Visioning Workshop using Creative Action Methods

Dr. T.T.Srinath explains his use of Creative Action Methods in India.

I was commissioned a couple of days ago, by the Managing Director of a large multinational pharmaceutical company to facilitate a vision workshop for his top leadership team which constituted nine people including him.

While at the commencement of the workshop the Managing Director shared his vision verbally, I believed that employing ‘Creative Action’ techniques would help bring alive the workshop and gain an emotional buy-in rather than cognitively share.

Given this desire I pasted on the wall, newsprint, running to 10 feet long and 3 feet wide.

Participants were encouraged to use colour sketch pens and markers and capture on the newsprint their aspirations visually.  While no instruction was given on whether it was to be a team effort or an individual effort, the group mobilised itself and each participant used his creativity to visually represent his aspirations for the organisation.

Post the visual representation scarves (as recommended by Liz White in her book ‘Still Life’) were used to designate each participant’s story as captured visually.

The group was then invited to align them with the story that most resonated with them and assemble near the scarf of choice. Of the nine participants, six assembled around one story and therefore it was decided with the group to dramatize, bring alive and concretize the story chosen.

The creator of the visual was then asked to identify elements in his story and the group was invited to volunteer and take up a role. As each volunteer came forward, the originator of the visual was invited to briefly describe in a couple of sentences the element as designated by him.

The elements that emerged for representation included, people, processes, regulatory, production and new markets. Volunteers offered to take on roles and each was invited to use a scarf to designate the role.

The storyteller then confirmed that besides the elements there were also head of finance and the managing director in the drama. Auxiliaries (chairs) were then placed to represent head finance and the managing director and the storyteller or the protagonist using role reversal dialogued between the two incumbents.

After some sharing between the two roles of managing director and head finance, the storyteller was asked to step aside and watch the elements come alive.

The elements were then invited to dialogue their position.

After a couple of exchanges, the storyteller was asked to suggest the ideal ending that he would like to see (surplus reality).

Once he shared, the elements were asked to collectively create the surplus reality in any way they wanted. Dialogue ensued and concluded with the elements sharing.

The participants were then de-roled and asked to return to their seats. Post the enactment each participant, first those in role were asked to share from role and thereafter from personhood their response to the act that they were part of.

After the role holders shared the observers were also asked to respond from personhood. Finally the storyteller was asked to comment on what he had witnessed and what feelings he was experiencing in himself. 

© Dr. T.T.Srinath, Ph.D.  

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