Group Works: A Pattern Language for Bringing Life to Meetings and Other Gatherings


A few months ago I learned about the Group Pattern Language Project and the associated Group Works card deck. One purpose of this group (and this deck) is to improve our gatherings (whether they be business meetings, brainstorming sessions or town halls.) Another purpose is to learn more about each other in the context of these gatherings.

The Deck

The deck is very visual. There’s a hierarchy to the cards that reinforces how we think about our gatherings and what’s needed to make them fruitful. Here’s a visual of the complete deck:


There’s a very effective online course designed to jump start your use of the deck, too. I’ve worked through the course, and it’s exceptional.  The deck includes detailed instructions and descriptions of the cards (and the overall intent of the deck.) There’s no wrong way to adopt and use this deck.


These are the principal pattern categories:

  1. Intention
  2. Context
  3. Relationship
  4. Flow
  5. Creativity
  6. Perspective
  7. Modeling
  8. Inquiry & Synthesis
  9. Faith

I think you can see from this list that you could use a few of these categories (and their associated cards) to model your activity or event.  It’s quick, illustrative and effective.

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Greg Tutunjian

Greg Tutunjian is a leadership and performance coach specializing in team-centric innovation. Greg is a former software and systems engineer, technical program manager and director, and now advisor to organizations ranging from small and medium-sized software product and service companies to Fortune 10 multinationals.