Building on the work of process psychologists Arnold and Amy Mindell, a Deep Democracy process is a tool taken from the Organisation & Relationship Systems Coaching model (ORSC).
A Relationship System is an interdependent group of people and entities that have a common identity and/or purpose. The purpose of a Deep Democracy process is to reveal and release the collective awareness and intelligence of the System so that more informed decisions and actions can be taken. The process starts with a specific topic or issue as the focal point and enables a new type of dialogue to emerge. Participants have an opportunity to take on different “Voices of the System”, enabling a wider range of opinions and insights to be heard. Using the room available, participants will physically occupy space that represents a voice or role of the System (for example, the voice of a Product Manager, Scrum Master, a customer or other stakeholders).
Each voice or role in the System carries information, and through Deep Democracy, even unpopular or marginalized voices, and the information they bring, can be heard.
While the process is a personal experience for participants, each voice that is heard is viewed as belonging to the whole group or team. The process is simultaneously personal and not personal to the people participating. All opinions or points of view that are expressed belong to the whole System. Participants speak from different voices, listen to what that voice needs to say and then respond from the voice that they are occupying.
Participants are encouraged to move between roles and speak with a range of different voices, particularly those that they may not normally speak from. Dialogue between two or more voices is facilitated to create deep learning about the System’s dynamics and a range of different views about the topic.
At ALE2016, Alexandra Fix and Adrian Pancucci of The Edgework Partnership will facilitate the process. It will last for 90 minutes and will include an experiential debrief and harvesting of awareness and learning that can be translated into action. Delegates will have a chance to suggest topics on Day 1 and a sorting and voting process will determine which topic will be the focal point of the process.