One framework… many applications.
My passion is participation. That is, people having a real say in the decisions, plans and activity that affect them. Participation, as applied in the real world, is about the power of collaboration, not the hollow security of groupthink.
So I design, run and train ways for you and your colleagues to make the most of your time together. In other words, I help groups to do their best thinking, work and learning together.
We all face complex challenges, rapid change and uncertain times. This demands that we see a bigger picture together than we can see by ourselves. We therefore have to work together to plan and carry out actions with far reaching impact.
My work is grounded in the Technology of Participation. I first learned about ToP as a young practitioner starting out in the world of integrated community development. I first used it on projects in inner city areas in Australia and then in rural Indian villages. Wherever I went, I found people were keen to have a say, alongside others, in the decisions that affected all their lives.
The Technology of Participation is a constellation of life understandings and structured methods that value inclusive participation and deep respect.
These methods emerged from the tradition and practices of personal and group empowerment of the Institute of Cultural Affairs. They are based on a philosophy of disciplined thinking, continual affirmation, inclusive responsibility, and a vocation of service.
ToP has been around for over 30 years. During that time, it has had a positive impact in thousands of local communities, not-for-profit organisations, businesses and government entities on every continent.
ToP continues to have this impact because it meets people where they are. It works with and through cultural, organisational and life dynamics, rather than against them.
Is it perfect or a panacea? No. Is it effective? Yes!
ToP methods, knowledge and values enable personal and group transformation through facilitation, planning, development, education, consulting, leadership and training.
As a leadership approach, ToP is people-centred and results-oriented. It is people who, at the heart of things, decide and drive change. They do so because they want something better than what currently exists.
As a training and development approach, ToP is participant centred and experience led. It facilitates learning in the same way it facilitates transformation.
ToP can be seen as process expertise, applied intentionally, on behalf of the group and their shared context. The process side is often split into ‘conversations’ and ‘workshops’.