Building Bridges in a divided USA

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    Dieter Reuther

    This video from Denmark is so powerful and it really made me wonder:

    Have any US facilitators thought about using LSP to build bridges between the terribly divided Trump and non-Trump groups in the US. To bring people together, celebrate their differences and similarities and unite them as one people. Could this have a meaningful impact? Any thoughts, ideas, concerns? Who to team up with?


    Hi Dieter and LSP community!

    I love that video too : )
    The short answer to your question is YES. I suggested it at the LSP conference in Whistler, which was just a couple of days after the election. Since it was before the protests, the suggestion was more minded on getting the parties together to find common ground and bridge the gap between them – to use your metaphor. Some facilitators thought LSP could make a difference – others that the parties are too entrenched in their ways. No doubt that it would be a big challenge to take on (like any wicked problem is) – but it could also make a very meaningful contribution – hopefully leading to more perspective-taking, unity, and appreciation of our shared humanity. And down the road lead to actual change resulting from that shift in mindset. I think LSP is great for the socialization of divided groups (the dialogue and deliberation aspects) and that different tools/processes are needed afterwards to translate these changed feelings and mindsets into political action.

    I suggest teaming up with experts in conflict management, political science, and seasoned facilitators with with years of experiences in leading meetings with very polarized stakeholders.

    I’m looking forward to hearing yours and other facilitators’ thoughts on how LSP might (or might not) be a useful tool in this context.



    What kind of “setting the stage” spiel would you recommend at the beginning of a LSP session like this?

    What kinds of prompts would you have participants build in response to?

    Dieter Reuther

    Thank you for your thoughts Camilla. They are very encouraging!

    My wife once took a diversity training through Nike based on the book “The Diversity Factor” by Elsie Y. Cross and Margaret Blackburn White. It was life-changing for all participants!

    Van Jones’ “The Messy Truth” is also meaningful for such an endeavor.

    Build challenges will need a little more time and thought. They would have to get to the core of the divide between the different groups (Coastal Elite, Working Class, Real Americans, Privileged Left, Rural America, Democrats, Republicans, Liberals, Libertarians, Conservative, Evangelicals, Green Party, Tea Party, …).

    Let’s keep going and hopefully there will be some more input.

    Dieter Reuther

    Was just thinking … perhaps existing Meetups could be used to come up with ideas and concepts. I was looking for more purposeful content for the Boston LEGO Serious Play Meetup anyway other than just share the potential of the methodology.

    Jody Lentz

    Thank you, Dieter: very inspiring.
    I am working on a series like this here in my pro-Trump state (Tennessee) from my pro-Hillary city (Nashville), and the current challenge has nothing to do with LSP. Getting the right mix of people there is difficult, with a lot of mistrust on all sides. Working through churches looks promising, but also misses some who “need” this the most, and implies a certain perspective.
    The primary model and story would likely focus on the very abstract concept of Democracy. Regardless of your vote, it is clear that American democracy is broken — and is something we need to work on together. *btw, the USA is actually a republic, so we would have to clear that up at the start… ;-)
    will keep you up to date…

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