A list of awesome Social Architectures

Usage:Large group dialogue

1.Question is chosen for discussion
2.People go off into small groups at different tables to discuss
3.People can take notes on big pieces of paper in middle of each table
4.Then after discussion people go off into different small groups
5.They will discuss same question or a different question (depending on what the facilitators have decided beforehand)
6.Then everyone comes back together in large group to share and harvest.

Usage: large group dialogue

1.People suggest topics for discussion
2.Group self-organizes to create schedule with multiple sessions running concurrently
3.One is free to move from group to group
4.Notes recorded of session
5.Everyone comes back and shares what happened in each group

Usage: Group visioning and activation
1. Co-initiate : dialogue to identify issue. Usually with many stakeholders.
2. Co-sense : feel into the issue together. What are roots of issue?
3. Co-presensing: Listening to the collective field. Use deeper ways of knowing
4. Co-creating: developing a prototype of solution
5. Co-evolving: continue to test and iterate prototypes

Usage: Group visioning and activation

1.Discover what works well in your group/organizatin
2.Dream and envision what could work well in the future
3.Designing and planning strategies that could work in the future
4.Deploy the strategy

Usage: (i) group process (ii) way of running workshops

1.Everyone tunes into the group field
2.When someone gets an intuitive hit on what facilitation exercise to lead, they can lead the group in that exercise.
3.When exercise ends the group goes back into listening to the group field til someone else gets an intuitive hit

Note: This circle can begin with 1 minute exercises until people get a feel for each other. Then it can move into longer exercises……Facilitator Improv can be about a general topic, or it can be focused on a specific topic, like art or relationships

Usage: Group decision making

1.Facilitator stands at board on which is written the categories : Problem/ Solutions/ Concerns /Data
2.The facilitator continually summarises people comments as the dialogue progresses, and writes them down on the board in the category where it belongs

Usage: Group process

1.Do some connection exercises e.g. eyegazing
2.Go around a circle with a person saying something they are sorry for doing.
3.Others listen empathically, and when each person finishes, they say ‘We forgive you’

Usage: embedded into interpersonal or group dialogue1.Speak observations rather than judgements
2.Identify your feelings
3.Identify your needs
4.Make requests (that can help get your needs met), and not demands

Usage: Council process

1.A talking stick is passed around to those who want to speak
2.People listen from the heart
3.Speak from the heart
4.Speak spontaneously without planning
5.Speak succinctly

Usage: Council

1.Close your eyes and imagine an animal coming to you
2.Feel what life is like to be that animal
3.Everyone creates a mask/costume for their animal
4.In council, each person, as the animal, shares what their life is like. Everyone responds “We hear you ____ (name of being)”
5.Each person then shares what is happening to them, what people are doing to them, and what they want to say to people. Everyone responds ” We hear you __(name of being_)”
6.In next round, each person shares what wisdom and gifts they have to offer. Everyone responds “We thank you ___(name of being)”
7.Then people take off their masks, and share what aspects of the will change about the way they live as people

Usage: Tool embedded into group or dialogic process

1.At certain points in a discussion the empathic dashboard can be called for.
2.People let people know how understood they feel in the discussion by showing a number of fingers from 1-5. 1 means not understood at all. 5 means understood well
Note:This can be done before a vote, and if people are not all showing at least 3 fingers, then more discussion ensues.

Usage: Group process

1.Get into groups of 3 to5
2.One person is speaker who talks about something meaningful to them
3.One person is active listener, who at times can reflect back to the speaker what they heard
4.The others are passive listeners, who listen empathically
5.Rotate roles

Usage: for talks with people from different ideological backgrounds
1. Choose the topic of conversation
2. Be curious and open to learning
3. Show respect and suspend judgment
4. Find common ground and note differences
5. Be authentic and welcome that from others
6. Be purposeful and to the point
7. Own and guide the conversation
8. First round of dialogue begins with ‘What interested you or drew you to this topic’
9. Second round is exploration of core values. ‘ What sense of purpose guides you in life?’ ‘What would your best friend say about you and what makes you tic?’,’What are your hopes for your community?’
10. Third round is dialogue around key topic-related questions
11.  Fourth round is reflection on how dialogue went, what you gained, and if your perception of anyone changed
12. Fifth round is about what noting what was accomplished, and what steps you will make moving forward.
Transformation dialogues
Usage: for talks with people in conflict
1. Relax and become present . Take deep breaths
2. Let go of some attachment to your thoughts and judgments
3. Give yourself empathy
3. Find common ground
4. Share your needs
5. Share your feelings
6. Explain the other person’s point of view
7. Embrace and hold multi-perspectives at same time
8. Give a gift : metaphorical or otherwise to the other
9. Clarify which things are goals, and which are strategies to meet goals
10. Make requests, not demands
Note: These do not have to be done necessarily in order above.

Usage: Group dialogue

1.During conversation no decisions will be made
2.Suspend judgement for the duration of the conversation
3.Be as honest and transparent as possible
4.Work to understand assumptions behind each person’s beliefs
5.Build on each others ideas in conversation
6.Goal is not to win, but to think together

Usage: interpersonal dialogue

1.Pause. Step out of habitual thoughts into presence
2.Relax. Calm body and mind. Receiving whatever thoughts and feelings come
3.Open from internal to include external with a sense of spaciousness
4.Trust emergence
5.Listen deeply
6.Speak the truth



Usage: Creating a team

1.Create a vision
2.Find people with this common vision
3.Articulate each persons strengths.
4.Clarify what archetypes and roles each person wants to play
5.Write a script for the group
6.Enact the script

Note: the above steps do not have to be in linear order


Hot Seat
Usage: Group process

1.People take turns being on the hot seat
2.Everyone asks questions of a person on the hot seat
3.The person on the hot seat, can answer truthfully, not truthfully, or pass
4.Questioners ask interested questions rather than interesting questions. Interested questions keep focus on the person in the hot seat. Interesting questions put attention on questioner
5.After the person on hot seat finishes answer, questioner says ‘Thank you’
6.Facilitator waits for a high note and then says “I’ll take you off the hotseat”

Council of all personality parts

Usage: Council, Group dialogue

1.Everyone does work to explore their different personality subparts – warrior, critic, protector, activator, healer, child, big heart etc… You can use different modalities like Big Mind process to explore this.
2.During council with everyone, each individual says which of their personality subparts is speaking. And then allow that part to speak
3.Give opportunity for different subparts from each person to speak

Natural Selection
Usage: Large group dialogue

1.Problem or question in need of solution is created
2.People gather in smaller groups
3.In each group everyone presents a solution
4.Group chooses best solution and elaborates on it
5.Everyone rotates into different groups.
6.Each presents best solution from their previous group
7.Group chooses best solution and elaborates on it
8.Come back into large group with the solutions that have been naturally selected

Lecture peer summary
Usage: To use in lectures and talks
1. At points in a lecture or at the end, two people or a small group can turn to each other summarizing and discussing what was just said.
Charette Procedure
Dialogue mappingWorldwork
Wisdom Council
Commons Cafe
Restorative Circles
Forum (ZEEG)
Theatre of the oppressed
Technology of Participation
Dialogue mapping
Beauty engine
Heart Circle
Dragon Dreaming

Gift Circle

Usage: Group process

1.In a circle share what you are grateful for (optional step)
2.There is a round where each person shares their needs (eg. need dogwalking, or help editing)
3.Others respond if they would like to help with that need as a gift economic service
4.There is another round where each person shares what services/stuff they can offer as a gift.

Sovereign Accountable Commons (SAC)

Usage: For community

1. You become part of the SAC commons when you accept the agreements of the SAC, which could be about being collaborative, sharing certain things, etc

2. Once part of the SAC you have access to the goods and services in the commons eg. access to a community space, certain free services others in the SAC give to its members etc

Shop of the Open Heart
Free School
Really really free market
Free farm stand
Generosity party
Deeper Need circle
Commons-based peer production
Tool library
Seed swap
Crop Mob
Clothes swap
Repair cafe
Local currency
Protocol Coop
Usage: structure of an organization
1. Create a platform which allows people to offer services of a certain type to each other.
2. When people choose to do transactions, they have a choice of how they do it : with money, barter, complementary currency, sliding scale, gift etc. So eg. if you have a ride sharing organization, drivers and riders and choose which economic arrangement structure they will do with each other.


Usage: To create a tribe
1.Start with a Champion/Founder, the ONE who gets it started
2.Identify others choosing this physical place, open to the adventure and possible commitment.
3.Carefully invite one person or one couple at a time.
4.Training in values, structure and skills. This is the glue that bonds the tribe.
5.Ceremony and initiation, with formal commitments.
6. The committments are
i)To Place; we choose to stay put, to not move
ii)To Each Other; seasoned friends growing together
iii)To Gender Safety; clear boundaries and transparency
iv)To Personal Integrity: we’re accountable and tell the truth
v)To Long-Term Intention; we imagine a lifetime together
vi)To Celebrate relationship with Divine Presence; spirit
vii)To Cultural Co-Creation: action toward sustainability
7.Develop a decision making process
8.Founders are derolled and tribe runs itself.
Agile project management

4 thoughts on “A list of awesome Social Architectures

  1. Great list! Is Dynamic Facilitation there and I just missed it?

    Also, it would be great to have links for many of these, especially when there is a specific organization that is the main carrier of a process, such as The World Cafe Community Foundation at http://www.theworldcafe.org, or the Open Space Institute at http://www.osius.org/

    By the way, a new edition of The Change Handbook is in the works from Berrett-Koehler, which will be a very comprehensive presentation of may of the processes here, as well as many others. Though it will probably not include some of the ones that are more “managerial,” e,g, Holacracy.

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