Closing the diamond



A principle borrowed from collective intelligence facilitation to close a session or a process. A gentle reminder that every process should be closed, or rounded up, before participants go their seperate ways again.


In collective intelligence any session or process is imagined as a diamond.

In the first part (opening the diamond) the scene is set: themes, ideas and information are gathered. The group is opening up to the work at hand, there's space for divergence.

In the second part the group examines, explores and experiments with the themes and ideas that were introduced. In this part possibilities emerge.

In the third part we close the diamond, it's the time to converge: we try to come to conclusions, make decisions or decide on actions.

There are many ways to close this proverbial diamond. It can be as straightforward as a check-out with the whole group, with space for everyone to share their personal experience of the process. Or there can be a collective effort to list the conclusions and actions that sprout from the collective work. Anything goes, but it's important to reach some kind of closure.

  • ACT 1: Set the scene: gather themes, ideas, information = OPENING (divergence)
  • ACT 2: Examine, explore, experiment = EXPLORATION (emergence)
  • ACT 3: Conclusions, decisions, actions = FINALISATION (convergence)

(Based on a drawing by Martin Boutry)


Here's a quote from 'Larp-Design, creating role play experiences' (shared with us by Susan Ploetz) about the purposes of larp debriefs. We feel that these benefits are true any collective process.

"The purposes of larp debriefs are:

  • To provide the opportunity for participants’ voices to be heard and to have their larp experience validated by their co-players.
  • To begin processing the larp, moving from the immediate experience and emotions into memories, reflections and learning.
  • To provide a space for others to become aware of anything particularly challenging that a player experienced, and to take steps towards processing it.

The debrief in collaborative larp usually takes the form of structured and facilitated conversation exercises, using guidelines that help create a welcoming environment and ensure everyone has a chance to speak and be heard. It is usually conducted in small groups with participants in a circle. Through a series of open-ended questions that encourage players to reflect on and identify strong experiences and emotions, debriefing helps players express and process emotions, thoughts or social connections that arose in the larp.

Benefits of debriefing:

  • Normalises having emotions after a roleplay experience and provides a safe space for them to be expressed.
  • Facilitates processing difficult scenes or interactions, regrets around expectations that were not met or choices that were made during play, to allow for the release of negative or overwhelming emotions.
  • Facilitates separation from in-character feelings of attachment or animosity.
  • Reaffirms character alibis by attributing actions and feelings relating to character conflict to the character and not the player.
  • Fosters an open, trusting and supportive culture among players."


This general principle was laid out to us by Martin Boutry, who gave us an introduction to group-facilitation and collective intelligence with Emmanuelle Wattier in february 2020.

Diederik P. wrote this text, based on someone else's notes of Martin’s initiation.