First ever Dialogic OD Conference in Vancouver BC last week

Dialogic OD opening comments

The first ever dialogic organizational development conference was last week in Vancouver BC at Simon Fraser University. The opening remarks were taped from an interview with Edgar Schein which framed the day beautifully. We had numerous opportunities to engage with others at the conference and the ongoing conversations were a high point for the event.

It was striking that we had 125 participants from around the world, all dedicated to developing an organizational development practice that fits the reality of our times, one framed by complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Old OD practices of diagnosis and command and control, simply are not effective in taping into the wealth of knowledge and experience necessary to pivot in a dynamic world. This is where the emerging practice of dialogic OD have the opportunity to truly make a difference in engaging the minds of people who can and will change our world.

Meeting friends and colleagues was another benefit to being at the conference. It is not easy to stay in touch with so much going on and the conference provided the setting where reconnecting with old friends and connecting with new friends was possible.

More information about dialogic OD can be found on my research page. I would welcome a conversation with anyone interested in the field and would be glad to work with organizations interested in moving away from change consulting based on old rigid models of command and control and move to those based on dialogic OD helping organizations thrive in complexity, ambiguity, and uncertainty. Reach out to Dr. Inman at or call him at 425-954-7256.

An extraordinary voice for children and schools in Erin Jones for Washington State Superintendent of Education


In a time when public schools and teachers are under attack, ineffective measures for reform are mandated, and those who have our children’s best interest at heart are demoralized, Erin Jones shines as a voice for all that is right with our children, parents, communities, teachers, and schools. It is time we stopped waging war on those who care for our children. There is a better way.

The world is complex, ambiguous, and uncertain and education is far more so than business. Yet the principles of participation, respect, caring, and team work that mark the success of businesses in our economy, are the very principles under attack in schools. I cannot help but wonder about the lack of critical thinking skills so prevalent in our decision makers. Parents, teachers, and researchers agree, the skills needed to thrive in our complex world are those being diminished through teaching to the test and demanding that students learn the one right answer to every question and be able to put that answer on a bubble test. And this is supposed to be education? Where did problem solving, critical thinking, inquiry, and the ability to build teams and relationships go? These critical skills have been stripped from our schools.

As a business person, that last thing I want is to have an employee who has to find the one right answer. What a useless skill. If only the world were so simple. Why would any critical thinking adult demand this of our children? The answer is no critical thinking adult would. Ideology and greed, not critical thinking rule our discussions. Even though privatization has proven to benefit almost no one other than those making a profit on our children, those who stand to profit on our children have a loud voice and lots of money to support their platform. If those same dollars were invested in our public schools, if our teachers were payed well and treated with respect, and if our principles and superintendents were trained to lead humans and no just manage cost cutting, we would be excelling in education and our children would be learning and growing.

This is where Erin comes in. She is smart, an award wining teacher, innovative, and a compassionate leader. Erin is exactly what our state needs in a time where the most important decisions in our children’s lives are being made in such a way as to destroy their futures. This is certainly the case with our minority children. If you are in Washington State and can support Erin Jones, please do. Find out more on her web page. Dr. Ronald Holmes also wrote an excellent article on Erin’s background.

Camp Snowball was an outstanding week

group picture from Camp Snowball 2015














We had 21 states, 4 countries, and over 300 children and adults all focused on systems in education. What a fantastic experience. I met so many nice people and most assuredly will have friendships developed from the camp. It was particularly nice to talk with so many people on the front line of trying to help our children. I am motivated to continue to reach out and explore ways to connect with this community and contribute. We had excellent speakers including Yong Zhao, Janice Jackson, Dennis O’Donoghue, and of course Peter Senge.

Each person participated in a core module for 13 hours of the camp. I participated in Stepping into a New Leadership Role: Tools for Creating a Learning Culture by Mike Maryanski and Dawn Wakeley of Tahoma School district, the district my daughter attends. All helping lead that session was Ed Porter. A great session with great interaction. I met lots of people from Portland and a very cool person from Mexico, Sam Sims.

We had a wonderful graphic recorder for the event and I have posted links to his recordings of each of the five days at the camp.  His name is Bryan Coffman. First time I have experienced his work and it is wonderful.

Monday Graphic Recording

Tuesday Graphic Recording

Wednesday Graphic Recording

Thursday Graphic Recording

Friday Graphic Recording

Dr. John Inman Learning Exceptionalities Fact Sheet

Dr. John Inman as a steward

Dr. John Inman brings a background in educational scholarship and practice to help educators create cultures where children are successful. He has invested years learning to create cultures where learners engage, thrive, and realize their potential. His work is situated in the universal design for learning (UDL) field.

As a learner who grew up dyslexic, Dr. Inman has a deep empathy for alternative learning children and adults that comes from life experience, not just theory. His mission is to make sure children who are growing up as he did do not have to experience the shame and humiliation of being labeled slow, unintelligent, and broken.

Dr. Inman is conscious of the structural inequality built into education systems leading to large groups of children without a chance to learn they have gifts let alone realize their potential. The social cost is unnecessary with the right interventions.

Dr. Inman has a passion for improving the lives of our children through unleashing the wisdom, creativity, and passion of adults who lead them. His practice is based on the belief that classroom teachers hold the key to transforming our children’s lives. He is dedicated to helping them do so through respect, development, engagement, leadership, and innovative strategies.

Dr. Inman believes teachers are leaders, not just deliverers of curriculum and should be treated and respected as leaders. In complex times, leaders reach out across boundaries and create communities of professional practice to improve everyone’s performance. Transforming our schools cannot be done one teacher at a time, teachers must rise together to transform the educational experience of children. Dr. Inman has worked decades developing leaders who thrive in complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. He is committed to the development of educational excellence with leaders who excel in building high performance cultures through developing all professionals in the building or district.

Dr. Inman embraces the coordinated management of meaning (CMM), inquiry, dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement to help communities come together to co-create the future they envision. He has a personal history of and commitment to talent development for all team members in order to develop performance cultures where all adults and children thrive.

Dr. Inman is fluent in developing, transforming, and managing organizations focusing on systems, emerging HR strategies, people analytics, developing leaders, constituent relations, and building responsive communities.

Dr. Inman’s doctoral research focused on twice-exceptional education and Indigenous learning.

The Flow Game

Picture of Flow Game














Toke Moller, the creator of the Flow Game and of Art of Hosting, visited Seattle last weekend to train a group of new Flow Game hosts. I participated in the Sunday session where those hosts facilitated the game with volunteers. There were 20 volunteers who participated in the game, four per table. The game is designed to help go very deep with issues. The game can last a matter of hours as ours did or can last days, with participants coming back to the game periodically.

The game is inspired by Indigenous thought with the layout being four directions and earth and heavens. Each of the directions has a stack of cards. A participant draws a card and follows the instructions or speaks to what it means to her/him. Other players have the opportunity to offer ideas and insights. We played for three hours and the depth of conversation was stunning. What a powerful game and framework for transformative conversations.

I would highly recommend finding a Flow Game host and participating in this process. If you would like to find a host and are unsure how to go about doing so, I would be glad to find someone to host a game for you and your team. See our team of four below with our host. We played at the Impact Hub in Seattle.

John Inman Flow Game team










Feel free to contact Dr. Inman for a conversation or ideas on how to use the Flow Game. 425-954-7256 or

Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings














I participated in a wonderful workshop to expand my understanding of how to integrate the Group Works card deck into my dialogic hosting. I started using the Group Works cards several years ago but I tend to put them on the shelf and then forget to pull them out for sessions. This workshop reignited my passion for this wonderful deck of cards designed to foster appreciative conversations.

We started out the weekend with a potluck on Friday evening and after conversation and getting to know each other, we dove into some fun and innovative games using the Group Works cards. Sue Woerhlin and her partner opened up their home for the group and we had a great time. We also had the opportunity to explore a variety of strategies on how to use the card deck. Many of these strategies are on the Group Works site. Both the evening games and the workshop on Saturday were hosted by Tree Bressen, Wesley Lucas, Sue Woerhlin, & Dave Pollard.

The Saturday workshop provided a day of work experiencing a variety of applications of the use of the cards. I met many new people and was delighted to make new friends, several of which came in from out of state. I highly recommend either downloading a deck of cards to print or ordering a wonderful box of cards to use in your meetings. The applications are endless.

As my practice is founded on co-creation and emergence, I chose to use the picture from the emergence card for this post: A butterfly. Here is the emergence card as an example.


Feel free to contact Dr. Inman for a conversation or ideas on how to use the Group Works cards. 425-954-7256 or