Highlights of our Pre-Event Working Session June 25-28, 2013

Dave's picture

On June 25-28, our four Core Team members and Directors -- Tree Bressen, Sue Woehrlin, Daniel Lindenberger and Dave Pollard -- along with our newest Stewards' Circle member Christopher Allen, met at Dave's house on Bowen Island, BC for our first 2013 face-to-face work session.

The purpose of the session was to hammer out our direction, priorities and strategies going forward, and streamline some of the tasks we have been doing to date.

Pursuant to our overall Goal/Mission: to learn and share the core wisdom of what makes deliberative group work successful, primarily through the development and promotion of a pattern language for group process, we identified seven organizational Objectives and a prioritized list of short- and long-term actions and strategies to achieve them. The seven Objectives are:

  1. To get trim -- to update, streamline, and simplify the tasks, procedures and technologies we use to accomplish our work
  2. To maintain a well-functioning, sustainable organization
  3. To foster a culture of collaboration -- so that anyone interested in group process feels invited and empowered to participate in achieving our objectives
  4. To help people learn the possibilities of the Pattern Language and Group Works
  5. To share more tools for bringing life to groups
  6. To deepen the Language
  7. To remain open to emergent opportunities as the profession evolves and as new technologies and collaboration and application possibilities arise.

To these ends, we made a lot of decisions on tasks, procedures and technologies going forward, including the decision to close our Wagn wiki-based development platform at grouppatternlanguage.org later this year once the last of its content has been moved to the new groupworksdeck.org site. 

We discussed a number of financial, contracting, funding and website management and organization matters, plans for future public events, and materials we could put on the website to support practitioners. We also discussed how we might attract more people to participate in the project in different ways -- which is essential if the vision we're evolving is to become a reality. We want to be able to offer a full spectrum of ways you can participate in the project: in informing and educating people about the Pattern Language and Group Works, in the development of additional tools and applications for the language, and in deepening the language. 

We've now developed a four-pronged classification of the project's collateral and tools that identifies which work-products 'belong' to the project and which, by virtue of our Creative Commons and Open Source philosophy, we are inviting and enabling others (through collaboration and access to our database of support resources) to develop and bring into the world independently.

In order to help people learn the possibilities of the language, in addition to continuing our workshops and being visible at relevant large events, we intend to create more materials that will support the use of the Patterns in your practice and in events (an enhanced library of ideas, testimonials, slide decks, tools, games, activities, stories and perhaps even informational videos) on our website. We hope eventually to offer 'in-depth' training courses and practitioner events, and are working, with the help of many practitioners at public events like last week's in Vancouver, to produce Method Maps that will help you understand, share and employ appropriate facilitation methods in your practices, by identifying the essential Patterns in each method and how they are most often invoked.

We're also going to dive deeper into how 'e-versions' of the deck might evolve to align with how smart phones and tablets are used and to take advantage of features of these technologies that a hard-copy deck can't replicate. And we're going to continue to watch how the world of facilitation is evolving, in business and non-profits, education, public engagement, online group processes, and public group processes like Occupy. 

All of this work, and these events and developments, will, we hope, inform our design, a few years from now, of Group Works 2.0.

So it was a full, productive and thoughtful session. We thank everyone -- all of the facilitators whose work we have followed, influenced and worked with -- for helping make our work to date so fruitful and for inspiring us in our work going forward, and invite you to participate as we take Group Works, the Pattern Language and tools to enhance and support group process to the next level.

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