Description of Constellation Game
Constellation Game is a voting format to agree upon alternatives after they are discussed extensively. To create the alternative proposals for group decisions, there are other formats.
Constellation Game is a playful transformation of the well-known system constellation method from systemic family therapy to the field of consensus-based decisioning.
After an extensive discussion of the alternatives, the participants position themselves in the room related to certain symbolic tokens at the floor. Their relative spatial distance to the token represents the degree of their agreement.When a group is asked to take a decision, the members try to find a common level of agreement by either democratic voting or consensus-based decision-making. In case of consensus-based decisioning seldom all people agree equally to the decision found. Instead, they commit themselves to a level of personal agreement.
Rules of Constellation Game
- The facilitator explains the method and selects for each alternative/decision to be decided a symbolic token. These can be colour sheets of papers, toy figures, different sized and coloured balls, etc.
- The facilitator places the tokens in an arbitrary pattern on the floor and explains which token stands for which decision to be taken.
He explains each alternative if needed.
- The facilitator asks the participants to take their choices.
- Every participant positions herself in the room while taking into account the spatial relation to the token she votes for. The spatial distance to stand near/apart from a token represents the degree of agreement to the token resp. item to decide:
- the nearer the participant stands the stronger she agrees to vote for the token/item;
- the farer apart — the weaker is her agreement;
- standing aside is a valuable option.
- Each participant explains in a round-robin fashion the why for her decision briefly.
- If needed, the facilitator debriefs the spatial pattern created by the votings:
- Where are "clusters"? — Do they have a meaning for the group decisions?
- Where are "singletons"? — Do they have a meaning for the group decisions?
- What learnings can be identified?
- What will the group do with the "standing-asides"?
When to use Constellation Game
- There is an issue to solve.
- There is a proposal (and alternatives) as a solution.
- There is a group, the participants, that has the authority to decide.
- There is only very short time.
- Supports the participants in a conflict-free and appreciative discussion process.
- Listens deeply, and creates a space where each participant can be deeply heard.
- Provides empathy, respect, and support for each participant’s contribution.
- Values each participant's contribution.
- Asks the participants if needed to reflect the spatial pattern created with their votings.
Be aware that in debriefing the discussion could take an unexpected amount of time. In this case, try to defer the discussion to another session and use one of the formats for decision-making.
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