In keeping with change that engages both the inner person and outward actions, I was interested to see the Centre for Creative Leadership article on ‘Mediated Dialogue’.
The article highlights the value of using structured dialogue around objects as a means, especially early in the process of change, to build understanding and insight.
These might be postcards, art, photos or magazines, or anything that can be used to provoke different ways of expressing ideas, views and assumptions. They help open up discussion, and generate insights and reflection, provoking a much deeper and more valuable level of discussion and analysis.
The article mirrors my own experience in using postcards, game cards and photos especially in strategy or innovation sessions, where their use to characterise competitors or industry developments has helped to facilitate much more reflection and questioning of implicit assumptions and beliefs about what is happening than would otherwise have been possible.
The impact on groups has been similar to that which scenarios and gaming exercises has had with management teams. A great way to help people to expose and challenge thinking in new ways and provoke the reflection and analysis that is so necessary for real change, whilst often building in the group a stronger sense of identity because of the way that it creates a sense of having found something novel or new.
It’s a great article and CCL offer a white paper that provides more details of the technique and how to undertake it. Worth a read for those interested.