AI track in Europe Jane letter final

Gallese, Italy
May 20, 2010
To: Appreciative Inquiry community in the UK
From: Jane Magruder Watkins & Liz Workman – Co-Stewards of NTL’s AI Community of Practice
Dear Colleagues:
We are writing this from Italy, where we are having a “reunion” meeting with some of those who were
participants in the AI foundations course that Mette Jacobsgaard and Jane Watkins taught last year in
the NTL connected Lincoln Workshop Series. (For over a decade now, NTL has partnered with the
“Lincoln Workshop Series” to offer AI courses in the UK.)
We are also using this time together in Italy as an opportunity to further explore the idea of a
partnership between the AI Community of Practice of the NTL Institute of Applied Behavioral Science
(NTL) in the US, with AI Colleagues in the UK who are interested in helping establish an AI Certificate
training program for the UK and Europe. Since its origin, NTL has had a partnership with the Tavistock
Institute in London and currently has an NTL/OD program in the UK under the stewardship of UK-based
NTL members, Mee-Yan Chung-Judge and Phil Mix. Partnerships between UK based OD Practitioners
and NTL are on-going and long-term, so the proposal for an AI program as a partnership between NTL
and AI Practitioner’s in the UK is not a new or unusual phenomenon. We feel that perhaps we need to
clarify the NTL-AI “project” for the UK and Europe.
For nearly 60 years, NTL has been the place that 1st experimented with and over time created the field
of group process learning and, later, more formalized OD practices. Along with that process, NTL
supported the formation of the OD Network; the School of Organization Behavior at Case Western
Reserve University (the first and still most notable PhD in Organization Behavior); The Journal of Applied
Behavioral Science (JABS) that, when I was at Cambridge, was described as one of the 10 top journals in
the field; the first MSOD (Master of Science in OD) degree in the field offered through a partnership with
American University in DC; and, most recently, the Lewin Center. NTL is the globally recognized
originator of the field and is the premier place to be “trained” in OD processes. The PhD from Case was
the 1st of its kind and the AU/NTL course was the 1st Master’s Degree based firmly in the NTL/OD
tradition. Today, several other Universities in the US and around the globe are teaching OD. However, I
am not aware of any degree programs based on AI beyond the one at Case.
All of which is to say that, since Mette Jacobsgaard is the NTL member in Europe who serves on the
NTL/AI Community of Practice advisory committee and in that capacity has sponsored the NTL based AI
programs here for the past decade, it is this collaboration with Mette and some of her colleagues that
led us to the decision to expand the US based NTL-AI Certificate Track to Europe. This is not meant to be
in competition with any other form of AI. In the US, there are hundreds of AI practitioners who are not
NTL trained and who use AI in many ways as well as teach it in many different situations.
The purpose of the NTL Certificate Track is to be sure that an NTL trained AI Practitioner is grounded and
fluent in OD and the philosophical approach of AI at a depth and breadth that equips them to be not
only master practitioners but also to be able to teach AI in depth to others. Many AI courses teach the
4-D process (which is actually Kurt Lewin’s action research model) for consultants and other interested
people. In fact, AI is a philosophy, a theory and a behavioral process. When understood and practiced at
a deep level, AI equips OD practitioners with the ability to use AI in every part of their practice as well as
in other aspects of their lives; and, with the capacity to teach it in depth to others. The NTL-AI process is
designed to teach AI as a philosophy and to enable participants to apply it to any model (Lewin’s or
more recent models such as 6-sigma; traditional “summit” processes; interpersonal processes, etc.)
We hope this clarifies why the NTL Track is in no way competitive with other AI offerings. Our goal is to
create a group of master practitioners, NTL trained, who can teach people throughout the UK and
Europe so that those who want to become Master OD Practitioners and to use AI in depth in their
practices and, hopefully, to teach others, have this kind of advanced training and education available to
Our plan is to establish a UK/Europe group of NTL-AI trained master practitioners and teachers of AI.
This is not a simple, nor a “short” process. The AI Track program grants a certificate from NTL and Case
Western Reserve University. This Track, which is the required course of training for those who want to
be certified by NTL and Case as master practitioners and teachers of AI, is granted to participants who
complete 4 required courses and choose 2 additional special focused courses.
The required courses include:
1. Human Interaction/Group Process lab that teaches how groups form and enables
participants to develop an in-depth understanding of how they affect groups, how they
function in groups and how they can adapt their own behavior in multiple situations.
2. Designing experience-based learning is a workshop that teaches participants how to design
experiential training and learning events – also the basis for designing workshops to teach
NTL courses . These are basic skills for those who train AI using an experiential approach for
working with clients and for teaching people who want to become OD consultants.
3. The NTL AI Foundations Course covers the in-depth theory and foundational knowledge
that comprise appreciative practice in the field of OD. This course grounds participants in
the rationale and philosophy of the approach much of which has been articulated only in
recent years; in the multiple ways to use AI as an approach and a philosophy that is aligned
with the field and practice of OD; and, in ways to use an AI approach with traditional models
and methods of OD.
4. A Practicum that involves a participant in planning and executing an AI intervention in a
client system and writing a case study of the work.
Additional courses from which 2 are chosen to complete the certification process, include the following
courses taught from an AI perspective:
1. Teambuilding
2. Strategic Planning
3. Coaching
4. Being a Master Practitioner
The process for those in the UK who choose to help create and staff the NTL Certificate Track program
for Europe requires the following training process. Each participant must:
1. Participate in the 4 basic required courses and in 2 elective courses of their choice.
2. Choose 1 or more courses that you want to learn to facilitate
3. For your choice of courses that you want to teach, you will:
a. Attend the course as a participant
b. Attend the course a second time as an “apprentice,” i.e., be a participant; take careful
notes; and, de-brief with facilitators at the end of each session
c. Co-train with a senior trainer
d. Become a lead trainer
While there are many versions of AI Training courses offered around the world, in order to be certified
by NTL and Case Western University, the course as outlined in this letter is the required process. The
planning and coordinating team for this effort is chaired by Mette Jacobsgaard, who is an NTL member
and has practiced AI in countries across the globe and taught AI for well over a decade; Julie Barnes who
has completed qualification for teaching several AI courses; and, David Shaked, who is a graduate of the
NTL AI Track and an AI practitioner and innovator in adapting traditional OD methods into appreciative
modes. This is the team that will be coordinating the establishment of the NTL-AI Track in Europe and
working with NTL to offer the required courses in the UK and Europe. We are currently working with the
leadership at NTL (the President and the Board) to reach an agreement about details of this partnership.
Our goal is to make it possible for any UK person interested in this training program to be able to
participate. And, this is the team to contact if you are interested in becoming trained to be an NTL
facilitator/trainer for the UK-Europe NTL AI Certificate program.
This European team noted above also sits on the advisory committee of the AI Community of Practice at
NTL for which Liz Workman and Jane Watkins are the Stewards. They will work in collaboration with the
AI CoP team in the US to provide in depth training for those who want to become trainers in the NTL/AI
Track in Europe. This rigorous process for being trained to be an AI Facilitator/Trainer is required of all
US trainers and the Europe training program will be identical. Europeans who go through the AI Training
programs will be asked to work with the US group to establish similar programs in South Africa, India
and Mexico with others to follow. All members of the AI community in the UK are invited to join us in
this project if the process is suited to their needs and wishes.
We hope this clarifies NTL’s intent for the AI Certificate Program in Europe. We look forward to working
with those of you who want to join us for more in-depth preparation to train the NTL process required
for all who staff NTL’s AI Tracks. We will be happy to answer any questions and to chat with any of you
about this project.
Jane Watkins and Liz Workman
NTL Appreciative Inquiry Community of Practice