What is a Dialogue Mat?

A Dialogue Mat is a tool designed to support and improve change processes. The concept is based on pedagogical principles that adults learn best through connecting new knowledge to their everyday working life. A dialogue mat can include questions, exercises, and information relevant to the specified learning objectives. Working and collaborating in groups generate discussions, dialogue, and experience sharing which ensures common understanding and the ability to take real action.

Analogue, digital, or hybrid?

Most of our dialogue mats are in an analogue format. Those who work together on a dialogue mat report that the analogue format provides a very special experience, especially in a time where almost everything is digital.

But not all meetings can or should be physical. Therefore, we also deliver digital dialogue mats through the online tool Miro. Just as digital meetings require a slightly different set-up than a physical one, a digital dialogue mat have its own structure and functionality. The focus on gaining insight and learning through reflection and discussion stays the same, both in analogue and digital dialogue mats. 

We are increasingly creating hybrid solutions where the analogue format and its advantages is combined with digital tools. Most of our client wish to collect information and input from parts of the process, for instance suggestions for follow-up, prioritization of improvement areas, or experience sharing. We carried out our first hybrid project in 2010 and have since then gained extensive experience with what methods are best suited for different formats. As a supplement to our dialogue mats, we have developed our very own digital workshop solution, Diggle, which is intended as a digital alternative or addition to the analogue dialogue mat.

An effective tool for change

We have a fundamental belief that learning and active involvement through reflection, discussion, and experience sharing is the superior approach in achieving effective change. Dialogue mats provide high levels of interactivity in learning contexts by allowing participants to reflect upon and discuss relevant topics, forming opinions at their own initiative, and serving as agents of change.

The structure of the dialogue mat guides the participants through a carefully designed process. The combination of academic content and design elements provides clear guidance through the process, while the participants gain new insights, comprehension, and motivation. As the process and content are fixed, all participants receive the same information and goes through the same questions and tasks. Reflection and discussion in smaller groups provides room for individual reflection, while participants simultaneously challenge each other with diverse opinions and ideas. In change processes, the goal is not consensus, but rather a common understanding of where we are and where we want to be.

Great for spreading knowledge

Although it can be inspiring to participate in courses, seminars, and conferences, it is often difficult to translate and share one’s own experiences and ideas with colleagues. When dialogue mats are part of such events, it is easier for those who have participated to bring a similar dialogue mat back to their department and spread their knowledge and comprehensions.

With the right design, the dialogue mat replaces process managers, and makes it easy to guide others through the content after you have worked through it yourself. Dialogue mats are excellent for implementing specific messages or knowledge within larger organisations, both when aligning top management and when gathering input from employees at all levels. 

About Specifique

For over 30 years we have helped our clients succeed with change. We develop effective learning processes that ensure the implementation of change in areas such as leadership development, strategy implementation, HSE, organisational culture, and organisational development.

We have assisted over 200 Norwegian and international businesses with organisational change in more than 70 countries, and by involving over 2.5 million managers and employees.

Specifique has extensive experience in developing and facilitating digital and analogue methods for effective alignment and implementation of change, always focusing on active involvement of all affected parties. 

For more information about our business and projects, please visit our website.