Model Merging

Model merging12 allows different scenarios, approaches, or activities to be developed, compared, and merged into the preferred solution.


  • Divide into small groups (3 to 6 people per group)

  • Provide sculpture kit to each group (various objects or pictures or Tinkertoys or Lego)

  • Assign the discussion question (i.e. What is the desired future? What is the best way to deal with this issue? What would an effective team look like?)

  • Use the sculpture kit to design a sculpture that represents the best answer

  • 20 to 30 minutes to prepare sculpture to represent and display the elements your solution

  • Group will present sculpture to large group in 3 to 5 minutes

  • Facilitator records key words

After each presentation:

  • Is this sculpture clear?

  • Will it do the job?

  • If not finished, what would be your next steps in finishing or refining the sculpture?

After all sculptures have been presented the Facilitator asks:

  • What aspects of these sculptures stand out for you?

  • Which ones interest you the most?

  • Where do you see some common elements or connections?

  • Where are the major differences?

  • What are the implications of each of these sculptures?

  • How would you characterize or title each one?

  • As you look through them all together, what seems to be the essential elements of one overall sculpture or solution?

Next steps:

  • Put essential elements on 6 x 8 cards and place on wall chart

  • Keep working with elements until pieces and flow of desired result comes into focus

  • Suggest that this desired result may need to stand for a few days so team can come back to examine, and 'polish' it

  • Hold a conversation to determine how the group feels about the decision

  • Check to see if there are any major gaps

  • What steps in this process seemed to work particularly well for us?

  • What aspects of the 'solution model' are you particularly pleased with?

  • What happened to us as a group while we worked on this?

  • How does the 'solution model' fit with our individual roles?

  • What does the 'solution model' tell us about our work in the next year?

  • What do we need to do next with the 'solution model'?

12 Based on: Williams, R. Bruce. More Than 50 Ways to Build Team Consensus. Palatine, Illinois: IRI/Skylight Training and Publishing, Inc., 1993.
13 Adapted from Facilitated Planning Manual. Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA). Toronto, Ontario



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