New possibilities for conferences
Conference organizers can use a version of the Wisdom Council to facilitate all conference-goers into a spirited conversation on issues of importance. This conference-wide conversation may also spark an organization-wide conversation, build deeper understanding of difficult issues, generate the spirit of community, and determine new direction for the organization. Here's how it works:
- All conference participants receive an invitation to participate in the "Wisdom Council" lottery.
- Twelve to fifteen participants are randomly selected to come to the conference a day early to form a "Wisdom Council." Symbolically, their unanimous voice will represent the whole organization.
- During their day together the WC addresses an important issue is dynamically facilitated to create a unified perspective on that issue.
- At the opening plenary for the conference the Wisdom Council presents its conclusions, sparking a creative, collaborative, whole-system conversation. Wisdom Council participants file onto the stage and describe the issue they selected and the unanimous conclusions they reached. They also share the story of how they reached these conclusions, and a little of their personal experience. This takes about 30 minutes. Everyone in the plenary then meets in small groups to consider the Wisdom Council conclusions. Then there is a call-out period with instant polling for everyone to see the extent of unity achieved. In practice we've found most everyone resonates with the Wisdom Council conclusions.
- Later, there is a review of this experiment and its implications, with questions like, "To what extent did the Wisdom Council engage everyone in one conversation?"… "To what extent does it evoke thoughtful conclusions and the will to implement them?" … "To what extent might this process be used to bring new levels of collective intelligence to this conference? to the wider network of people? … "To what extent might this process, repeated over time, facilitate leadership from the bottom to the top?"
- Later during the conference there is a Breakout Session for those interested in learning more about the Wisdom Council.