Let's work together

We’re here to help you change your story and change what’s possible. We’re facilitators, researchers, thought partners and teachers. For almost 20 years now we have co-created the spaces where people gather to have conversations that matter. These conversation lead to wise action changing lives, communities and organizations.

We work with an intergenerational teams of diverse master practitioners – social process designers, facilitators, community organizers, artists, mindfulness guides, coaches and storytellers – from all over the world who have, for decades, been designing and facilitating spaces that move from conversation to action.

what we offer

Facilitation

We design and facilitate gatherings in many forms, including retreats, workshops, conferences, and trainings. Our facilitation brings people together to share problems, opportunities, and challenges. Working at the personal and collective levels, we weave people together with deep listening, artful design and skillful facilitation and bring the knowledge present in any system to the surface.  Our approaches emphasize helping people see the systems they are in with wide open eyes, to step forward when they can to provide their leadership, and to catalyze effective action. We’ve been doing this work in North America and all over the world for nearly 20 years now. 

Ready to change what’s possible?  We can help. Explore our approach below.

Strategic Convening

NewStories can help you bring people together to explore possibilities, crack intractable problems and take collective action. We do this in communities and in orgnanizatons. Our approaches make it possible for you to uncover the deep knowledge people in your system hold – and then put it to use!

We use many approaches for strategic convening, including FutureSessions. NewStories worked with Knowledge Dynamics Institute at Fuji Xerox and later FutureSessions, Inc. in Japan to develop an approach to create innovation in businesses, organizations and communities called FutureSessions. They strengthen relationships, build trust, share ideas and then develop prototypes for action.

FutureSessions are a collaborative environment where people think together and then take action. They are designed to address a particular situation and may be as short as several yours, or be multiple sessions stretching over many months – it all depends on the purpose. NewStories uses a variety of methodologies to create safe spaces where teams, communities and organizations can explore questions that matter and plan new action.
When it is time to dive into a long term strategy for change, let’s explore how NewStories can help. You can learn more about our FutureSession approach in  this excerpt — FutureSessions— from AfterNow:When We Cannot See the Future, Where Do We Begin?.
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Research and Analysis

NewStories believes that powerful research and analysis is essential as we work with the complex and sometimes daunting issues of our times. Using complexity-aware approaches like developmental evaluation, outcome harvesting, and Most Significant Change, we can help you use literature review, case studies, and deep listening to reveal what’s actually going on.

In 2016 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation asked us to use our research and analysis skills to do a Listening Tour on Creating a Culture of Health. This Final Report shows what we found and what it means.

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Learning Programs

NewStories can help you create a customized  learning program that helps your people in your community or organization learn how to lead more effectively and take  action in these turbulent times.  We can co-create custom workshops, seminars, retreats, and learning journeys addressing your needs and goals.

Maybe a workshop on participatory leadership would help in an organizational change effort. Perhaps a learning journey to listen differently to people in the community would be helpful. Maybe it is time for a retreat to look really closely at past work. Changing your story is easier with experiences which give new perspectives and insights. 

Talk to us about what you want to learn, and we’ll create a plan to help get you there

Coaching and Consulting

In addition to teaching and facilitating, we’re also thinking partners. Sometimes, what you need most is that extra perspective to help guide you to the answers you already hold. We can be your coaching partner, providing the support and guidance you need to shift your systems and write new stories. 

We’re happy to engage with you in-person or via video conferencing to help you take an indepth look at what wants to come next. Our coaching and consulting work is highly customized, and may include deep listening, brainstorming with you, asking questions you’ve not examined and helping you design new starting points.

We can help you know what you already know and develop new strategies and starting points which build on your experience.

our core team

NewStories provides facilitation and strategic convening services with a core team of skilled practitioners who have worked together for a number of years.

We can surf these tides of change together!

LISTEN FOR TRUTH​

These days it often seems like there’s not much listening going on. Some people are scared, others angry and many confused. Voices can become shrill, forceful and demanding. One of the first things teams from NewStories do is listen. We create safe spaces for people to speak their truth. We listen, gather stories, use graphic recording to mirror back to people what we hear. We look for patterns, we engage people in finding meaning and in making sense.

We search for what’s unspoken but ready to be revealed. When the mix of multiple perspectives generated by diverse experiences is greeted by curiosity, not judgment, new insights begin to emerge.

ACT AND LEARN​

For us, meaningful conversations lead to wise action. Trying ideas that emerge from collective wisdom at small scale to see what happens. Deciding where and how to deepen and broaden those ideas that are promising. Doing something. Observing what happens. Talking about it. Gathering input from those affected. Re-evaluating, adapting and taking the next step.

Using not just our minds but our whole body as sensory organ we can look at the whole system. After finding leverage points for systemic change, we catalyze cycles of action and reflection. Our work is inspired by design thinking, idea generation, prototyping then scaling. Making use of developmental evaluation practices to track progress and impact.

If you want to catalyze your conversations into action. Talk to us.

CONVENE POWERFUL CONVERSATIONS​

Listening for truth leads naturally to convening powerful conversations. We know that in any system, extraordinary knowledge and experience exists. Often it is hidden, even from the people with the knowledge!

This tacit knowledge, made explicit, has more insight than a cadre of consultants. Well hosted conversation is what can bring it forward. We start by creating a safe space, and inviting people forward with curiosity, respect and generosity and ask them set aside their fears, judgments and suspicions. Often, it takes time just to get to this point -- where people will speak their truth and listen to each other.

We use a variety of verbal and non-verbal approaches to gradually release the knowledge already present in the room and to help people strategize ideas that are emerging into action.

SHARE THE STORIES​

Working with participatory approaches surfaces new stories. Sometimes they are largely invisible stories about good things that are already happening. Other times they are stories of how hard live is for some.

Sharing those stories, listening deeply, using them as a compass to discover and take right action is the foundation for transformative change. Stories are invitations, provocations, and inspirations. They help us find meaning and make sense in our chaotic times.

Stories reveal the knowledge and builds the relationships we need for transformative change.

LEVERAGE DIFFERENCE​



We’re all in this together. Most of us know that our own ideas are only part of what’s needed to move forward.  Sometimes we grudgingly admit that the perspective of another has value. From time to time we remember that unless it works for all of us, it doesn’t really work for any of us.

AND, it is challenging to bring people with different perspectives, experience, values and beliefs into the same room and have more than rhetoric, stoney silence, posturing and mind-numbing arguments.

Communities have diverse, knowledge, resources and capacities. When we bring the people together across difference to share stories and experiences, successes and failures, magic happens. We help people in place-based communities, groups tackling particular issues, businesses and organizations get real with each other, respecting each other enough to share their experiences and their truths without blame or judgement.

We know that most people just want a good life for themselves, their families and friends. Unfortunately, we’re in a time when the knee-jerk reaction is to find someone else to blame for our problems. We’re quick to “other” people and make up stories about those with a different viewpoint. Time to stop that. Time to slow down and listen for a change. We can help.

REPEAT

The work of transformation takes time and patience. While change can happen in an instant, the moment of that change builds over time. At NewStories, we often think of this work as a spiral where we move with awareness through different steps and stages. We guide others in reaching into themselves, each other and our beautiful world to determine what is to happen next.

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WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

Sonoma County Rises

Working with NewStories has been filled with transformative experiences. After the fires devastated our Northern California community, we were searching for answers as to how our community could be intentional in its recovery to ensure that no one in our community fell through the cracks. A very overwhelming concept, being that our systems were not (Continue Reading)

Ana Lugo Steering Committee Member, Sonoma County Rises February 27, 2019

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stories from our work

Bob Stilger

Paradise

How Paradise, California regenerates a healthy and resilient community after the devastating fires of November, 2018 may provide critical learning on how communities step beyond the almost irresistible force to return to the old normal after disaster. Here’s a bit of what we are discovering with Paradisans.

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