Houses of the Oireachtas (change workshop)

Approaches to Change; from diagnostic to dialogic

Traditionally our approach to change is diagnostic. We analyse or research the current situation; we get people involved to identify what needs to be done and take action to move the situation to a new or better state. Change tends to be initiated and coordinated from the top down. There is an alternative more dialogic approach to change that this workshop explored, one that looks at organisations as communities trying to respond or adapt to rapid change. Change is seen as emergent and continuous rather than planned and can be initiated at all levels of the organisation or system. The focus of change is about shifting the narrative or stories we use about the present and generating new images of what is possible in the future. The latter approach is one that Innovate Communities adopts in helping the communities it works with deal with the complex challenges faced by society today. The complex and volatile nature of these challenges means that it is impossible to identify simple or previously tested solutions. Instead, using particular tools and techniques, we seek to tap into lived experience and inherent wisdom of those involved to find  innovative ways forward.

Workshop Format

The workshop introduced participants to current theories of change and practical and experiential learning, designed to surface change issues facing the department and to begin a conversation about how to approach them in different ways. Using techniques from both applied drama and drama therapy our facilitators coaxed participants out of their usual responses and thought patterns. This work was both playful and challenging, causing people to re-examine their existing mental models and explore new approaches to how they view themselves and the community that is the Houses of the Oireachtas.

Fiona Descoteaux


How has this been implemented?

Tools and programmes you might be interested in

Group 936
John Kania and Mark Kramer (2011) identified the five conditions of collective success in their approach for Collective Iimpact.
Group 933
Adam Kahane’s model is used for multi-stakeholder gatherings that focus not on what will happen or what should happen, but what could happen. It is intended to transform four things; the groups understanding of the situation they are facing, the relationships between actors, the intentions of those actors and their actions.
Group 930
Tony Hodgson and Bill Sharp in conjunction with the International Futures Forum to guide conversations around transitions in technology