Some of the resources that have influenced our approach…

Formal Consensus

Formal Consensus is a clear decision-making structure, simpler than the parliamentary procedure that’s commonly used in Board meetings, and better for bringing together the group’s best creative thinking. It combines clear agreement and decision-making processes with deep democracy and participatory governance, making use of the best talents in your team-mates and your self. It has been successfully adopted by businesses, intentional communities, and the global activist groups.

Book: On conflict and consensus – a handbook on formal consensus decisionmaking

Sociocracy (also known as ‘Collaborative Governance’ or ‘Dynamic Self-Governance’)

Stop Press! DecisionLab and friends are now hosting the UK Sociocracy Social Network, with occasional get togethers and ‘online cafe’ for finding out more and connecting with each other… why not connect in to the community and stay informed? Or explore ‘What Is Sociocracy?’

“Sociocracy is a method of governing organizations that produces more effective and harmonious decision-making in both businesses and associations. It ensures inclusiveness, accountability, and transparency while it increases productivity.” John Buck & Sharon Villines,

A sociocratic organization is made up of interlocking self-managed teams, working to clearly defined shared aims; it is an economic democracy that can reward shareholders, share profits, and take agile action. Sociocracy begins with a very simple and solid team learning practice that allows reliable change management at the speed that is right for your organization — the Circle Meeting.  Practices such as Quality Circles, Employee Stock Ownership Plans, Open Book Management, Policy Governance, Results Oriented Workplaces, and organization-wide consensus decision-making offer a wide range of benefits — but adopting each separately poses substantial risk with each change program and there is no guarantee a new adopter will combine them successfully. Sociocracy is a single proven system that offers the best features of each of those approaches, with a built-in gradual adoption strategy.  Sociocracy was developed decades ago and came to its current globally-recognized set of best practices through cybernetic systems design as well as the empirical experimentation of dozens of pioneering organizations.

Resolver is a system that can be skilfully applied to any group or organisation, based on Sociocratic (Collaborative Governance) and Formal Consensus principles and more. A concise Resolver help sheet has been written by Nathaniel White, and will be useful for anyone who has received training with us. Get in touch to know more, including training.

Book: We The People
by John Buck and Sharon Villines


Appreciative Inquiry

Appreciative Inquiry (AI) is a discipline for organisational and personal transformation that revolves around the practice of asking questions that emphasise a person’s or group’s “positive core”. By reinforcing what works, rather than investing energy in struggling against what doesn’t, seemingly impossible positive change processes emerge. AI is more a cuisine than a recipe — there are many ways of doing it, and a broad range of well-researched and effective techniques that practitioners use for interventions from personal coaching to city-wide programs.

Book:The Power of Appreciative Inquiry: A Practical Guide to Positive Change

Four Powers of Integrity

The Four Powers of Integrity, as developed by Nathaniel White of Integrity Unlimited, are used in DecisionLab teaching, coaching, facilitating and consulting. The Four Powers is the framework that ties together every learning and change method, whether personal or collective. Integrity is the quality we perceive as wellbeing and resilience; we develop integrity/wholeness by practicing these powers:

See for more details.

Open Space Technology

We recommend you get down to the World Open Space On Open Space (WOSonOS) London 2012

Open Space was developed by many people, most famously Harrison Owen.  It is a way in which a large group of people can organise themselves into a conference, complete with agenda, break-out sessions, and reports, with almost no preparation before-hand.  Open Space allows each participant to do what they came to do, and can be a very effective way of launching large-scale change, so long as 1) everyone who comes is there for a clear shared purpose about which they are all passionate, and 2) the teams that emerge from the Open Space have some authority in their organisation(s) to continue working toward their new Aims.

Contact us if you would like to explore Open Space Technology with us, as facilitators and organisers for your event, or as trainees – see our events page for coming workshops for complete beginners to those with varying experience.

Extensive gateway to resources – What Is Open Space?
Snappy overview – Jack Martin Leith’s Guide
Harrison Owen’s guide
DecisionLab’s Facilitators Checklist for designing and running your event

Open Space Technology World
Open Space World Community
Harrison Owen’s site


Great Transition Initiative

Martin’s guide, history and links
: and the New Economics Foundation report

Other facilitation resources

Book: Facilitator’s Guide to Participatory Decision-Making (Jossey-Bass Business & Management)