Hosting Conversations in Challenging Times: Moving From Difference to Understanding – May 11-13, 2016

Each day, there are more profound business, social, political, environmental and humanitarian issues and challenges that have our attention. The world around us seems increasingly fragmented. Yet, it is the world we live in. And, what we see, hear and experience can cause us to pause and think deeply about the impact, internally and externally, to our organizations, communities and social systems.

We can be hesitant or unwilling to tackle issues head on for fear that even beginning could bog things down or stall into inaction. In a time when there is increasing urgency around our societal and economic issues, we need to know how to be in conversations that matter with each other. Such conversations open up space and move us from fragmentation to connection, from reaction to wise action. Have you sensed the need to invite and allow (not limit) honest, authentic conversation with one another, to bring compassion and curiosity to discovering new ways to be and act with each other?

Who should come?

Social Systems Graphic


  • business leaders
  • community leaders
  • teachers and students
  • police
  • policy makers
  • elders and youth


Calling Questions:

  • Question marksHow can we create space that’s safe enough for something new to emerge in our communities and organizations?
  • How can we work across typical divides like generations, organizational silos, ethnic backgrounds to find solutions for the common good?
  • How do I move from difference to understanding, from fear to courage
  • What could my leadership also be?

The Art of Hosting Conversations That Matter is an opportunity to discover your voice in new ways, help others find theirs, step into the fire of our times and forge new ways forward in our organizations, businesses and social systems. It allows us to be more interactive, engaging and effective in addressing the increasing isolation, fragmentation and complexity in today’s world.

What do you dream is possible when you create good conversations to address issues we don’t know how to talk about or begin? Conversation is indispensable for the successful accomplishment of almost all activities between people, especially the formation of collaborative relationships and the coordination of work.

The Content and Exploration

  • This is a response to a world that is becoming increasingly fragmented and complex, where true solutions and innovations lie not in one leader or one viewpoint, but in the bigger picture of our collective wisdom and allows for ALL to participate and be heard.
  • It is an experience for all who aspire to learn and find better ways to work with groups; ways that evoke engagement, collective wisdom, shared learning, good decision-making and effective actions.
  • It creates opportunities for ownership and responsibility where ideas are explored and solutions can be put into action.
  • It is a practice ground for all who aspire to bring out the best in others. It is built on the assumption and experience that we need to find new solutions for the common good, whether in corporations, government, education, non-profits, social movements, communities, or families.
  • It will enhance your skills to tap into the collective intelligence of groups you work with and to engage effectively with diverse stakeholders.
  • It provides basic theory and practices of specific skills required to live and work in the tension between chaos and order – The Chaordic Field – where learning and innovation take place and where wise and sustainable change can be discovered.

Chaordic Path

This 3-day program provides participants with:

  • Teachings and practice on dialogue methods designed to facilitate participation and conversation, such as World Cafe, Open Space Technology and The Circle Way;
  • Teaching and discussion on human dynamics patterns that are present while working in and with groups so you can recognize them and be more successful;
  • Exploration on how the application of these practices and patterns can contribute to improved social and outcomes;
  • Opportunities for partnerships and further action as a result of conversations conducted over the three days

open space at ASI-PEI 2015

Logistics and Hosting Team

May 11 – 13, 2016 — DARTS Centre, 645 Marthaler Lane,West Saint Paul, MN 55118Hosting Conversations in Challenging Times: Moving from Difference to Understanding

This program will run Wednesday, May 11th through Friday, May 13th, 2016

Plan to arrive at 8:30am. We will start each day at 9:00am, ending at 4:30pm on Wednesday and Thursday and 3:30pm on Friday. Lunch and coffee/tea/water will be provided.

Registration Information

Go to to register online. Space tends to fill quickly. Registration is not confirmed until payment is received.   Registration Deadline: May 2, 2016.

Registration Fee: $ 650.00; for teams of 3 or more $600.00 each.

Early Bird payment received by February 1, 2016: $600.00

Hosting Team

me-Jerry-Bob-e-DaveDave Ellis (

Jerry Nagel (

Barbara (Bob-e) Simpson-Epps (

Kathy Jourdain (


We have a lot of fun in rich, ongoing co-learning with each other and with participants and we care deeply about the conversations. Contact any one of us for more information. We bring different worldviews, depth of experience and perspectives to the conversations, practices and patterns, offering multiple entry points into how to put practice into action, making it more possible and alive for you to see yourself in the work.

Please contact us with your questions or comments.