Facilitating Change with Metaphor

The idea for metaphor “languages” emerged from some creative Digital Equipment Europe minds in the 1980s and has since been more developed.  In this June 2014 session, we used metaphors and symbols to build a map of the stakeholders and problems in the heatlh care system.  Each of the 6 small groups created their own map, using buildings to represent key stakeholder groups, and different types of roads to represent the quality of the relationship between the stakeholders, and a variety of problems affecting the system, as represented by a fire, cloud, thunderstorm, etc.   Our key takeaways included:
  1. Insights about how metaphors can help groups understand varying perspectives, stimulate creativity and build teamwork.
  2. Experiencing how the process of consolidating visual images builds ownership.
  3. Fresh options for facilitating group alignment
Here are the maps that we created.