Part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, as captured by Edward Burtynsky for National Geographic, 2010.

Defining and Designing Successful Conversations – Reflections on the Delta Dialogues.

Groupaya recently wrapped up a two-year project facilitating a series of dialogues around contentious water issues in California’s Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.  As we reflected on the process of facilitating the Delta Dialogues, we found ourselves reflecting on the process of dialogue itself – how do we design for success, and how do we measure successful dialogue?  With a bit of introduction to the context of our work in the Delta, we want to share our learnings, recently published in our […]

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The Power of Sitting in Circle

One early January morning two years ago, Jeff Conklin, Eugene Eric Kim, and I met at the Peet’s Coffee & Tea in Fairfield and drove on to Sacramento together. We went to talk with longtime stakeholders in the California Delta about a different way of thinking about the wickedly difficult problems of  water and the Delta. Last week was our penultimate meeting of the second phase of the project that resulted from that Sacramento trip: the Delta Dialogues. Over the […]

Delta Dialogues: Read the Official Story, Get the Backstory

Phase I of our 2012 multistakeholder project, the Delta Dialogues is officially done, with the publication of the story of the process and a lunchtime panel in Sacramento attended by 150 people, including journalists and bloggers. Joe Mathews, professional journalist and storyteller, wrote 12,000 page-turning words, giving Michael Lewis a run for his money. The published story, designed by Amy Wu, includes candids of the participants and photos taken by Groupaya staff of the complex Delta landscape, the silent central figure […]

Behind the Scenes: Storytelling and Group Process

One of the great ironies of designing highly participatory, emergent processes is that they require a lot of work. We walk through and practice design scenarios. We scrutinize every last detail, from the wording of each question to the layout of the physical space. It’s exhausting, but it’s also incredibly fun and gratifying, and the results more than make it worth it. We’ve written a rough description of our design process, but the best way to understand it is to experience it […]

The Skillful, Intentional Practitioner

Last week, our team was preparing for our September Delta Dialogues meeting. As part of our standard preparation, we went over the room layout and discussed how we wanted to configure it. We had arranged in advance for a room that was configurable (movable chairs and tables) and that had a projector and screen. The room was rectangular in nature, with the screen on the shorter wall of the room. The natural thing to do would have been to arrange […]