(Image from Sam Kaner, The Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making)

Sessions in two consecutive IAF conferences explored metaphors or images of the flow of events that can draw a group through a session or a series of sessions.

Carol Sherriff and her partner shared how they had used the “Hero’s Journey”, from Joseph Campbell’s book “Hero of a Thousand Faces” as an underlying theme that helped them organize a series of processes they did with a group.
The next year there was a session on identifying other metaphors or images of flow that people used to organize the journey of a group through a facilitation process.

For example, Sam Kaner has an image of “the groan zone”, (image above) that articulates the journey of a group from divergence through the “groan zone” toward convergence.

ORID is also a model that can help move a group through a 4-step journey – the first session is focused on Objective Data, the second on Reactions, the third on Implications and the fourth on Decisions.

Some images of flow followed by how they may be applied to multi-session design are below:

These are not all the images of flow that are useful for multi-session design — use these to inspire your own!

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