All the methods listed below are time-tested approaches that have been used in all sectors and across the globe, and that the creators of this site have experienced personally. They are each powerful and potentially transformative for the people who train in them, and each can also be considered training in leadership. Each is applicable to bringing the best out of a group whether the challenge is innovation, planning, conflict resolution, or consultation with diverse stakeholders. So the brief descriptions may sound similar; it is worth visiting the websites to understand the details better.
And the same skills each teaches are applicable to the small and very personal groups we find ourselves in—partners, children, friends, work colleagues.
Some of these organizations offer in-person training in Nova Scotia.
Appreciative inquiry is a method for starting our explorations into issues with an examination of what’s currently working before we start on what the “problems” are, and continuing with this lens as we go along. This simple but radical shift in perspective opens up new insights into possibilities as well as new energy and inspiration for engaging challenges. Appreciative Inquiry is used in many of the methods listed below.
The World Café methodology is a simple and very effective format for allowing larger groups to address common issues, in a way where everyone is heard, dissenting voices are included, and a genuine—and often surprising—“sense of the group” can emerge.
Open Space Technology
Open Space allows individuals in a group meeting context to talk about and explore what genuinely interests or concerns them, along with others who share those interests, rather than having the group engage in a common preset agenda or agendas.
Art of Hosting
The Art of Hosting teaches a number of collaborative processes, including World Cafe and Open Space, in an integrated approach that shows how to combine them to best effect, depending on the needs of the gathering.
Theory U originally came out of an extensive study of how creativity and innovation work across many cultures and sectors. It shows the attitudes and processes to more thoroughly examine your current perplexing challenge, get a deeper sense of what’s going on, and begin to get fresh ideas on next steps, and experimenting with small steps to determine the best ways forward. These processes are taught through the Presencing Institute.
Action inquiry is a template and process for ongoing inquiry that enables individuals, teams, and organizations to more clearly see and overcome the barriers to effective and powerful action. It is based on extensive social science research on the constituents of transformative leadership.
The processes of the extensive Deep Democracy program teach the balance between the need for collaboration and the need for efficient decision-making and are particularly strong in the area of identifying, preventing and addressing conflict potential in groups and teams before there is a need for an external facilitator to intervene. A two-day introductory program, CoResolve, offers an introduction to these tools.
Social labs, inspired by Theory U, are intensive, experimental interventions., bringing together people from across the group, team or organization in question to together seek root causes behind their problems and then collaborate on devising and testing solutions aimed at key leverage points. This change work then continues in the “lab” of the real world over time, with continuing group gatherings.