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Group Works Deck: A Pattern Language Tool

This deck of 91 full-color cards distills the core wisdom of the field: what skilled facilitators do over and over again to make things work. The content is more specific than values, and less specific than tips and techniques, cutting across existing methodologies with a designer’s eye to capture patterns that repeat. The deck can be used to plan sessions, reflect on and debrief from them, provide guidance mid-stride, and share responsibility for making the process go well. In addition to the card set (which has a few blanks to add your own patterns), the deck includes a five-panel explanatory category/legend card, and an accompanying booklet offering the purpose and history of the project and suggesting how to use the product.

Why is it that some meetings and group sessions bring life to your soul, while others leave you wishing you’d never stepped in the room? What happens at the best ones, that makes them productive, fulfilling, and sometimes even magic? Dozens of facilitators and others from diverse organizational backgrounds worked collaboratively for several years to bring forth this expression of knowledge at the heart of successful meetings. It has the potential to provide a common reference point for practitioners coming from wildly different approaches, and to serve as a framework and learning tool for those studying the field.

Available for sale or free download at www.groupworksdeck.org. A version for iPad is available through the application Infinite Canvas, and a mobile app is currently under development.

If you want to preview the entire deck, all 91 patterns are displayed at groupworksdeck.org – and you can even download a free pdf of all the cards and print out your own set.  Or, if you prefer the easy path, you can buy a beautifully boxed set for only $25.

The deck is designed to support your process as a group convenor, planner, facilitator, or participant.  We developers spent several years pooling our knowledge of the best group events, processes and dynamics we have ever witnessed and distilling that knowledge into a coherent set of insightful data points with dozens of uses, presented in the handy modular physical form of a card deck.

We looked at meetings, conferences, retreats, town halls, and other sessions that give organizations life, solve longstanding dilemmas, get stuck relationships flowing again, deepen understanding, produce clear decisions with wide support, and make a lasting difference.  We also looked at routine, well-run meetings that simply bring people together to get lots of stuff done.  And we made sure to consider what makes such conversations juicy and fun.

Resource Link:  www.groupworksdeck.org

This resource was submitted by NCDD member Tree Bressen, founder of the Group Pattern Language Project, using our Add-A-Resource form.  Learn more about the Group Works Deck at their website www.treegroup.info.

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