May 21, 1996
Governor Roy Romer of Colorado commissions a Search Conference to successfully resolve a regional conflict over water resources. Industry leader Bill Gates sponsors a Search Conference with Microsoft’s product development division to plan for the twenty-first century. Since it was first developed in 1960, the Search Conference approach has become an essential and highly effective planning technique used by cutting-edge businesses, organizations, and communities to help plan and strategize for the future.
The Search Conference is not just another management tool, but a participative approach to plan change that engages the collective learning and creativity of large groups, inspiring people to find common ground around new strategies, future directions, and joint actions. The process combines the best practices associated with strategic planning, systems thinking, and effective group communications – enabling participants to take part fully, rise above self-interest, and make decisions for the common good.
Written by Search Conference pioneer Merrelyn Emergy and Ronald Purser, this book uses a wealth of illustrative examples from a wide variety of nonprofit, business, and public organizations that attest to the versatility of this important organization development intervention.
The Search Conference has myriad applications including developing system-wide plans for reinventing government; conducting corporate strategic planning meeting; facilitating organization development and renewal efforts; planning the future of cities, regions, industries, and professional associations; managing conflict between contentious parties and diverse interest groups in the public sector; creating strategic alliances between organizations and networks; and developing long-term partnerships with customers, suppliers, or government regulators.
Merrelyn Emery is internationally recognized as a leading proponent of Search Conferences. With her husband, Fred Emery, she developed the theory and methodology of the Search Conference at Australian National University in Canberra.
Ronald E. Purser is an associate professor at the Centre for Organizational Development at Loyola University. He has conducted numerous Search Conferences and has taught Search Conference training courses at Loyola University.