• Submitted by Kavana Tree on Sep 13, 2013

    Hereby announcing a Group Works team offering . . . since publishing the deck we've given public workshops in Seattle, Vancouver, & Berkeley, now it's time for PORTLAND! 

    • Are you sitting with a beautiful Group Works deck on your hands, wondering what to do with it? 
    • Do you want to geek out with other process people? 
    • Does diving deep into a new way of thinking about group dynamics that builds on your existing understanding and skills sound compelling? 

    New to all this?  What is Group Works?

    1. A new way of thinking about group dynamics and how to work with them effectively. A common vocabulary for facilitators and participants to use in exploring how to create and support fulfilling group sessions.
    2. A deck of 91 beautiful cards, available for $25 in print or download for free from (also available for iPad and as an iPhone app). Each card describes one pattern that shows up in meetings or other group gatherings that have a sense of life in them.
    3. A nonprofit (technically called the Group Pattern Language Project) that collectively created and stewards this ongoing exploration, and that you can get connected with in a variety of ways.

    Come be with us!  We will gather at Daybreak Cohousing on November 15-17:  Friday evening, Saturday daytime, and Sunday morning

    You are welcome to attend the Friday evening introduction as a stand-alone event, regardless of attending the rest of the weekend.  If you are attending on Saturday/Sunday, please either be present at the Friday night opening or have...

  • Submitted by Dave on Jul 8, 2013

    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 later this year once the last of its content has been moved to the...

  • Submitted by Kavana Tree on Jul 3, 2013

    This weekend was our most ambitious set of workshop offerings yet for the Group Pattern Language Project.  It was 2 full days of interactive presentations, with 5 of us co-presenting.  Sue Woehrlin & i led off with an introductory workshop on a variety of ways to use the deck.  While we are still developing more ways to actually use Group Works with groups in action, it's clear there are many applications in planning, studying, and debriefing group processes.  And depending on how process-savvy or open groups are, it can also be brought in in other ways; for example, Daniel Lindenberger of Source is starting to use it with clients to define the essential aims and intentions for a session. 

    After that, Dave Pollard led a skit on "How Not to Do Public Engagement," comprising 9 vignettes which the audience acted out, noted the problems of, and then called out which patterns from the deck could have made the situation go much better.  For anyone with experience in public engagement, the skit struck humorously close to home, and was a reminder of just how far we have to go in making public meetings better. 

    Next up, Daniel & Dave invited people to try out a few different games with the deck.  While the past year and a half since publication has seen the rise of many "activities" to do with the deck, actual "games"--something that feels more like play, and has an element of winning in it (whether cooperative or competitive)--have been few and far between.  We did the "Best Fit" game invented by Betsy Morris (sort of like Apples to Apples), and one that was sort of like Cranium (itself a mixture of Charades, Pictionary, and Taboo), and explored other possibilities.  In the Cranium-like game, i was amazed how effective my teammates were in expressing...

  • Submitted by Daniel on May 23, 2013

    We are pleased to have the opportunity to present a 2-day Group Works workshop at the end of June in British Columbia.  If you are curious about the deck and want to further explore how to use it, this is your chance!

    When: Saturday June 29, 9:00am-4:30pm, and Sunday June 30, 9:00am-4:00pm.

    Where: Quayside Village Co-housing, 510 Chesterfield Ave. at W. 5th Street in North Vancouver, near the Lower Lonsdale seabus dock.

    Cost: Sliding scale $25-$200 (cheque or cash at the door)

    RSVP: Please mark the dates in your calendar and reserve your space by email ASAP (this event may sell out) to Daniel Lindenberger (, indicating if you plan to attend one or both days. If there are particular topics you'd like discussed/explored, let Daniel know in your RSVP.

    Available Spots:
    Saturday: Waiting List

    Sunday: 4

    Topics will include:

    • How to use the Group Works Deck (Sue Woerhlin and Tree Bressen) - An introduction to practical applications for the Group Works deck.
    • How Not to Do Public Engagement (Dave Pollard) - A humorous role-play looking at some of the pitfalls of public engagement, and ways to improve the process based on Group Pattern Language
    • Games and Other Activities (Dave Pollard and Daniel Lindenberger) - An opportunity to explore various games to make learning and deepening facilitation skills fun with the Group Works deck.
    • Method Mapping (Sue Woerhlin and Tree Bressen) -...
  • Submitted by Sue on Apr 13, 2013

    Planning is underway for a series of events in the greater Vancouver, B.C. area June 25th through July 1st.  They will include a combination of public Group Works application workshops, professional development sessions for facilitators (perhaps around the therme of games possible with the deck?!) and project working sessions (likely on Bowen Island).  Local planning is being coordinated by Dave Pollard and Daniel Lindenberger.  Stay tuned for more details!

  • Submitted by Kavana Tree on Mar 11, 2013

    The sessions last month in Berkeley were fabulous.

    On February 22, about 16 of us gathered to engage in Method Mapping, under the able leadership of Sue Woehrlin.  Method mapping means taking a type of group process you are familiar with, and figuring out how to illustrate it using the Group Works deck.  For example, this time small groups worked on Sociocracy, World Cafe, Anti-Oppression, and more.  We intend to enter the "maps" created this way into our online module, along with posting photos & videos about them.  One of the groups also had an exploratory conversation to notice what we are learning about different ways of creating the maps.  While the people who can participate most effectively have experience both with the Group Works deck and with the particular method under consideration, as long as they have one or the other it's enough to get by.  Overall it was very fulfilling.

    The following day, almost two dozen people attended an introductory workshop on how to use the deck, led by Sassy & Tree.  This Applications workshop arose out of a common experience we've been having since the deck was published, which is that when we show it to someone new, the first thing they say after, "Oh!  How beautiful!"  is:  "What do you do with it?"  This workshop is designed to answer that question.  We offered a combination of sample activities to try out, stories from other people's experiences, and collective brainstorming on other possibilities. 

    In addition to the public events, we spent hours meeting in Stewards' Circle.  A particular theme this time was our relationship with technology.  There are so many...

  • Submitted by Kavana Tree on Jan 24, 2013

    You are invited to attend . . .


    Saturday, February 23rd


    Location:  Berkeley Unitarian Fellowship (Fireside Room), 1606 Bonita Avenue, Berkeley, CA

    An open workshop on the Group Works deck and ways to use it to help your meetings and group events go deeper, be more lively, and accomplish their goals.

    Presented by Tree Bressen, Kate Sassoon, and Sue Woehrlin,

    Sliding scale:  $10-50
    To attend, please RSVP to Sassy at

    What is Group Works?

    1. A new way of thinking about group dynamics and how to work with them effectively.  A common vocabulary for facilitators and participants to use in exploring how to create and support fulfilling group sessions.
    2. A deck of 91 beautiful cards, available for $25 in print or download for free from (also available for iPad and soon an iPhone app).  Each card describes one pattern that shows up in meetings that have a sense of life in them. 
    3. A nonprofit (technically called the Group Pattern Language Project) that collectively created and stewards this ongoing exploration, and that you can get connected with in a variety of ways.

    To learn more about Sue, Tree, and Kate Sassy,...

  • Submitted by Kavana Tree on Sep 26, 2012

    Wowie zowie, it's finally here, the tech infrastructure we've been waiting for to map card sequences! It is now possible to select a sequence of cards online and save it for later. Each sequence is assigned a unique URL for later viewing and editing. You can choose a default layout of 10 cards in a row, or make up your own layout within a 10 x 10 grid.  You can start from someone else's layout or sequence and then modify and resave under a new name.  You can even ask the site to "deal" you a random card, thus bringing Group Works tarot online.  The new card-mapping program can be used to save specific sets of cards for such purposes as:

    • illustrating a facilitation method
    • planning out a session in order by cards
    • sharing and discussing with your team

    To try out the new card-mapping program, first log in on the regular site (otherwise you won't be able to save any work in the new program), and then go to this page:Card Mapping. The program includes documentation and help pages, visit the links posted there.  This new program is still in "beta," so for any work you care about, we suggest making notes in hard copy or on your own system, or laying out the physical cards and taking a picture for the record.

    A huge thank you to Vine, our dedicated programmer.

  • Submitted by Sue on Aug 9, 2012

    Scheduled for the eve of the NCDD conference, the project will be hosting a "Method Mapping" workshop to inquire into/play with how the cards might help delineate/distinguish different group methodologies.  If you can be in Seattle this day, please join us!  Here's the invite:

       You're invited to...


       Date: Thursday, October 11, 2012   

       Time: 1:30-5:30 p.m.

       Location: Antioch University Seattle, room 200

    Before there was a 91-card deck called Group Works, there was a profusion of full-scale methods for working with groups large and small:  Way of Council; Open Space; Art of Hosting; World Cafe; Appreciative Inquiry; Future Search; Sociocracy; and dozens more.  The deck aimed to distill the core wisdom underlying the successful application of these methods:  what do they have in common when they are working, when a group really flows?  Now it's time to do some "reverse engineering."  We want to take the cards and use them as a common vocabulary to map out the methods.  If you had to pick 3 or 5 or 10 cards to explain to someone how your favorite method works, which ones would you choose, and in what order? 

    We are inviting people to attend this free session hosted at Antioch University (near the site of the NCDD conference, the day before the conference begins.  The more familiar you are with the cards and with one or more facilitation methods the better, but as long as you've at least laid eyes on the deck before the session, we're happy to have you join us.  Depending on how many people participate, we'll probably split into small groups with 1-5 people working on each method at...

  • Submitted by Sue on Aug 9, 2012

    Good news: Tree & Sue's proposal for a workshop on the cards has been accepted for the upcoming NCDD conference in Seattle!  If you are attending, come and share your experience with the cards...  If you know someone from your network coming to the Seattle conference, encourage them to check out our workshop.  

    Group Works Cards:  Applications    Friday, October 12, 2 -4 p.m.

    The Group Works deck is a creative synthesis of core wisdom in the field of facilitation and group convening, collaboratively distilled over several years by experienced practitioners from a variety of organizational backgrounds.  Come to this workshop to learn how these pattern cards can be used by groups and individuals for reflection, planning, analysis, and other guidance to generate more alive and productive group sessions.  Participants will receive a color booklet with summary charts, suggested uses and further resources.

  • Submitted by Kavana Tree on Jul 11, 2012

    Tree says:  A few of us are in the process of developing various workshops around the cards, individually and in collaboration.  So far there are two basic workshop types that i know of, and i suspect a few more are out there.  The first is a basic introduction to the cards.  The second is designed to answer the initial question many of us associated with the project typically receive, which is:  "How do you use the deck?"  In my mind there are 4 basic categories of usage: 

    1. learning and self-assessment (for individuals and groups)
    2. planning
    3. guidance mid-stream (or just before an event)
    4. reflection and debriefing (which in some ways is a subset of #1, but seems worthy of its own standing)

    Sue & i have developed a workshop covering these that i am hoping we are able to deliver at the NCDD conference and elsewhere.  The Oregon Mediation Association has accepted my proposal to present a concurrent session at their fall conference.  The coordinator of the Alt Blues Recess coming up in a few weeks wants creative workshops there even though it's mainly a dance event.  And the workshops coordinator at the Beloved Festival just asked me about presenting a workshop on Group Works.  I'm excited that we are getting the word out in a variety of venues.


  • Submitted by Sue on May 15, 2012

    On May 10th Tree Bressen and Sue Woehrlin co-hosted a telephone presentation on the card deck with some 45 NCDD members around the country.  Tree and Sue shared the history of the Group Pattern Language Project (and specifically the process that birthed the cards), lead participants through a couple of reflective exercises with the category keystone cards from the deck, addressed possible uses of the cards, and then facilitated an open-ended discussion.  Several other project members participated, including John Abbe, Raines Cohen, Betsy Morris and Amy Lenzo.  Toward the end of the call Sandy Heierbacher (NCDD director) invited the assembled group to brainstorm sugestions for how the cards might be used at the upcoming national NCDD conference in Seattle this coming October. All in all, a very lively event!

  • Submitted by Sue on Apr 26, 2012

    In recent weeks we've been mentioned in newsletters by both the World Cafe and AmericaSpeaks, in addition to Tom's blog entry on us at NCDD.

  • Submitted by Sue on Apr 26, 2012

    After three years and countless hours of meetings and work, the Group Works card deck, the first product of the Group Pattern Language Project, is finally out! You can order copies of the deck here, and you can download a free PDF copy here. We're finishing up work on a mobile/phone app version of the deck as well: more info on that here. Heartfelt thanks to all who contributed!

    Image by Susan Stewart


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