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 .
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!