed version from the Ecohabitar online shop at

    If you'd like to connect directly with Ulises and Marta, here are their emails:

  • Submitted by Sue on Jun 3, 2015

    The core team is fresh off a fabulous session on Bowen Island (a short ferry ride from Vancouver, B.C).  Very nourishing to return to Dave’s gracious hosting and home, the site where many of the patterns were born, and where inspiration crystallized to publish the group pattern language as a deck of cards!

    A core purpose of this session was to ‘go meta’, to reflect on—and celebrate! —all that has been achieved in the past six and a half years since Tree founded the project in 2008.  The project has never really truly paused to take a deep breath together, especially since the first Group Works printing at the end of 2011, so this gathering was special. 

    With Nancy White’s artful facilitation we gained new perspective on our overall trajectory, and discerned ways to simplify back to essentials.   Clarity about the minimum work required to keep decks moving out into the world opens up space for rest and renewal for core team members.  Deleting tired old task/to do lists (along with the guilty consciences that went with never getting to them!) frees energy to focus on emergent initiatives such as nurturing the quickly expanding community of Group Works enthusiasts—that would be all of you reading these posts! ;-) 

    While we have decided to take a break from organizing Group Works workshops for the coming year, we are putting out a call for any of you to organize one yourself in your home community!  For ideas on how to construct an experiential workshop of your own, check out the “workshop segment compilation” handout on our resources page.  Feel free to ask for our consultation if need be, and/or invite us to come design and facilitate a custom...

  • Submitted by Wesley on Apr 22, 2015

    Hi there, my name is Wesley – I’m a Masters student in Nonprofit Management and Conflict Resolution at the University of Oregon. For the last few months, I’ve been working with the core team as the first-ever intern for the Group Pattern Language Project.

    I’ve helped out with several projects; including working with the team as we found a new distributor, and Distilling a master list of workshop segments. I also have been sitting in on meetings of the core team - mostly Listening, but I also share some thoughts on nonprofit life stages. My final official role as intern was helping out at the recent workshop in Seattle, and co-facilitating during the games night there. Overall it’s been a great experience, and you can read more on my internship blog at

    I’ve been very impressed with the core team and the wider Group Works community – you all have my Appreciation for what you’ve done to bring this awesome deck into the world! And, if there's anyone else who might be interested in doing an internship with the project, feel free to reach out to me or to one of the members of the core team - there's always lots of work to be done!

    Best Wishes,


  • Submitted by Sue on Apr 5, 2015

    The project has just concluded another combined Games night/ public workshop weekend, this time in Seattle. It was fabulous to connect with old friends like Nancy White, John Inman, and Michael Wolf, and as always, to meet new friends and users of Group Works! Kudos especially to Stephanie Ellis who travelled all the way from New Mexico just to attend the weekend’s events.

    The Games night was as usual full of friendly competition, and much laughter. If you haven’t yet tried out some of the games that have been refined as a playful way to engage the deck, I really encourage you to check them out on the activities list on our website. Dave Pollard has been refining a growing set of possibilities, mostly modeled after common games such as Charades, Pictionary, "Apples to Apples.” “Best Fit” is a perennial favorite as well. If you’re having a bunch of tending toward process geek or nerd friends over for an evening, try something a little different by pulling out a deck. Alternately, if you are facilitating an all day or multi day event and need a playful respite, try one of these in that lull after lunch to get folks moving around and embodying learnings about effective group work.

    In the all day workshop we continued with old standbys— like the full group serving as consultant to one person’s approaching dilemma, with each of nine small groups using the patterns of one category, but we also continued to weave in new segments. For example, Dave had the group in teams of three have each person do an "organizational assessment" of their home reference group just using the nine new category cards to find 1-2 areas of particular strength and 1-2 areas that most need development. Or one of Tree Bressen’s new...

  • Submitted by Tree on Mar 31, 2015

    Seattle participant John Inman posted this blog entry about his experience with recent GPLP events.

  • Submitted by Dave on Feb 25, 2015

    Group Pattern Language Project is pleased to present an interactive workshop on

    Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings

    Seattle Washington  |  Saturday, March 28th, 2015 | 9:30am-4:30pm


    Are you interested in improving your work with groups and communities?

    Calling facilitators, project and group leaders, nonprofit board members, managers, committee chairs, public engagement practitioners, teachers, organizers, personal coaches, activists, anti-oppression trainers, and others whose work involves empowering people to participate in groups, workplaces, and communities in a more dynamic and effective way.

    We invite you to attend a highly interactive workshop where you will have the opportunity to:

    • Learn the usefulness of thinking in vital group patterns and how to apply them to organizations you are involved with
    • Share dilemmas and seek solutions with colleagues
    • Reflect on your facilitation practices
    • Get support on upcoming meeting designs
    • Engage with others who care about these things!

    The day will be an introduction to using this set of patterns to engage with group dynamics in ways that are engaging, useful, and replicable. The workshop will be richly participatory, with plenty of opportunity to explore how this relates with your own experience.  We’ll be using the deck Group Works:  A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings as our lens. While familiarity with the deck is helpful, it’s not essential—you’ll...

  • Submitted by Dave on Feb 25, 2015

    As a lead-up to the March 28th Group Works Pattern Language workshop (more about that here:, we're having an open-to-all informal games session & potluck the previous evening. Here are the details:

    WHERE: 1320 W. Barrett St Seattle WA 98119 (NW corner of Queen Anne, just off Dravus, just south of the Ballard bridge). 

    Directions or questions about venue please call Sue Woehrlin at 206-390-5807.

    WHEN: Friday March 27th, potluck dinner 6-7pm, games 7-9pm

    WHAT TO BRING: One potluck item (ideally with ingredients labeled), vegetarian or fish.

    WHAT WE'LL PLAY: First hour we'll play one or more of three simple, easy-to-learn, proven fun games using the Group Works card deck. You don't have to be familiar with the deck or be an expert facilitator to play! Come and learn and have fun! Second hour you can continue with the simple games or participate in testing some new ones. If you're curious, full instructions on the games are here: .

    If you're planning on coming, please RSVP to

    Look forward to seeing you Friday March 27th!


    --Dave Pollard, Sue Woehrlin and the Group Works gang

  • Submitted by Sue on Feb 2, 2015

    The Group Pattern Language Project will host an informal evening on Friday March 27th to play games with the cards, followed by a full-day workshop Saturday March 28th as a general training on using the Group Works deck to deepen your practice as a participatory group faciltiator/leader.  We'll also be convening for a work session a few days preceeding the public events where we welcome new energy of folks wanting to get involved in carrying this project forward.  Look for further details to follow soon.