Last week I attended a course in Transformative Dialogue at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in beautiful Lillehammer, Norway. The transformative approach resonates with thinking on adaptive leadership to address soft complexity "wicked" problems, and the Transformative Dialogue approach is a lot about "letting go", giving the work back to the people, and "following the heat" in what can be seen as a zone of productive distress.
The approach seems particularly well-suited to conflict transformation. Many conflict resolution approaches which seek to "fix a problem" or reach a negotiated agreement don't seem to be working or to lead to a sustainable outcome. Transformative Dialogue is different. It uses facilitated dialogue not to mediate agreement, but to support people to gain clarity about conflict and to give them more opportunity to find ways themselves to transform the quality of relationships at the heart of the conflict. This seems to lead to more effective and more sustainable outcomes, and it is possible to document the changes that happen in relationships, and the resulting impact in terms of reductions in conflict and violence.
Transformative Dialogue appears to be effective in very different contexts and different cultural settings, and in addressing different types of conflict, and it seems to work because it is fundamentally about basic human needs for autonomy and for relations, and it helps support both.
If this subject is of interest, please check out a new LinkedIn Group we have set up, called "Transformative Dialogue" (see link). It's intended to be a space for sharing ideas and experiences of using Transformative Dialogue. It's an open group and you would be very welcome to join the discussion.