The Art of Designing an Intervention


Last week we attended the Great Lakes Exchange. Steve Cady, the author who along with Peggy Holman and Tom Devane wrote The Change Handbook, that compiles over 60 Whole Systems Methods, received us at the Nexus4Change headquarters.

We had a lovely dinner and got to meet other members of Nexus4Change, and people interested in the redesign of the session the following day.


Design Team

IMIXcoCREATION @ Great Lakes Exchange


Steve spoke about his memories of different facilitators that had amazing conversations in which they frequently redesigned the session that would happen the following day. This is a great way of engaging people and updating ourselves in the needs and latest news of the group that is attending.

Steve asked me if I wanted to facilitate the redesign process. As I love being of service, I immediately accepted. Here you can see me doing it.


There are 3 important questions we should ask when designing a session:
What is the purpose of the session?


Who needs to be there?


What conversations need to happen?


As any important thing that is worth creating, we started with a conversation. I asked people to pair up and asked them to reflect on what they felt was the call from their hearts. What they felt called to discuss the next day with all the participants.

3 question design sesion

The Why

In defining the purpose of the session (in pop-corn style) we worked on the different concepts we felt that were part of the purpose.   Inspired by the rich conversation and following the examples of some of my teachers, who have a great way of expressing concepts in a way that each person in the room feels reflected, I summarized the concepts in a couple of sentences that reflected all of us.


The Who

Then, we discussed who needed to be there. In this case, invitations had already been sent and people had already decided if they were coming or not. But there was something that we could still have an impact on, how could we welcome them and what were the gifts every person would bring with them.


The What

Then came the schedule. The conversations that need to happen. We wanted to create a schedule that allowed for people to connect, to enjoy, but also to have the relevant conversations that would help us to achieve our purpose.  Once that we decided how the conversation would flow, we matched the best methodologies for that individual purpose, and the person who would facilitate it.


And that’s how we answered the questions needed to (re)design a session, and make it welcoming, effective, engaging and collaborative. The result was a really rich conversation that allowed people to practice and learn new methodologies and have conversations about things that matter.