Thursday, August 13, 2015

Data- Driven Dialogue

I picked up Brue Wellman and Laura Lipton's book Data-Driven Dialogue: A Facilitator's Guide to Collaborative Inquiry because it sounded interesting- yes, I am a nerd. It goes along with a MiraVia workshop by the same name. Having read it, I think the workshop sounds valuable and would enhance the material that was presented.

The book contains 6 chapters. Chapter 3 presents a model for collaborative inquiry. Chapter 5 presents tools to use in group settings. These are the two critical components.

The model for collaborative inquiry has three major stages: activating and engaging, exploring and discovering, and organizing and integrating. In activating and engaging involves establishing connections with the group- if it does not exist-, identifying predictions and assumptions about the topic, refining questions that you seek to answer and identifying learnings presented to the group- potentially identifying what data needs to be gathered. Exploring and Discovering involves analyzing data. Identifying things that pop-out, patterns and trends, surprising results and what else needs to be explored. The third phase is generating theories. This involves either making inferences and identifying additional data that needs to be examined or collected to confirm inference or exploring solutions that result from the conclusions and identifying data that needs to be collected to confirm or refute conclusions. Then the system cycles again.

This sequence allows for a structure of dialogue that will maximize group productivity. Chapter 5 follows with tools and techniques to implement each step. The tools for teams are collected from a variety of sources- some from business team training, reading comprehension and teaching organization. These tools include descriptions, templates and instructional pages. It would have been helpful if they also included vignettes of their ideas in action. Presumably their workshop is full  of role playing, videos and or sample descriptions to fill this role.

The concepts reviewed through the book are valuable to team leadership in general and groups considering data in specifically. Although it presents great information, it does require lots of analysis. Someone skilled in presentation and group management might find the information more accessible in its current form.

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