Respecting the habitats of conversational cogntion – naming is different to labelling

Harry Potter movies are running at the moment, and my wife has a soft spot for Harry and his adventures. And he got me thinking about “naming”. In case you’ve been elsewhere for the last decade or so, Lord Voldemort is the archenemy of Harry Potter (the chosen one who has "the power to vanquish the Dark Lord"). Almost no witch or wizard dares to speak of Voldemort’s out loud, instead referring to him as "He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named" . Of course, Harry and his young allies know no such fear, and are heard to say aloud in response to veiled mentions of “You-know-who…’; “Oh, you mean Lord Voldemort?”

In the New Testament, naming is central to the battleground tactics between good and evil. As Jesus walks by, demon-possessed people call out his true name – “We know who you are, Jesus of Nazareth – the Holy One of God”. The demons attempt pre-emptive strikes by being the first to use the true name.

Naming has a powerful place in many cultural and literary traditions. I don’t want to disrespect (on the contrary, I delighted in Richard Fortey’s descriptions of the life and times of Dry Store Room No.1), but I do want to distinguish, the more widely observed customs of “labelling” from the work of “naming”. Labelling attempts fine distinctions in “what is”. Labelling is a feature of the Build habitat of conversation. Think of the lists of bits that make up all the purchasing requirements to build a new home. And definition is that form of labelling where we try to pin words like “love” or “design” to the mat (as mercilessly as we pin out type specimens of insects). Our encyclopaedias of language form catalogues of such desiccated words.

Naming makes things that were not, and deals in the power of making and un-making. The Scope habitat is where naming takes place, in the fuzzy front end of our encounters, when we are grasping at the edges of things we want to accomplish, and need names in order to begin to move the parts around in our minds – and eventually, to demonstrate our power over them. Naming is a different concept to definition ­– as different as explore is to analysis. Naming takes place when the LEGO group understands it’s purpose in the world is to “inspire children to explore and challenge their own creative potential”, or when Volvo sets out to build cars that create zero road fatalities – including pedestrians – rather than both those firms being labelled as “brick” makers….

This has a very practical corollary for the cognition of design, because a frequent mistake in approaching the cognition of Generate conversations is to treat it as a scaled up version of Build. In the ecosystem of generative conversation (in contrast to the more frequented ecosystem of Build), we sometimes struggle to break free of our educational and disciplinary conditioning in the cognitive paths of technical rationalism. Sugata Mitra (see for example ) makes the case that Build thinking is the well-crafted outcome of an education system designed to suit the bureaucratic machinery of the British Empire. If he is right, we simply cannot under-estimate the formative effect our education has had on narrowing our bandwidth of conversational competencies.

Specifically, many design methods (which draw on the Generate conversational habitat) do not adequately distance themselves dispositionally and terminologically from science. They refer to the early stages of design as “analysis”. True, in technical crafts such as engineering, the design process may have require significant and extended analytic sub-routines. But even in that context, to the extent that we use “analytical” thinking (rigorous decompositional logic), it is directed to understanding the situation. “Breaking things down definitely may help understand, but this understanding does not necessarily imply that we should (re)build complex systems that way.” (Resmini, Rosati Pervasive Information Architecture p. 47).


The relative (un)importance of “precise and accurate definitions”

I was asked to respond to this post:

This was my response:

Lets start with a definition – of what thinking we do in business that needs "precise and accurate definitions".

And lets start that conversation with a metaphor. Imagine you want to build your own home.
a) You start with talking to your partner about big brush things – open and sunny? at the coast? view of the bush? 4 bedrooms, or 3 and a study? brick or rammed earth? These are your requirements. Is there a precise definition of "open and sunny"?
b) when you have enough requirements (hmmm – is there a precise and accurate definition of "enough" requirements?) you get someone to draw up some plans of your "design" – your resolution of the requirements into something that can be built. (Is there only one precise plan that could satisfy your requirements? Or sometimes in the drawing do you even get some pleasant surprises, some clever nooks and crannies that you never thought of)
c) Now perhaps we need to start talking about "precise" – we want a set of specifications the builder will execute to accomplish our design.

In business we have the same range of conversations – planning and strategy conversations, generative conversations, and build-execute conversations.
The Ameliorate blog article is focussing on a specific domain of conversations – one where precision and accuracy might be more than usually possible, or more than usually useful. But that is not the norm. Most times the connotative capacity (what do our words help us see and make associations with) of our language is far more useful and powerful than the denotative (what exact label should we stick on something)….

The Requisite Conversation Framework and health sector applications

I recently wrote some scenarios about a particular set of applications of the Requisite Conversation framework in the health arena. The model has a variety of applications

a) as a diagnostic tool for what is missing or weak in complex contexts where a heuristic enables us to see what is going on in the way people talk to (not) coordinate their actions (that is the first application I imagined in tackling something like the newly formed organisations called Medicare Locals) ;

b) as a design tool when we have particular system behaviours (eg engagement) or outcomes (eg resilience) we desire. This was the application I discussed in the context of the NSW Clinical Excellence commission’s micro-systems program. It would also be the “stage 2” of tackling a Medicare Local. The third application is;

c) at its simplest, as an a priori template when there is no other coordinating mechanism.

I wrote these scenarios as examples of this third kind of application:


A set of healthcare professionals, each representing a siloed perspective on health care (psychiatric consultant, GP, diabetes clinic, community nurse, Case team, Clozepam clinic, etc) and loosely connected via the challenges of the patient case from a large inner-city hospital. The alliance they must form around care delivery to a given case is virtual and transient. But they have a shared scaffolding that means that each party is clear about the role they play, and the questions they answer on behalf the patient, even where they wear multiple hats. They understand what is quality in their contribution, and what constitutes quality in both the inputs to the next process, and the outputs from their present process. The scaffolding they share is the Requisite Conversation ® framework – an understanding of the “archetypal” conversations that have to occur for humans to accomplish a purpose together. In training sessions in their individual workplaces, they came to understand the whole scaffolding, what roles they might play, and how to think in terms of their work as knowledge work shaped by a succession of questions that the team needs to answer. In case management forums, the manager leads a discussion that rapidly forms a shared view of the network of conversations needed for care delivery in this particular instance. The team is now clear about their respective roles, based on a shared mental model of cohesive, aligned service delivery.


A second tier hospital in a depressed urban area has succeeded in capturing the services of a key clinical specialist. To the dismay of the team they find that the physicians workplace behaviours lag far behind his clinical skills. Team members are frequently deeply frustrated and checked, sometimes to tears, by insufficient briefings, partial information, and sporadic attendance at key forums. The administrator is torn. They can’t work with the guy – and they can’t afford to let him go.

A Requisite Conversations ® specialist is briefed and conducts some research interviews with all the affected parties. The first step is to establish a focal work system – what is the missional outcome all parties agree they are there to fulfil? Working back from that mission, a conversational system is designed so that the quality of interactions necessary to the mission can be clearly specified. In a workshop with all parties present, the conversational framework is taken into ownership by the team as they understand the essential conversational dynamics they will contribute to. The transparency of this “microsystem” focus enables a powerful mix of tacit and explicit expectations to be “unleashed” in the team, changing the power structures and performance expectations that surround the clinical specialist. Without ever getting “personal”, the power and the system has been shifted and is now shared by the team, with the new behaviours required of the physician implicitly woven into their shared way of working.

The limits and the necessity of documents in organisational conversations

Borys et al continue:

Similarly, Hopkins (2007), in his analysis of the 1996 Gretley mine disaster concedes that “experience is now teaching us that safety management systems are not enough to ensure safety” (p. 124). Further, a 2007 report commissioned by the New South Wales Mines Advisory Council argued that an OHSMS should be built on the principles of mindfulness and not be a “complex, paper-based OHS management system” (p. xiii). Reason (2000) contends that managers believe that OHSMS sit apart from culture. He suggests that an over-reliance on systems and insufficient understanding of, and insufficient emphasis on, workplace culture, can lead to failure because “it is the latter that ultimately determines the success or failure of such systems” (p. 5). Safety culture has emerged as a major focus in improving OHS performance. Hopkins (2005) argues that this stems in part from recognition of the limitations of OHSMS. In his analysis of the 1999 Glenbrook train crash involving a commuter train and the Indian Pacific, Hopkins identifies the danger of a culture of rules, a culture of silos, a culture of on-time running, together with the related dangers of a culture that is risk-blind or risk denying. These are matters that are outside the scope of traditional OHSMS and it may be that OHSMS mask the emergence of these cultures which become all too readily available to see with hindsight. Borys, D., Else, D. & Leggett, S., (2009) The fifth age of safety: the adaptive age?, J Health & Safety Research & Practice, (1)1, 19-27

Can we do without documents? Are we going to swing against them? Undoubtedly some apocalyptic voices will go that far. That is not my stance. Artefacts, texts as “machines” that keep our conversations going over space and time, are indispensable to our society as it now stands. They enable our society as it now stands. But what we do need, and need urgently, is a theory and practice of conversation design that allows us to establish a highly fit and functional connection between humans and texts – one that dignifies the former and provides design requirements for the latter.

high stake workplaces, adaptive responses, and conversation design.

Borys and others write:

Beyond OHS management systems to adaptive cultures

Increasingly, the limitations of an overemphasis on documented management systems have started to emerge. Robson et al. (2005) in their systematic review of health and safety management systems found that “there is insufficient evidence in the published, peer-reviewed literature on the effectiveness of OHSMSs to make recommendations either in favour of or against OHSMSs” (p. 9). The 1999 Report of the Longford Royal Commission into the explosion at Esso’s Longford gas plant in Victoria found that although Esso had a world class OHSMS, the system had taken on a life of its own, “divorced from operations in the field” and “diverting attention away from what was actually happening in the practical functioning of the plants at Longford” (Dawson & Brooks, 1999, p. 200). Borys, D., Else, D. & Leggett, S., (2009) The fifth age of safety: the adaptive age?, J Health & Safety Research & Practice, (1)1, 19-27

My term for the phenomenon of document systems that take on a life of their own is “shifting the conversation.” The most chronic, endemic everyday version of shifting the conversation is what happens when we crank up our “risk management” apparatus, and end up looking at abstract lists of event probabilities, totally loosing sight of the core human question: what do we do at work that can kill or maim you?” It is possible for it to be different. One company I am aware of ( has worked out how to run the core conversation around hazards, not risks, and build documentary artefacts that support that approach both at the workface and in the management system. This has a profound impact on employee engagement, and creates enthusiastic disciples of a conversational approach.

A great set of questions

Writing well ahead of the wave, in 1996, Brown and Isaacs asked:

“How well does your company appreciate the value of conversation as a core business practice?
Consider the following questions:

· does your organisation consider conversation to be the heart of the real work of knowledge creation and of building intellectual capital?

· how often do the members of your organisation focus on the principles and practices of good conversation as they engage with colleagues, customers, or suppliers?

· Do you consider one of your primary roles to serve as a convener or host for good conversations about questions that matter?

· How much time do you and your colleagues spend discovering the right questions in relation to the time spent finding the right answers?

· What enabling process tools or process disciplines have you seen being used to systematically to support good conversations?

· Is your physical workspace or office area designed to encourage the informal interactions that support good conversation and effective learning?

· Do you have any technology systems and professional resources devoted to harvesting the knowledge being cultivated at the grassroots level and making it accessible to others across the organisation?

· How much of your training and development budget is devoted to supporting informal learning conversations and sharing effective practices across organisational boundaries?”

Their questions arose within a particular frame – of contrasting effective conversation with business as usual. In that respect I differ from them in that I want to make business as usual something we do through effective conversation. By discovering this the recurring patterns and sets of conversations and artefacts that we use when we do business well it becomes possible to revise our practices and to design for new contexts. Requisite Conversations® deliver that capability.

The at-risk heart of the design facilitator Part 2

Most often working alone with clients, the design facilitator becomes self-sufficient in their own resources of memory. They don’t form a collective memory. As we will note below, there is a risk of continual revisionism about the successes and failures for the facilitator, as they are left largely autonomous in their interpretation of a complex event. So after the event their memory is more than usually solitary. But more critically, their work does not build on a collective memory. It lacks the nuanced colour and movement of the inputs normal in a culture. Once in a facilitated conversation, the design facilitator has few cues as to the history present: Is what was just said original, a cliché, an espoused or despised view?

Why does this lack of texture and historical constraint matter? Because at that point the psychology of being present begins to mimic those pathologies that treat context as emotionally indifferent.

We become the gynaecologists of innovation births, but risk daring to say to the mother “I know just how you feel”. We believe that working with managers makes us experienced at management.

And of course, this feature of systems gives us a privileged stance whether we are fully deserving or not. It is a truism that those who are in a situation often can’t fix it. (This is the premise of the systems theory maxim that you must have the “requisite variety” to change a system – and by definition, if you are in a system you don’t have the requisite variety to change that system). Arguably a very significant percentage of all consulting engagements are outworkings of this dynamic. Even the most knowledgeable and experienced expert can find themselves neutralised if they are immersed in a context in ways that mean they are truly in and not “outside of” the system they wish were different.

No-one can “prep” for a facilitation. No matter what prior experiences or suite of heuristics or personal repertoire of models and metaphors, the answer does not lie in the control of the design facilitator. It lies in the emergent fusion of the situated dilemma with the wisdom of the team (including the facilitator) in the room. In a typical 2 day facilitation, by morning tea on the first day there is no turning back, and, equally, no answer. In this respect the facilitator becomes deeply self sufficient. They alone are reading and directing the trajectory of the conversation – what to notice, what to ignore, what to pick up from the offerings, what to leave on the table, which item to go back to further unpack, which to leave and thus destine to insignificance regardless of significance. The loneliness of the long distance runner is existentially compressed into moments of panic over a few short hours of indeterminacy.

Compounding this, the facilitator experiences only a compression of duration. They develop a tunnel vision – repeatedly working in one aspect of the whole process of knowledge making and enactment. They only live in one cognitive locality, in one habitat. They don’t test or monitor, build or produce. They just design. Again and again.

Then there are a number of dynamics in the design facilitation that conspire to remove the facilitator from the groundedness essential to wellness of being.

a) They continuously “crest the wave” – ride the perfect tube. The “current situation” of the facilitator is not an immersion of life, a joining of fortunes with the other.

b) The nature of exercising the requisite variety you must bring to the design problem places you “above” the problem. The nature of a design facilitation is that it “takes you up a level”.

The problem of the design facilitator interlocks with the more generic risks facing the designer. They share the feature of being inveterate problem solvers, seeing every space, issue, deficiency and prospect as a chance to get their pulse racing, mind engrossed, and personal satisfaction enhanced by plying their trade and designing a solution. The result is that we over-exaggerate the scope of our toolkit – we become used to the success of these tools and rely on them in many other areas of life. Of course, designers trip over and scuff their knees like everyone else, running up against our limitations and hard realities in relationships and in stubbed toes. But whenever the issue looks vaguely like someone could have taken a better user perspective, or the space is a thinking space, out come our ways of doing and being that are definitely designerly. Everything looks like a nail now we have seen the power of our Thor-scaled hammer.

But there are more cognitive spaces and tasks in the world than map onto the designers mindset. Translation, audit, supervision, monitoring, reporting, administration, collation, summary are just a snippet of the range of mental operations that can stretch into career length thought lives. And designers may well do none of those, or none well. Designers need to have a firm sense of proportion and propriety about the scope and fit of their toolkit, or risk legitimate charges of arrogance.

In this respect the design facilitator becomes the prime case, the………. If a designers’ project entails working across a spectrum of environments (varied locales for their user research), conversational interactions (model builders, toolmakers, cross-functional teams) and modes of expression (sketching, graphic tools, craft materials, physical making) the environment of the design facilitator is by comparison, monochromatic.

Add to these the further features of:

a) There is no duration to our presence, or to our follow-through. We don’t “see things through”. We don’t live with the consequences, the implementation, the roll-outs, the responsibility of success or failure. The boundaries of our co-creative activity are so blurred that we can narrate success or failure as we choose. In a real risk of solipsism, failure happens when we narrate the events at a time when we feel blue about the world, success when we can find ways to defend our behaviours export the blame, or shield ourselves from condemning voices (perhaps even our own) – usually by moving on to the next immersing experience.

b) Isolation. This is not fundamentally community work. In our practice we have had facilitators who live in other states, and who have no necessity to connect with the office for months at a time. There are few professions that is true of.

A shrunken repertoire of modalities

What do actors report as experiences of risk in their profession? All the world’s a stage? Is that a metaphor or a delusion?

Design Facilitators are the BASE jumpers of the facilitation and mediation community.

We select and shape, and because the resolution is in the form of a solution to a wicked problem.[i] There is often very little competition or evaluation of our designs . The solution is seen to be ‘right’, with little or no possibility of being challenged or Quite apart from this, of course, is that organisational life sweeps on, the world turns and who knows what might have been. And organisations are tragically immunised against disappointment by so many decades of fad surfing and change. And as already noted, we don’t live in our own answer spaces.


Let me go back to my opening question to the design facilitator: Who are you enacting yourself to be? If you see no need to be concerned about this issue, perhaps you are already endangered. Give this article to someone you love and trust and ask them if they see this dynamic playing out in who you are to them.

The “doctrine of dual effect” is well known in medicine and law: You cannot intervene in a person’s anatomy and physiology without the risk of a secondary, unwanted effect. Similarly, the Chinese draw attention to the yang to every yin, Jungians speak of the shadow side. It seems that wherever we act in the world, we need to be mindful of the downside, the opposite of our intent, the unintended sequels to our presence. I’m asking the design facilitator to heed that heuristic, and take care with their at-risk heart. I have suggested that there is some psychosocial forces patterning you, and offering that interpretive framework as an alternative to the bald charge of arrogance.

The development of these characteristics are vital to the survival and effectiveness of the design facilitator. And yet, when these characteristics flow over into other areas of life problems can arise.

Being aware of the potential damage to both personal and workplace relationships is a first point in guarding against using design facilitator characteristics in ‘non-design’ contexts. Working as part of a multi-disciplinary team, developing team skills will counteract some of…. Spending time in other areas of activity – production, testing, will also…

Exercises for the at-risk heart:

  1. Listen. Don’t become so charmed with the sound of your own voice
  2. Listen without fixing. Look at your ways of being and see if you just went and did it again!
  3. Don’t turn everything into a design problem
  4. Especially listen if the space you are in is NOT a design space – take the back seat.
  5. Slow your mind – stay with the issue and style of thinking needed in the current space

The at-risk heart of the design facilitator Part 1

The At-Risk Heart of the Design Facilitator.

Design facilitators are sometimes charged with being arrogant.

This takes the conversation about the character of the design facilitator down a path that sometimes yields neither satisfaction nor insight. It ends up framing a conversation in terms of accreditation:

“If I am in fact good at this process, is that arrogant?”

“If I can as a matter of course succeed where others fail, is that arrogant?”

“If I fit the typical profile of a person who can succeed in this role (I am in fact a university medallist, an able thinker, a gifted consultant), is that arrogant?”

How do I find my bearings in such a conversation, other than to be defensive, to push back?

In this paper I want to propose a different frame – a hermeneutical frame. I want the design facilitator to look at how their employment inexorably leads then to interpret themselves and their context in certain predictable ways, and to reckon with the hazards of that phenomenon. I want to ask the design facilitator: Who are you enacting yourself to be?

Looking on as a design facilitator works his craft is heartening. In the face of complexity that bewilders even those who work daily in the subject matter, a landfall is created, an ambition to conquer is inspired, a pathway for the expeditionary force is mapped, and the team sets out in new directions that unlock value on behalf of all the stakeholders of an enterprise. Participants sometimes report an exhilarating experience of liberation, of light seen and a lightening felt. This highly skilled practitioner combines powerful thinking and facilitation skills, with high level communication and social skills to meet the needs of the moment in a broad range of contexts within the corporate world. It is the interplay of these capabilities with the contexts in which a design facilitator repeatedly works that is the focus of this article. It is the interplay of these which create significant occupational hazards for the design facilitator, that the facilitator and their colleagues would do well to take note of.

The design facilitator is often regarded as an expert trouble shooter. Daily entering the world of others to solve problems they themselves have been unable to solve, the facilitator expects and is expected to create a solution. The expectation from within and without creates a view of the facilitator as fearlessly competent. And while the internal emotions of the facilitator are often far from fearless in the moment, that naming becomes important to tide them over the next time they stare into an abyss of uncertainty as they unpack a new client’s dilemmas and wonder what on earth is going to deliver them from the flood of chaotic insight. This repeated experience of success, particularly where others have not been successful, creates a strong sense of competence – ‘omnicompetence’ – and confidence in their abilities. The experience is one of immense power, and one that has great potential to become addictive.

Irrespective of the mythologies of the suffering life of the facilitator, of the very real experiences of discounting and dismissal that the facilitator risks, this omni-competence becomes the central pattern of mind in the facilitator. If it were not so, they would not survive in the role. If it were not so, the role would have even fewer practitioners.

You enter other people’s world, and achieve what they have been powerless to do – change in their own world. By your own word, you form and transform.

What are the features of this particular occupational hazard? When burnout is the trauma workers bete noir, professional scientists suffer from cognitive fragmentation[i] and therapists risk transference and counter transference, what are the occupational dangers to the heart of the design facilitator in their workplace cauldron?

Conversation Design for a Seminar

At the Design Thinking Research Symposium this week.


Two events had relevance to the topic of conversation design. The first was the way the Seminar was run. The chair, Kees Dorst boldly broke the mould of expected symposium format: read a paper, get some questions, repeat, repeat, repeat. I applaud him and his courage and the effort invested by his team in supporting some different group processes.

I think, however, that such experiments need careful design, and i don’t think every experiment in modifying conversation processes is successful. It takes some tuning to sense how a postulated mechanism will unfold.

My judgement is that he “got away with it” – as we often do. Audiences are actually surprisingly forgiving and indulgent when we set out to mess with their ways of being together:

a) There is plenty of evidence for that in the bizarre things HR team building exercises have done to us over the years – and I’ve not been in one where the team has walked out en masse, though I’ve often thought they should…

b) I have only had a few, notable, scarring rebellions from executive teams in all the years I fiddled around trying to learn how to be a facilitator.

This was the process we used to get started:

My experience was that the restructured interactions “floated”. Attendees were there to get research insights, and to connect with researchers that they could hold future profitable conversations with. We limped to that outcome, somewhat despite the conversation structures employed – we did not get lifted and carried there. The exercises led into the most risky territory of all in a design thinking conference – into the level of generalities and generalisations – because there were no necessary connections between the table papers other than at the level of “design thinking” This led straight into locating the commonality that could be found (unless serendipity intervened) in fraught territory – trying to talk about hotly disputed terms such as “design”, “designing” and “design thinking”. This is where we started – rather than starting with devices that would align with the audience purposes.

I imagine we could have done some exercise that established affinity groups around bunches /clusters of topics in the research papers. We then could have sat in those groups. This would have meant that the time spent sitting at the table was already assured to be relevant to “my” (insert you and your) interests, rather than the experience of listening intently for 15 minutes to someone to discover they were passionate about a corner of the universe you hoped never to visit.

Within that set-up, we could then have pursued what I think were Kees’ higher aims – the search for synergies. So, for example, having found myself in a group with some affinities, each of us could be charged to listen with the intent of reporting on how our personal research interest could align with, support, collaborate or whatever, with each of the other people speaking. “How can your research interest further the other persons goals – how could you help them get there faster, better?

Again, bouquets to Kees, not brickbats….

Conversation Design example – Getting to “How” in a loaded situation

I volunteered to facilitate a not-for profit board that was in dispute with its CEO, and in the course of that conversation discovered a model for handling "obvious" decisions more wisely.

I went in to facilitate a meeting which

a) could have had violent disagreement (On reflection I don’t think I knew how I would managed that at that time), or

b) they could all agree

The latter was true. One person stated their conclusion within the first few minutes, and it seemed likely that was what was going to be the outcome that everyone desired.


1. I persisted with an exploration to be sure that we had the right “NOW” – that no new data or minority opinions emerged that could recast the whole question

· “NOW” is about the current situation, the story so far. In the 2nd Road Strategic Facilitation Model it is the “A” space; in Appreciative enquiry it is Discovery.

· I started with the groups concerns – put them into questions that the group had to wrestle with – no shifting of responsibility away from the group to the "expert"

2. I put the question that it seemed obvious that they would all answer "yes" to ("Do we want to sack…") in the middle of the board and said:

Given this question, what else rushes into your mind – what are the implications that crash in on you?

· This held the issue open. Once you get the question answered an entirely different type of energy sets in

· This move raised the systemic implications – so they had not yet committed themselves to act – they would be acting with their eyes open

· This got out a whole lot of halo issues which were not on the "Sacking" process flow line – yet were other sub-processs they want to manage

3. Then I asked for them to speak to their values and vision – "Imagine in 12 months time this is behind you – what would you like to have said about you THEN? What would you like to know was true of how you behaved?"

· “THEN” is about values and vision – the “Desire” of AI, the B for 2nd Road.

· Pushing “THEN” unifies people around the real issue.

4. Only then did I finally put the question. They went around the table, and each spoke to their decision and why.

· Note that we "stayed open" until very late in the process. People were free to express support for nuanced positions, for different parties etc – the ugly mood of determination, of self-protective ruthlessness, of hunting in a pack did not set in.

· "People unite around problems and divide over solutions.” It was significant to me that it was only in the last phase that the tensions within the group began to show up again.

· This was really important to their future together – their sense of solidarity. It was good for each to express their sadness, and yet their conviction. This was their process – I did not map.

5. Then our last board (“HOW”) was like this. “HOW” is about process, action, doing things (C for 2nd Road, Design for AI):