Beyond constructive dissent

   Beyond constructive dissent

    Conversations that change the world

 An experiential workshop in Brisbane, 18-19 August 2020


How can we deal with dissent and disagreement more constructively?  How can we do so to enhance relationships and support learning?  How can we spread the advantages beyond the relationship ... to the team or group, and to the organisation or community ... and perhaps even further?

It seems to us that it is through relationships that we often have the most effect on the surrounding culture.  Imagine that we were always able to engage with others with empathy and curiosity.  They will often then respond similarly.  Often the greatest shift in the culture is when we do this with people with whom we don't usually agree.

These are some of the issues that this workshop will explore.

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.  It can even influence the wider culture for the better.  Would you like to know how to achieve those better outcomes?  Are you interested, as we are, in resolving differences and building relationships that provide a good example to the wider culture?

We (Chris Patty and Bob Dick) have sometimes missed opportunities because we misunderstood our colleagues — or our opponents — or too quickly dismissed their ideas.  We've tried to learn from those experiences.  At our best, we sometimes succeed in modelling this behaviour to others.

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".  Together with you we'll experiment with and explore how to benefit from our differences. 

To keep it relevant and engaging we'll be using action methods.  We'll supplement them with models and processes and concepts that we've found useful.

We're also 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 then plan to build a supportive community where we share responsibility and learn together.

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 a benefit rather than a liability.  Knowing how to do so is a valuable talent.  So is an understanding of relationships as the building blocks for productive and satisfying cultures.

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.  People with leadership responsibilities will also find it relevant and useful.  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 other participants) learn from your experience.

When is it?

Two days: Registration from 8:30, workshop from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Tuesday 18 August;
and 9 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. approximately, on  Wednesday 19 August, 2020.


Walkabout Creek, 60 Mt Nebo Road, The Gap, in Brisbane's western suburbs.


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.

We're also very interested in the wider effects of doing this.  For most of us, we can model positive relationships and constructive interactions.  In doing so we encourage similar behaviour from others within our spheres of influence. Those others may then model similar behaviour within their spheres of influence.


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 will be some theory.  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 expect some lively discussion on how we can spread the benefits more widely.  We intend to enliven the discussion with practical and actionable models, principles and processes.

Above all, 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 15 October.  All prices are in Australian dollars, include GST, and cover lunch and refreshments, which 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 at least 9 days before the workshop start, and a 50 per cent refund if received 48 hours before the workshop start.  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.  To encourage this, there are discounts for two or more people from the same organisation.

To register

Print out and complete the registration form, which contains bank details (for direct transfer).  Or telephone Camilla (07 3378 5365) to charge your attendance to your Visa or MasterCard.

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.  We can also assist with pre-work and follow-up to increase workshop impact.

This workshop is a joint initiative of Human Ingredient and Interchange