The Four Rooms of Change has been used successfully now for over 20 years; in schools, in corporations, in health care, in aged care, in city councils and governments, in families, in sports clubs and teams and in a wide range of communities across the world. Communities that have recognized the need for significant change in the way that they operate use the Four Rooms of Change as tool for developing a common language, supporting authentic dialog and taking action.
Already in the late seventies Claes Janssen's work was recognized internationally and he was invited to lead a series of public workshops in the United States of America. One of the first to understand the practical impact of the theory was the internationally reputed OD consultant Marvin Weisbord who wrote about it in his book Productive Workplaces which was first published in 1987. Since then Marvin Weisbord and his colleague Sandra Janoff have written about the theory in several of their books and used it as one of the key theoretical foundations of the Future Search methodology for over two decades.
Many communities which have participated in a Future Search conference may well have been introduced to the Four Rooms of Change - either directly or indirectly. In fact, a Future Search conference is often described as a journey through the Four Rooms of Change. The basic idea behind Future Search is to gather the 'whole system in the room' and a conference consists of a cross-section of the most important stakeholders; generally 50-80 people. The central objective of the event is for all these stakeholders to broaden their perspective and be able to see more of 'the elephant'. The conference typically has a self-managing structure with no specific outcomes defined in advance. There are no problem solving or conflict resolution activities built into the agenda but action plans are developed following a process of group dialog and exploration of key issues.
The Four Rooms of Change® and its associated tools can be used to support the effectiveness of your Future Search conference or as a part of another change initiative within your community. The tools can be used at the individual, group and organizational level to identify issues and to find ways of handling them. They allow you to measure the climate for change within your community and create a common language for group, team and organizational dialog.