Tools for Meaningful Conversations 3/4 July 2018 – Day Two

So after learning the theory, it was time to put it into practice by the volunteer facilitators. As usual, we started with Circle. The different methods used are explained on the Art of Hosting website.

Jose explained the principles of Circle. The Guardian is the time keeper and should be sensitive to the need to stop for a moment if someone is emotional and ensure each person has an equal chance to speak. The Guardian should sit opposite to the Host of the circle. A talking piece is used to indicate the person who holds the power to speak and the remainder should show respect by listening.

Our reflective questions were, “What’s my potential?” and “What do I need to realise it?”

The facilitator needs to model behaviour – Speak out with kindness but power. So, if people are speaking for too long, he/she speaks for a shorter time. If they are too flippant, he/she should speak profoundly.

Open Space – The principles

Noelle explained in the late 80s, Harrison Owen developed  Open Space. Click on the links if you would like to know more of the history.

The rules –

  1. Caller – has a burning desire to pose a question and adds it to the board.
  2. Participants – can either engage with just one theme or connect with more.

Our topic for Open Space:


Convergence – feedback from callers, the Jose who advised:

  1. Prepare well in advance, collaborating with others.
  2. Start with purpose.
  3. Less is more – give few, simple instructions.
  4. Maintain control.

Chaordic Stepping Stones – see video for explanation


Design for Wiser Action – Design Lab

Jana explained an adapted version. This tool is very structured and some of the team found it too restrictive. Jose explained, for it to work effectively, it needed far more time.

  1. Caller has 3 min pitch of their idea.
  2. Ideally 3-4 co-designers, per table, required. They have 5 mins to ask powerful questions (see yesterday’s training notes). The caller needs to listen and not speak.
  3. All except caller move one table clockwise.
  4. The caller turns around and takes notes of the co-designers engaging in a conversation about their idea.
  5. Return to original table when all may freely discuss, The caller harvests the ideas on the pre-prepared sheet (see above)





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