Creating space for transformative conversations

Recommended Reading

The SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue recommends the following readings to provide an overview of the field of dialogue, as well as practical skills for implementing dialogue events.


Dialogue Concepts and Theory

Community Engagement Concepts and Theory

Planning Social Change Initiatives

Event Methods and Design

Dialogue Concepts and Theory

Online Resources

Planning Dialogue This 5-page introductory resource by Joanna Ashworth explores the meaning of dialogue and the qualities of successful dialogue encounters.
Thinking Together, Part 1 This interview explores dialogue and its importance to global issues through the eyes of William Isaacs. Isaacs is an MIT Management professor who authored Dialogue: The Art of Thinking Together and has helped to shape the field of dialogue and its applications to businesses and other large organizations.


The Magic of Dialogue Social scientist and public opinion expert Daniel Yankelovich explores the application of dialogue to leadership and conflict resolution in large organizations.
Dialogue and the Art of Thinking Together Author William Isaacs is an MIT Management professor who has helped to shape the field of dialogue and its applications to businesses and other large organizations.
On Dialogue Physicist David Bohm explores the philosophical meanings of dialogue and applications for achieving better mutual understanding in this short and influential book. Past edition available in e-book format for SFU faculty and students.

Community Engagement Concepts and Theory

Online Resources

A Compact Vision of Co-Intelligence This 8-page overview by Tom Atlee, founder of the Co-Intelligence Institute, describes how collective intelligence can influence decision making and democratic processes for groups, organizations, and societies. PDF version.
National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation Resource Guide on Public Engagement A comprehensive but well-summarized overview to the field of public engagement, including purpose, principles, case studies and tools.


Toward Wiser Public Judgement This book by social scientist and public opinion expert Daniel Yankelovich examines the process by which public opinion moves toward public judgement by working through hard trade-offs and reconciling conflicts in value systems.
Bringing Citizen Voices to the Table AmericaSpeaks founder Carolyn J. Lukensmeyer describes strategies to ensure effective public deliberation. Available in e-book format for SFU faculty and students.
Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision Making This practical resource by Sam Kaner explores group dynamics and effective processes for participatory action. Available in e-book format for SFU faculty and students.
Presence: Exploring Profound Change in People, Organizations, and Society Authors Peter M. Senge et. al. discuss how organizational cultures can leave behind old patterns of perception and behaviour through collective learning and awareness.

Planning Social Change Initiatives

Prepare, Plant, Cultivate, Harvest: A Field Guide to Convening Dialogue This 8-page resource by Joanna Ashworth uses the metaphor of gardening to explain the process for planning and implementing larger dialogue initiatives.
Gather: The Art and Science of Effective Convening This toolkit for social change leaders by the Rockefeller Foundation provides a structured approach for planning large, multi-event social change initiatives. PDF version.

Event Methods and Design

This section presents resources about several common dialogue methodologies. A larger list of methodologies, including suggested circumstances for their use, can be found in the NCDD Resource Guide on Public Engagement.

Open Space Technology
A self-organizing agenda for collective exploration and action

Opening Space for Emerging Order A short introduction by OST creator Harrison Owen (5 pages)
A Brief User's Guide to Open Space Technology

A complete guide to OST by creator Harrison Owen (14 pages)

Video: Open Space Technology A short video overview of OST by The Art of Hosting (3:14)

World Café
Iterative, small group dialogues connected to a larger conversation

The World Café presents…Café to Go!

Official overview by The World Café (8 pages)
Video: World Café Short video overview by The Art of Hosting (1:35)

Appreciative Inquiry
Affirming strengths to build upon positive potential

Introduction to Appreciative Inquiry

A short AI primer by Richard Steel (8 pages)
Appreciative Inquiry: A Positive Revolution in Change (SFU library e-book) A full overview of AI by David L. Cooperrider, one of the originators of the method, and Diana Whitney (96 pages)

Working towards collective agreement

Building Consensus for a Sustainable Future

A set of principles for consensus decision-making by the Round Tables on the Environment and Economy in Canada (9 pages)

Deep listening without judgement

Talking Circles

Short introduction by Mark Umbreit, Center for Restorative Justice & Peacemaking at the University of Minnesota (2 pages)
Video: PeerSpirit Circle Process A short video about a specific type of circle process by The Art of Hosting (5:08)

Fish Bowl Interview
Sharing a controlled conversation

Fish Bowl Short introduction and video on the Fish Bowl Interview technique by Paul Bogush.