Constructive dissent



At its best, a more diverse team or group has access to more experience and more ideas.  That in turn can lead to more informed actions and better outcomes.  But it often doesn't.  Would you like to know how to achieve those better outcomes?

There have been times when we (Chris Patty and Bob Dick) have missed opportunities because we misunderstood our colleagues — or our opponents — or too quickly dismissed their ideas.  We've tried to learn from those experiences.  Perhaps you've had similar experiences.

If so, we invite you to join us in a workshop that explores how to make the most of difference.  We're thinking of the workshop as a "learning lab", where together we'll experiment with and explore how to benefit from our differences.  To keep it relevant and engaging we'll be using action methods.

Chris and Bob have learned to value difference and diversity and even dissent.  In teams, in consulting assignments, in families, in partnerships: in all these settings, diversity has been an asset when we've been able to harness it.  We've found, though, that it takes a particular mindset and a particular style of relating to make the most of difference.  We'd like to share some of what we've learned with you.

In turn, we're keen to learn from your experience. Our intention is that we (Chris and Bob) will guide the early hours of the workshop. With your help we'll set out to build a supportive learning community with an enquiring culture and good relationships.

We'll then invite you and the other participants to begin to assume responsibility for helping the workshop to be productive and enjoyable for everyone present.

What do you say? If you're interested, give us a call: Chris, 0418 726 487; Bob 07 3378 5365.  Or read on for details ...

Who is it for?

It's for anyone, really.  In any relationship, in any team or group, it's possible to make difference and disagreement an asset rather than a liability.  Knowing how to do so is a valuable talent.

We suspect some interest will come from people who work in teams, and people who work as consultants, facilitators or managers with such teams.  People in many different roles may welcome the chance to add to their repertoire.  As you might expect, we welcome diversity.

Whoever you are, if you're interested you're welcome.  We'll do all we can to help you learn a lot, and to help us (and others) learn from your experience.

When is it?

Two days: Registration from 8:30, workshop from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesday 27 April;
9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. approximately, on  Thursday 28 April, 2016.


Graduate House, University of Melbourne, 220 Leicester St, Carlton, Victoria.


Throughout the workshop we'll be guided by your expressed interests and wishes.  We'll do what we can to involve you in the workshop and make it productive for you.  Ultimately, though, what learners learn is up to the learners.  The most that facilitators can do is create an environment where that can happen.

The emphasis, we expect, will be on learning how to recognise difference, legitimise dissent, and build on difference and dissent to create better outcomes for everyone.


If you're able bodied you learned to walk by walking.  You learned to ride a bicycle by riding a bicycle.  It makes sense then, we think, to learn to make the most of difference by doing so.  That's why we're using action methods.

We won't abandon our responsibility to strive to make this a safe, productive, learning-filled and productive experience.  We'll encourage you to help us to do so.

There may be some theory.  If there is, though, we'll strive to make it actionable and relevant to practice.  We anticipate a mix of work in pairs, small groups and the large group, with lots of activity.  We'll give you a chance to engage all of yourself, not just your brain.


The workshop facilitators are Chris Patty and Bob Dick.  Both are Brisbane-based facilitators and consultants, each with reputations based on many decades of experience.


The fee for the two days is $990.00 payable in advance.  An early bird rate of $880 is available for fees received before 1 April.  All prices are in Australian dollars, include GST, and cover lunch and refreshments.

Lunch and refreshments will be provided.

Participants who are unable to attend are welcome to substitute someone else.  Actual cancellations will result in a 90 per cent refund if received by 15 April, and a 50 per cent refund if received by 22 April.  A limited number of half-price bursaries may be available.

People from the same organisation can support each other in applying what they have learned.  Therefore there are discounts for teams from the same organisation.

To register

Print out and complete the subscription form, and fax it to Interchange, +617 3878 4338 (07 3878 4338).  Or telephone Camilla at +617 3378 5365 (07 3378 5365) to charge your attendance to your Visa or MasterCard or to organise an electronic funds transfer.

Negotiate your own in-house workshop

If you would prefer to have a workshop specifically designed to meet your particular needs, and run for you in your organisation or community, we would be pleased to do that.  Important advantages of in-house and in-community workshops include their relevance (we fine-tune them to your needs), and their greater ease of application to real local issues.

This workshop is a joint initiative of Human Ingredient and Interchange
in collaboration with MosaicLab