Facilitating Engagement & Social learning



Dialogue and Inquiry….

Dialogue is a way of communicating, a way of conversing and thinking together that dissolves barriers and creates organizations energized by collaboration and partnership. In the dialogue process, people try to communicate about deeper issues than just stay on the surface. Minimally, participants hear and understand diverse perspectives. The ultimate purpose is to develop shared meaning – a common understanding which integrates the perspectives of all.  Dialogue serves the purpose of building deeper understanding, new perceptions, new models, new openings, new paths to effective action, and deeper and more enduring, even sustaining, truths. Dialogue builds capacities which may include:

  • Listening as an ally, listening for the understanding
  • Asking questions from a ‘place of genuine not knowing’
  • Allowing the time and space to finish a thought
  • Finding value in silence, in time to think, in reflection
  • Granting others the respect of their own thoughts and feelings
  • Noticing our own internal responses and learning to accept those
  • Building a hospitable, bounded and open place for consideration of perspectives
  • Learning to be provoked and not close down
  • Learning to listen deeply without the urge to fix, counter or argue
  • Noticing the nature of our thinking and to give up blaming, judging, and to become more compassionate
  • Develop the capacity to move into and toward difficult issues.

The word ‘dialogue’ comes from the Greek root ‘dia’ plus ‘logos’. Logos means ‘the word’, but implies not just the word but also the meaning. And ‘dia’ means ‘through’, not just ‘two’. This suggests that the meaning of dialogue is ‘passing through or flowing’ between participants. We are not trying to win in dialogue. We are trying to create shared meaning. Alternately the word discussion has the same root as the words concussion and percussion. It suggests a ping pong game in which we are passing the ball back and forth between us and the purpose it to win. [Bohm].


Circle is one of the oldest ways of our meeting together, and for many years now, it has been a foundation of my practice.  I ‘hold the space’ for authentic sharing and exploration.   I value the foundation provided by www.circleway.net

Collaborative Inquiry….social learning for impact

How do we create the conditions to catalyze transformation and innovation in place?

We are all engaged in initiatives at the scale of sector, institution, city, region, and globe. It is time now to engage in collaborative sensemaking beyond our current ways of working and being.

How/when is it about me? How/when is it about the system? What is beyond…beyond fear, boundaries and borders? How do we build bridges/connections? Into the field? Into the ‘uncertainty’?

What is a Collaborative Inquiry?

Collaborative inquiry is a process of gather people who share a deep interest and passion for transformation and innovation. It is an exploration, a journey of discovery and a powerful way of learning through surfacing burning questions – those questions that most matter to us right now.  Inquiry is co-created with clients and peers.

Inquiry explores complex and interdependent issues where no one individual “knows the answer,” and where the only viable option is for groups of informed and committed individuals to be together to arrive at new insights

What we know about an inquiry learning space…

The inquiry space is loosely structured and flexible.

It builds on our different ways of knowing – through mind, body and sensing capacities.

The inquiry is a time to:

– connect with what’s important – individually and collectively

– reflect, listen, probe, wonder and explore with others

– draw on the wisdom of the collective

– build and deepen relationships to create a community of support and learning

– develop fresh insight into our work with the possibility of joint action.

§  A collaborative inquiry is an emergent process that is both unpredictable and synergistic.