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Getting Ninety People to Consensus: A Non-training Design

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How do you avoid having to sell a solution or future direction that the management or leadership team has created? Because it IS a sell job when a few people decide on a new way for the many.  When there are circumstances where any answer is a potential right answer – and there is a large group of stakeholders invested in that answer – there is another way:  large group interventions (LGI).  Instead of training people on a new direction and having to parry objections and dissatisfactions, including them in the creation process avoids the uphill battle.

There are several designs for large group participative events:  Search Conferences, Future Search Conferences, Open Space Technology, Real Time Strategic Change, World Café, and the Technology of Participation, to name some of the most popular.   There are some basic principles behind all of these techniques that are discussed in this article, along with specific design ideas when using the search conference method.