The PrismaTable: Diversity as an advantage

PrismaTable: Diversity as an advantage

The PrismaTisch is a workshop method in which participants inspire each other, exchange knowledge and contribute their own ideas . In the workshop, a central question on the long table is divided into six different perspectives or colors. Hence the name PrismaTisch as a bundling of diversity and unity.



  • PrismaTable ensures a versatile result. Looking at future trends, human aspects, connections, room for experimentation, entrepreneurship, organization, clear structure, urgency, administrative feasibility, culture and values. The different perspectives ensure that everyone can make a contribution and the result then again takes into account the diversity of people.
  • The participants have a lot of (sometimes unexpected) expertise that is called upon and put to use.
  • PrismaTable is a form of collaborative learning. This is an important issue for educational organizations, both for the education of students and for the functioning of a school as a learning organization.
  • PrismaTisch is also very suitable for organizations that want to share knowledge or work closely together.
  • The participants are always enthusiastic and get a lot of energy from this workshop. It is often used as a kick-off event for a process and encourages team building.
  • The work is done simultaneously by all participants writing, thinking, drawing, reacting to each other and collecting images. This ensures that equivalent content is brought in. This happens regardless of the personality structure of the participants, as only the written contributions on the table become part of the process.
  • The combination of image and text stimulates creative thinking. The surprising images come from outside, inspire and thus expand the space for ideas.
  • The workshop combines well with other components such as model development and scenario analysis.
  • In some cases, the approach has led to coaching programs for educational teams or for individuals.
  • A technique has been developed to process all the material brought in, which processes the multitude of information into a clear common perspective.

The basis of the PrismaTable is Drives, the theory of driving forces by Prof. Dr. Dr. Clare W. Graves. Driving forces, according to Graves, are the forces that motivate us to do or not do something. They are not synonymous with motivation, but function in a much more complex way as they interact with each other.

Graves focused on individual human development:

  • People change, they are not static.
  • People change when their living conditions change.
  • New living conditions require new rules for thinking and acting , whereby other driving forces can come to the fore.
  • Previous driving forces remain, even if people change.
  • Every person has different driving forces , which can complement each other, but also contradict each other.

According to Graves’ theory, there are six driving forces, each with its own color. We have applied the Graves model to groups because we assume that all these driving forces are also present in a group. That’s why our PrismaTable method focuses on groups striving for a common outcome. Each member of the group can deal with the topics that he or she feels particularly addressed by and that give him or her energy.

In the workshop we use the following driving forces and colors:

Colors and driving forces

School building consultants from the Dutch company ICSadviseurs) have conducted the PrismaTisch workshop more than 300 times in many countries, and have continuously developed and deployed it in schools, universities, care organizations, state governments, residents and industry associations.

The workshop lasts about three hours. The number of participants varies from small (about ten people) to large (150 to 200 people) . Often these are topics where it is important to be innovative and think outside the box. This may include, for example, a strategic plan, the development of an (educational) vision, starting points for a new building (Phase ZERO), or the (re)design of a learning environment.

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