Dave Pollard's chronicle of civilization's collapse, creative works and essays on our culture.
A trail of crumbs, runes and exclamations along my path in search of a better way to live and make a living, and a better understanding of how the world really works.

January 27, 2012

Group Works Card Deck – A Joyful Announcement

Filed under: Working Smarter — Dave Pollard @ 15:54

For the past couple of years a group of professional facilitators and others experienced in and interested in improving “group process” has been working to create a “pattern language” (an integrated collection of practices, processes, qualities and other phenomena that “work” in many different group contexts and at different scales) to improve the effectiveness of meetings, conferences and other deliberative gatherings. I have had the privilege to have been part of the core team developing this “language”. When we started, we expected to produce a book, but instead we decided to produce a card deck, to make the tool more interactive, dynamic and fun.

I’m very pleased to announce that we have now published the deck. Here is our announcement:


The Group Works card deck, the first product of the Group Pattern Language Project, is now out! You can order copies of the deck, download a free PDF copy and learn about our upcoming mobile/phone app version of the deck on our website, groupworksdeck.org .

Image by Susan Stewart

The deck is designed to support your process as a group convenor, planner, facilitator, or participant. The developers spent several years pooling our knowledge of the best group events we have ever witnessed.

We looked at meetings, conferences, retreats, town halls, and other sessions that give organizations life, solve a longstanding dilemma, get stuck relationships flowing, result in clear decisions with wide support, and make a lasting difference. We also looked at routine, well-run meetings that simply bring people together and get lots of stuff done.

The deck consists of 91 full-colour cards (plus a few blanks to add your own patterns), a five-panel explanatory category/legend card, and an accompanying booklet explaining the purpose and history of the project and suggesting uses for the cards in group process work.

Each 3.5″ x 5.5″ card is laid out as follows:

These cards are yours, of course, to use in whatever ways make sense and work for you:  in the workplace, in design and preparation of facilitated events, as a learning and teaching tool, for reflecting on how an event went, or just for fun.  The website and booklet explain some of the ways they have been used by facilitators and students so far, to give you some ideas to get started with, and we invite users to share their experiences and stories with us.

Image by Ethan Honeywell

For more information on the deck, please visit our website: http://groupworksdeck.org


We have also drafted a .pptx brochure oriented to business audiences (most of our direct contacts are in the non-profit, public, education and government sectors), which you can download here.

Please let me know what you think of the material above, and how we might “tweak” it to make it better. Also, please let me know if you buy or download a deck yourself, or if you have contacts you’d be interested in presenting this to. And of course, if you use the deck to improve your meetings and other group processes, I’d love to hear your stories!


  1. Wonderful, thanks for sharing. Guess suggestions for tweaks will come back from people who had success moving their groups forward using the cards and other tools. Looking forward to the evolving exchange on http://groupworksdeck.org/participation

    Comment by CoCreatr — January 27, 2012 @ 19:23

  2. […] […]

    Pingback by A very wicked new tool for process designers « Chris Corrigan — January 30, 2012 @ 11:52

  3. […] but instead we decided to produce a card deck, to make the tool more interactive, dynamic and fun.Via howtosavetheworld.ca Uncategorized    A quick scan of our Permaculture Bookshelf […]

    Pingback by Group Works Card Deck – A Joyful Announcement « Canterbury Transition News — January 30, 2012 @ 14:58

  4. Dave … Thankyou so very much for this beautiful card deck! I am going through them now and every card resonates with me. The card “All Grist for the Mill” opens with the statement “Play the ball where it lands”. This is exactly what my wise old tennis coach used to say us as players trying to master the art of tennis. He used to say that every ball will hit the court differently and our job was to get into position and “be where the ball lands”. When in position and fully present, you have the best chance of responding.

    Thanks again and I will come visit when on bowen this coming June.


    Comment by Geoff Brown — February 2, 2012 @ 15:43

  5. […] Corrigan and Dave Pollard have written about the cards at their respective blogs here (Chris) and here (Dave) – read these post to a feel for what they are and how these Pattern Cards might be […]

    Pingback by Solitude | Yes and Space — February 6, 2012 @ 19:49

  6. oh, this is cool! i will race to view the PDF, may very well order a deck.

    Comment by isabella mori (@moritherapy) — February 12, 2012 @ 20:52

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