Hosting Generative Change

When the future is uncertain and the past is contested, good hosting can bring hope and co-operation into the present.

Any Dialogic OD practice will bring people together for creative conversations, expanded horizons, mutual connection and committed action. The way these events are hosted can make all the difference. Mark McKergow offers an image of superb hosting as a mix of detailed planning and openness to whatever emerges, taking the lead when needed, with the intent of stepping back as quickly as possible so participants can lead themselves.

This is an important resource for anyone who wants to entice groups of disparate individuals into generative conversations that stimulate new ideas and prompt committed action. It builds connections between big ideas like complexity and emergence with the small practical details of preparing, inviting people and convening a workshop, engaging people on the day, building new possibilities and refining the next steps.

Dr. McKergow brings over a decade of research into the etiquette of hosting in different cultures and eras and combines it with three decades of practice in organizational development and change. The book offers a framework of six hosting roles to help navigate the inevitable ups and downs of working with large (and small) groups.

Written in an engaging and witty style, the principles of hosting are brought to life in a lively and detailed case example which shows the practical impact and importance of insightful and flexible hosting.

Chapter Titles

  1.  Why hosting for generative change?
  2.  Key elements of hosting
  3.  Six roles and four positions for a generative change host
  4.  Doing the groundwork
  5.  Building the container and finding the space
  6.  Crafting the invitation
  7.  Preparing for the event
  8.  Diverging and emerging
  9.  Consolidating and converging
  10.  After the event
  11.  Online Hosting

Watch a ten minute video of Mark talking about the book

Link to bonus material for Hosting Generative Change

About the Author

Mark McKergow MBA Ph.D.

Dr Mark McKergow is an international speaker, trainer, consultant, author, and director of the Centre for Solutions Focus at Work based in Edinburgh, Scotland.  He has been working with groups and change for three decades, and is known around the world for his ability to present innovative ideas with a signature mix of scientific rigour and performance pizzazz. He combines a PhD in the physics of self-organisation with a lively, pragmatic and careful approach to working with groups.

Mark co-founded the SOLWorld community of Solution-Focused organisational practitioners (still going after close to 20 years).  He is the co-author of six books including Host: Six new roles of engagement for teams, organisations, communities and movements (Solutions Books, 2014) and The Solutions Focus (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2007). His most recent book is The Host Leadership Field Book (Solutions Books, 2019).  He also plays jazz saxophone.  He can be reached at