The Group Pattern Language Project has just returned from our first ever 'field trip'-- and what an adventure it was! Three core team members-- Daniel Lindenberger, Tree Bressen and Sue Woehrlin-- spent five days in Calgary, Alberta learning new ways that Group Works can be used to support large scale organizational change. Over the last year we'd been hearing rumors that over 6,000 City employees, and a couple thousand more citizens had had their hands on Group Works cards, and we'd certainly noticed a geographical concentration of deck sales in the area, so we decided we just had to go see for ourselves what was happening in northern stampede country!
Our hosts, teachers and collaborators for the week were 4 of the 5 team members who for the past two years have lead the City of Calgary's Cultural Transformation Project: Dave Plouffe (Engagement Lead), DJ Kelly (Strategy Lead), Beth Gignac (Lead and Culture Coach), and Ken Cameron (citizen 'raconteur'!). What a talented, committed and innovative bunch of change agents!
We spent the first day interviewing them about how they initially incorporated Group Works into the daily life of their team: drawing a card a day for random guidance, using the deck to plan upcoming meetings and scope out phases and aspects of their big initiative. Indeed, one of the things that struck us most was the organic way team members had integrated the group pattern language into their thinking and speech. That is, even without the cards in sight, they would say things like: "Oh, let's follow the group energy here" or "Guess it's time to inform the group mind" or "The experts on tap for this session were..." It was so inspiring to see the group pattern language embodied so fully!
Then we heard about that 'aha...more...