Learning and Doing (Supported Action Learning) Group

How can we take our work in making things happen up a level; build ideas, inspiration and energy in building the momentum and leverage of our work – for the benefit of all?

A small group of people are interested in coming together to take on this challenge in our own individual areas of work. (To copy the title of Adam Kahane’s sequel to ‘Solving Complex Problems’) the aim is to fill our work with renewed power and love.There is the possibility of forming a number of such groups. Primary concern of the first group standing forward is:

Theme: Supporting communities of interest to make a difference

Below is a provisional terms of reference for the group. If you are interested in being involved or finding out more email: esther.ridsdale@tocollaborate.org . The core group is keen to move quickly if possible.


To convene a group to learn together and support each other in their individual work to stimulate and support their ‘community of interest’ in engaging in and taking action towards some particular area of concern. The group will draw on internal and external expertise and support each other in ‘action learning’.

Purpose and focus:

  • Aim: To increase the impact of group members in their area of concern.
  • The group will be open to people concerned with reflective practice on the importance of a particular area of concern and how to enact it in their areas of operation (eg how to build a thriving civil society in a locality).
  • To be included in the group the area of concern will in some way contribute to the building of a thriving society and the common well-being.
  • Also holds potential for emergent alliances and collaborations around issues and opportunities


  • Target group: Those of us interested in engaging and supporting others in addressing an area of concern for us making use of open or closed forum; events, workshops, etc.
  • As stated above, to be included in the group the area of concern will in some way contribute to the building of a thriving society and the common well-being.
  • This could include:
    • anyone from a support organisation with a remit to support other organisations where it would be appropriate to provide support in group settings, eg the Finance Lab, Voluntary & Community Services, professional associations and other support groups.
    • local authorities with an interest in supporting organisations in their locality to address the challenge of ‘building a flourishing civil society’.


  • Meeting up for a whole or half day
  • Initial commitment to 4-6 occasions
  • 4-8 weeks between sessions
  • Ideally 4-8 people (plus facilitator). Could run with 3 if nec.


  • Members of the group have an hour to share a situation they are working on and work to address it with support from the rest of the group.
  • Some expert input on the subject. Eg. Tutoring from George Por
  • Could also provide opportunity for group members to share expertise in short teaching sessions.


  • Charge to cover contribution of expert input /facilitation and small amount towards organisation of the set.
  • Aim to work together to keep costs to minimum. Investigate finding free or inexpensive cheap venue and minimize other costs. Eg Royal Festival Hall
  • Meet 11/11.30 to allow for cheap travel.


  • George Por has expertise in building communities of practice, the art of convening and the science of how large groups of people become mobilized towards a common concern.
  • Esther Ridsdale has expertise in collaborative ways of working together to stimulate and make systemic change happen and is evolving thinking on creating ‘transformative spaces’ and catalyzing stimulating and supporting transformation.
  • Other expertise could be drawn on as sought by group.