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Large-Group & Whole Systems Methods

Here are all of the resources in this category that NCDD recommends most highly.

A Resource Guide for Hosting Conversations That Matter at the World Cafe Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The World Café is an easy-to-use method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter to the real-life situations of your organizations or community. In this beautifully illustrated booklet, Juanita Brown collaborates with Nancy Margulies and the World Café Community to articulate seven guiding principles for people to use to host their own Café. Learn about the thousands of people on five continents who have experienced the World Café, a model for setting up the ideal Café for your group, the roles of the hosts, crafting powerful questions, Café assumptions and etiquette, and more.

Resource Link: http://www.theworldcafe.com

AmericaSpeaks Highly Recommended

Promoting the founding belief that every citizen has a right to impact the decisions of government, AmericaSpeaks serves as a neutral convener of large-scale public participation forums. Through close consultation with leaders, citizens, the media and others, AmericaSpeaks designs and facilitates deliberative meetings for 500 to 5,000 participants. Its partners have included regional planning groups, local, state, and national government bodies, and national organizations. Issues have ranged from Social Security reform to redevelopment of ground zero in New York.

Resource Link: http://www.americaspeaks.org

Appreciative Inquiry Highly Recommended

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is about the coevolutionary search for the best in people, their organizations, and the relevant world around them. In its broadest focus, it involves systematic discovery of what gives "life" to a living system when it is most alive, most effective, and most constructively capable in economic, ecological, and human terms. AI involves, in a central way, the art and practice of asking questions that strengthen a system's capacity to apprehend, anticipate, and heighten positive potential.

Café to Go! A Quick Reference Guide for Putting Conversations to Work Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The World Cafe Community Foundation, 2002.

This concise 7-page guide to the World Café covers the basics of the process. It includes brief outlines of each principle, a description of Café Etiquette, an outline of key elements of the World Café conversations, and tips for creating Café ambiance.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/cafetogo.pdf

Change Management Toolbook Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

The Change Management Toolbook includes a broad range of tools, methods and strategies which you can apply during different stages of personal, team and organizational development, in training, facilitation and consulting. It is based on the wealth of tools and principles that have been provided by Kurt Lewin, Edgar Schein, Peter Senge, Arie de Geus, Robert Dilts, Virgina Satir, Bert Hellinger, Harrison Owen, David Cooperrider, Marvin Weisbord, Steve de Shazer - just to name a few - and many other great teachers.

Resource Link: http://www.change-management-toolbook.com

D&D; Success Stories Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Compiled by the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), 2005.

Below are dozens of links to dialogue and deliberation success stories and case studies that are available online. Approaches covered include Deliberative Polling, Citizens Juries, Future Search, National Issues Forums, Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue, AmericaSpeaks, Study Circles, the Public Conversations Project, and Wisdom Councils. NCDD has been compiling these resources for the D&D; community for several years, but we could really use your help keeping this page updated. Email us at [email protected] with your additions and changes.

Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

William N. Isaacs, Dialogos. New York, NY: Currency, 1999.

Isaacs is a colleague of organizational learning guru Peter Senge (who wrote the introduction) and one of the founders of MIT's Organizational Learning Center. He also directed MIT's Dialogue Project, on which this book is based. Isaacs argues that organizational learning cannot take place without successful dialogue.

Resource Link: http://www.dialogos.com

Everyday Democracy's Dialogue-to-Change Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Part of a larger community program, an Everyday Democracy dialogue (formerly known as a "Study Circle") is a group of 8 to 12 people from different backgrounds and viewpoints who meet several times to talk about a critical public issue. In a dialogue, everyone has an equal voice, and people try to understand one another's views. They do not have to agree with one another. The idea is to share concerns and look for ways to make things better. A neutral facilitator helps the group look at different views and makes sure the discussion goes well.

Future Search Network (and trainings) Highly Recommended

The Future Search Network initiates future search conferences, innovative planning conferences used world-wide by hundreds of communities and organizations. The conferences meet two goals at the same time: helping large diverse groups discover values, purposes and projects they hold in common; and enabling people to create a desired future together and start implementing right away.

Resource Link: http://www.futuresearch.net

Future Search: An Action Guide to Finding Common Ground in Organizations and Communities Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Marvin Weisbord and Sandra Janoff, Future Search Network. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 1995.

This book describes a step-by-step process for planning and leading a Future Search conference, where diverse community members come together to envision and plan their shared future.

Resource Link: http://www.futuresearch.net

Open Space Technology Process Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Open Space Technology, created by Harrison Owen, is a self-organizing practice that releases the inherent creativity and leadership in people. By inviting people to take responsibility for what they care about, Open Space establishes a marketplace of inquiry, where people offer topics they care about, reflect and learn from one another, to accomplish meaningful work. It is recognized internationally as an innovative approach to creating whole systems change and inspiring the best in human performance.

Open Space Technology: A User's Guide Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Harrison Owen, Open Space Institute. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 1997.

Open Space Technology: A User's Guide is just what the name implies: a hands-on, detailed description of facilitating Open Space Technology (OST). Written by the originator of the method--an effective, economical, fast, and easily-repeatable strategy for organizing meetings of 5 to 1,000 participants--this is the first book to document the rationale, procedures, and requirements of OST. OST enables self-organizing groups of all sizes to deal with hugely complex issues in a very short period of time. This practical, step-by-step user's guide details what needs to be done before, during, and after an Open Space event.

Organization Development Network Highly Recommended

The Organization Development Network is an international professional association of organization development practitioners. The OD Network is dedicated to being a leader in the advancement of the theory and practice of organization development.

Resource Link: http://www.odnetwork.org

Organizing Community-Wide Dialogue for Action and Change Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Study Circles Resource Center, 2001.

A comprehensive guide to help you develop a community-wide study circle program from start to finish. Study Circles are at the heart of a process for public dialogue and community change. This process begins with community organizing, and is followed by facilitated, small-group dialogue that leads to a range of outcomes. Study circles don't advocate a particular solution. Instead, they welcome many points of view around a shared concern.

Resource Link: http://www.studycircles.org

Teachers, Study Circles and the Racial Achievement Gap Highly Recommended

Catherine Orland. Capstone paper for the School for International Training (submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for a Master of Arts in Social Justice in Intercultural Relations), 2006.

The subtitle of Orland's 76-page thesis is "How One Dialogue and Action Program Helped Teachers Integrate the Competencies of an Effective Multicultural Educator." Study Circles, a dialogue and action process, brings together teachers, parents and students from diverse racial, ethnic and cultural backgrounds to talk about the racial achievement gap. This study asks "How does the experience of participating in Study Circles bring teachers closer to integrating the competencies of the effective multicultural educator?"

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Orland-AchievementGap.doc

The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today's Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Peggy Holman, Tom Devane and Steve Cady (editors). San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler, 2007.

The first edition of The Change Handbook, published in 1999, was the most comprehensive guide available on methods of organization and community change. The first edition provided a snapshot of a nascent field that broke barriers by engaging “whole systems” of people from organizations and communities in creating their own future. The completely revised and updated second edition overviews 61 change methods - up from 18 in the first edition. A great introduction to large-group methods for participatory planning and redesign.

Resource Link: http://www.thechangehandbook.com

The Handbook of Large Group Methods Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Barbara Bunker and Billie Alban. Jossey-Bass, 2006.

Large Group Interventions are methods used to gather a whole system together to discuss and take action on the target agenda. The Handbook of Large Group Methods offers a comprehensive review of cutting-edge Large Group Methods currently being implemented to address twenty-first century challenges in organizations and communities. Key challenges addressed include working with organizations facing serious business crisis; working in community settings with diverse interest groups; working with organizations in polarized and politicized environments, and embedding and sustaining new patterns of working together.

Resource Link: http://www.josseybass.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0787981435.html

World Cafe Method, Metaphor, and Community Foundation Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Juanita Brown and David Isaacs from Whole Systems Associates use the model of the cafe setting to create a warm, inviting environment in which people can converse. Participants gather informally at small tables and are encouraged to map out the ideas generated from conversation onto the paper table cloths covering the tables.

Resource Link: http://www.theworldcafe.com

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