Virtual workshop explores how to sustain momentum for positive change

Virtual workshop explores how to sustain momentum for positive change

Continued online collaboration vital to realizing flourishing destinies, say facilitators

A virtual workshop is exploring how to sustain the momentum of an energizing planning session long after the event is past and routine tasks and demands are crowding for attention again.

“As agents of positive change, we know that sustaining positive change when you go back to work after an energizing and exciting planning workshop or conference can wither on the vine,” says one of the four workshop designers, Robyn Stratton-Berkessel. “Routine tasks, demands and constraints get in the way.”

The forum is looking at how using Appreciative Inquiry and a collaborative technology tool, iCohere, can enable participants to share stories, imagine a flourishing destiny and then co-design how to make that happen.

“Our goal is to provide a container for massive innovation,” says Stratton-Berkessel, noting that the technology platform is a big part of this as it allows for ongoing connection.

Capturing participants’ best stories, wishes, dreams and designs through the use of Appreciative Inquiry questions is also vital.

The workshop was part of the 2009 Business as an Agent of World Benefit (BAWB) Global Forum that took place in Cleveland, Ohio on June 2-5. The workshop includes about 160 students, consultants and business representatives from the U.S., Canada, Germany, China and India.

Speaking for herself and co-designers Kristin Bodiford, Lindsey Godwin and Ron Samborski, Stratton-Berkessel says what’s exciting is that the collaborative platform doesn’t end with the BAWB Forum but will continue for the next six months, enabling participants to continue to share knowledge and learn.

The team is also excited about taking this initiative to The Appreciative Inquiry Conference in Nepal in November, 2009 to continue to its exploration of what it takes to create a flourishing destiny.

The focus on creating “flourishing” destinies is intentional, Stratton-Berkessel adds.

“If we all think in terms of flourishing instead of surviving it creates a shift in consciousness that lets us aim higher, lets us rise to the best there is, so we shift the conversation and begin to ask what else we can do.”

She notes that in today’s economic climate, in order to remain competitive as well as be socially responsible, businesses are recognizing the need to “continually adapt to change at an exponentially increasing rate.”

The new realities include greater geographical dispersion within businesses and a more participative culture.

“What we are exploring is how to keep the momentum for positive change through continued inclusion,” she says.

The team says that they are already seeing benefits from the workshop as participants from around the world connect through shared dreams and a willingness to participate in this inquiry.

To learn more or join the workshop, visit

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Michelle Strutzenberger

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