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Mark Fischer

Group work is a collective journey. How long will it take, and what will be the shape of the path? Consider what happens before, and after. Structure agendas in light of anticipated stages, choosing activities that align with each phase. Complete the arc to arrive at your desired destination.


how much time does it take for the purpose of a convening to be fulfilled, and how is that time structured?

implicit sense of essential steps that tend to go through in a certain order
archetypal, template
problem solving: understand issue before solving,
visioning: start with big picture, not micro-thinking, open up creativity
decision-making: understand perspectives before deciding implementation
What happens in between opening and closing?
   Opening ones: Opening & Welcome,
   Closing ones: Celebration, Measurement, Feedback

the path, progression or line of development
the curve that a body describes in space as a function of time
passing through

archteypal journey, what is the group equivalent of the hero's journey?
   or rites of passage, pilgrimages
   collective pilgrimage

phases, stages

is the agenda planned well, do they understand flow, pacing, underlying flow of what makes sense
to craft agenda well, you need to have a feel for this flow
pattern of unfolding
methods work because they capture fundamental steps
DF exception, or Patricia Shaw, Bohmian dialogue - have process rules or structure, but not as specific
trajectory as some other more formal methods
highly dependent on time, how much time are we taking to fulfill this purpose
what order do things happen in
follow people's natural energy rather than working against it
level of attention to flow and energy and how to craft agenda
attending to rhythm, sequence, pacing, timing
what is the time framing of an event or method
each one has a coherence to it
whatever your purpose is, you need to allow enough time to fulfill it
you don't ask a group to do the most complicated task when they are first starting, you build up to it

given the purpose and time frame
understand the key stages of the journey

This pattern is about the longer timeframe (which includes multiple gatherings, etc.) It is about tracking development over the course of multiple events, and also over the lifecycle of a single longer or multi-site event.

Projects, programs, initiatives all have multiple time horizons. Each will have activities that are done by one or more group and others that are done by individuals. It is important that any facilitated event be appreciated and managed in the context of the larger project or set of activities of which the event is a part. This larger project or set of activities may have the same or a greater Purpose than that of the event.

In addition, a single long or multi-site event may also require coordination of its constitituent sessions to ensure they are effectively contributing to the event's Purpose and Intention.


The development of this pattern language itself required multiple events, each with a specific Purpose and Intention, plus much individual activity in between events. A Core Group was established to coordinate all these activities to ensure they collectively achieved the projects overarching Purpose.

Art of Hosting Chaordic Stepping Stones and 5 breaths of design
Future Search 3-day template
each method tends to have its own
Bruce Tuckman: Forming, Storming, Norming, Performing as process elements
ICA TOP methods


Grove "Graphic Game Plan" -
some book on instructional design . . .


Soundtrack: ”Passing Through” song by Dick Blakeslee and others

"This event started long before it began and will continue long after it ends." -- from a 2008 Art of Hosting session.