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Case Clinic

Posted by Julia and Sylvia from Plenum


Group size

4 - 20

Subgroup size

groups of 4 - 6

Is participant experience relevant?

It's okay if participants haven't seen the inside of a classroom in years.

Physical trust needed

Mental trust needed


Material Description

- Chairs for each group to sit in a circle or around a table
- Handouts of the process

Create materials quick and dirty

5 min

Create materials with love and care

10 min



60 minutes - 3 hours

Experience level of the facilitator

taken part OR some facilitation experience

Number of facilitators


Location requirements

Sufficient space so that several different groups (each 4-6 people) can work without distraction


Level of activation


Woo-Woo Level - How touchy-feely is this method?

From 1.Rationalist-Materialist "No feelings here, folks." to 5.Esoteric-Shamanic Bleeding Heart:

Innovation Phases:

3 Fostering New Perspectives & Ways of Thinking
5 Grounding the Idea

Method Category:

Awareness raising
Collective Intelligence
Problem Solving
Understanding complexity


Case Clinics guide a team or a group of peers through a process in which a case giver presents a case, and a group of 3 to 4 peers or team members help as consultants.



To access the wisdom and experience of peers and to help a peer respond to an important and immediate challenge in an innovative, co-creative way.

• The case should be a challenge that is current and concrete.
• The case giver needs to be a key player in the case.
• The participants in the case clinics are peers, so there is no hierarchical relationship among them.
• Don’t give advice; instead listen deeply.

• Concrete and innovative ideas for how to respond to a pressing challenge
• High level of trust and positive energy among the peer group
• Practicing mindfulness and listening practices

Case Clinics allow participants to:
• Generate fresh ways of looking at a challenge or question
• Develop new approaches for responding to the challenge or question


C. Otto Scharmer, (2009) Theory U: Learning from the Future as it Emerges. Berrett- Koehler: San Francisco.


PREPARATION (excluding materials)

Case giver: Share your personal aspiration and challenge that is current, concrete, important, and that you happen to be a key player in. You should be able to present the case in 15 minutes and the case should stand to benefit from the feedback of your peers. Include your willingness to learn from this (e.g., what you need to let go of).

Coaches: Listen deeply: do not try to “fix” the problem, but listen to the case giver while also attending to the images, metaphors, feelings and gestures that the story evokes in you.

Timekeeper: One of the coaches manages the time.

1 Establish Roles - 2 min

Select case giver and time keeper.

2 Intention Statement by Case Giver - 15 min

Take a moment to reflect on your sense of calling. Then clarify these questions (if necessary, take your time and ask your peers to take a short break):
1. Current situation: What key challenge or question are you up against?
2. Stakeholders: How might others view this situation?
3. Intention: What future are you trying to create?
4. Learning threshold: What do you need to let go of – and what do you need to learn?
5. Help: Where do you need input or help?

Coaches listen deeply and may ask clarifying questions (don’t give advice!).

3 Stillness - 3 min

1. Listen to your heart: Connect with your heart and to what you’re hearing.
2. Listen to what resonates: What images, metaphors, feelings and gestures come up for you that capture the essence of what you heard?

4 Mirroring - 10 min

Each coach shares the images, feelings and/or gestures that came up in the silence or while listening to the case story.
Having listened to all coaches, the case giver reflects back on what s/he heard.

5 Generative Dialogue - 20 min

All reflect on remarks by the case giver and move into a generative dialogue on how these observations can offer new perspectives on the case giver’s situation and journey. Go with the flow of the dialogue. Build on each other’s ideas. Stay in service of the case giver without pressure to fix or resolve his/her challenge.

6 Closing Remarks - 8 min

1) By coaches.
2) By case giver: How do I now see my situation and way forward?
3) Thanks & acknowledgment: An expression of appreciation to one another.


Individual journaling to capture the learning points - 2 min



Participants of a master class program form peer learning groups. They do their first case clinic while they are in the program, and then use the process for monthly phone calls that allow each participant to present a case.

Trainers for this method can be hired here:

http://www.plenum.at/ http://www.plenum.at/de/wer-wir-sind/team.html

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