Pro-Action Café Workshop At Hunter College

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On August 16th, LTG partner Liz Laboy co-hosted with consultant and trainer Kelly McGowan an exciting "Pro Action Café" workshop at Hunter College School of Social Work. This workshop is another example of LTG's growth and involvement in the newly emerging, democratic, and horizontal approaches to problem solving and team building that is at the heart of "communities of practice" created by Meg Wheatley, Harrison Owen, and others that places an emphasis on probing questions and the creativity of all workshop members rather than a few "talking heads" at the front of the room.

At the workshop, the leaders introduced the key principles for a Pro-Action Café process. Building on both World Café and Open Space technologies, the co-leaders had participants reflect on a burning question confronting each of us in our work. Challenging all to work from their passion, they invited three volunteers to share their question that the rest of the group, meeting in randomly assigned tables of four, would respond to. At the conclusion, they then invited members who were seeking new approaches to their work to form their groups and explore through conversations whatever emerged.

The three groups ranged from activists working with Latino LGBT artists and writers, survivors of all forms of domestic violence, and international youth projects. Rather than outline a long set of issues, participants responded to three questions, moving from table to table every 20 minutes after each set of questions was answered:

  1. What is the quest behind the (project/work) question?
  2. What is missing -- what makes the work more complete?
  3. What next steps will I take? What help do I need?

The energy created through this process was electric, moving from mild engagement to great enthusiasm for everyone. This approach works from passion, not problem, and focuses on just the right questions to elicit new ways of thinking. As everyone gets to participate through conversation, this seemingly open-ended process creates genuine interest from everyone. In turn, the evening ended with all three activists with action plans for clearer work, renewed excitement for their project, and a willingness to use Pro-Action Café with other friends and colleagues.

Liz and Kelly showed us all another powerful example of how conversation and dialogue, animated by three probing questions, can create genuine outcomes and teamwork suited perfectly for today's fast-paced 21st century.


Thanks very much for sharing a lot of this great content! Looking forward to seeintg more posts!Shoutmix

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Burghardt published on October 7, 2010 11:52 AM.

Macro Practice in Social Work for the 21st Century was the previous entry in this blog.

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