ALI (Authority, Leadership, and Innovation) is an international Group Relations Conference that was organized for the first time in Italy in 1998, in collaboration with the Tavistock & Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Cesma.
Its structure, objectives, and theoretical framework are consistent with the Group Relations Conference method implemented by the Tavistock Institute via the Leicester Conferences, and by organizations in other countries who are part of the international network inspired by the Tavistock tradition.
ALI’s primary task is to empower delegates to learn about leadership, authority, organization, and the roles and processes underlying these dimensions which strongly impact on their work.
ALI is a temporary institution that is set up for educational/training purposes, and is designed to maximize opportunities for learning from experience. Between 24 and 60 participants work together for four days on building up, with the help of the conference staff, an understanding of the group, organizational, and social dynamics that manifest themselves in the “here and now”.
Over the years, this conference has seen the participation of hundreds of people from a wide variety of organizational settings. Both participants and staff members typically come from diverse geographical and professional backgrounds. The various editions have seen a mix of Italian, English, Spanish, American, Israeli, Dutch, French, and Swiss delegates, from the business sector, schools and universities, public administration, social and health services, the community sector, consultancy companies, and religious organizations. The official language is Italian, with English as the second language.
Some variations have been introduced over recent editions, with greater emphasis now being placed on exploring the boundary between members and staff and the incorporation of new experiential activities such as social dreaming. Furthermore, individual editions of the conference adopt different specific focuses as a function of current social and political issues or patterns, such as international instability, the tension between competition and collaboration, or intergenerational conflict.
The sponsorship of the conference has also changed. The early editions were financially underwritten by Cesma and privately by the founders, with the Tavistock & Portman Trust supervising the application of the GRC model, while currently the Italian conferences have a more independent, “Mediterranean” identity, with Nodo Group as the main organizer, and Tavistock as a collaborating partner.
Today, the ALI Conference is fully integrated into the international “Group Relations” network (see www.grouprelations.com) and has established its reputation as “the Italian formulation of the Tavistock method”. It is difficult to explain what a Conference is.
The best way to find out is to attend one.
Past delegates often say that they continued to learn new things for years after engaging in this experience.