Learning Groups and Debriefing Circles

On the heals of the Concert of Ideas, participants will be bursting with a desire to connect with one another.

“The arts and banking? The arts and productivity? At first, an unlikely match, but innovation is like that, isn't it?”

James Rush
Chief Learning Officer - Institute for Learning, Bank of Montreal
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On the heals of the Concert of Ideas, participants will be bursting with a desire to connect with one another. This urge to come together, to leap into conversation and share impressions, insights and enthusiasms is a phenomenon worth its weight in gold. Our first imperative, therefore, is to create a space for this to happen. Learning Groups and Debriefing Circles are two excellent options for channeling this energy to productive ends. Sharing back across groups and circles adds still more zest to the collective excitement and cross-fertilization of ideas. Indeed, this first reporting back to plenary since the Concert of Ideas is typically so chock-full of enthusiasm, wholehearted participation and insight, one wonders where to set the bar next for achievement and engagement.

The initial pass of the conference agenda through the kaleidoscopic lens of the Concert of Ideas has set minds and hearts in motion. The images, metaphors, and directions of exploration emergent from the concert experience have activated interior processes (memory, imagination, reflection) within participants that are only just beginning to bubble into awareness. Much more is to come, but only if we continue to support the flow of positive emotion and human interaction that has begun to take hold. This means managing the process lightly and allowing for different speeds and different styles of reflection and processing. Breaking for a meal or some unstructured time is often the best option at this point in the process. These initial three to four hours of activity have been quite intense and given participants lots to digest.

It is worth mentioning that our Concerts of Ideas, Learning Groups and Extension Workshops have been paired successfully with other well known processing forms, including Harrison Owen’s Open Space methodology and Meg Wheatley’s community conversations known as “Turning To One Another".