A search conference is a large-group task-oriented 'conversation' (Emery & Purser 1996)
Search conferences emphasize face-to-face interaction among stakeholders to create a new community. The process of meeting and discussion engenders new ideas. The venue and seating plan of the conference are designed to engender conversation and good relationship building.
Search conferences have been used to help organizations to merge when they have differing visions and to bring together trade experts to develop curricula based on their tradecraft and skills. In a community setting, search conferences have allowed 'ordinary' citizens to use their local knowledge in developing plans for economically depressed regions.
Search conferences are held over one or more full days, during which participants explore ambiguity and difference in the interests of forwarding research and action.
This page originally copied with permission from the Citizens Science Toolbox
[Search Conference][http://www.openingspace.net/facilitation_facilitationMethods13.shtml] - a chart from Peggy Holman and Tom Devane's //The Change Handbook: Group Methods for Shaping the Future//, Reprinted with permission of the publisher. Copyright *1999 by Peggy Holman and Tom Devane Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., San Francisco, CA, USA. Adapted to online form by Lisa Heft.