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Pyramid Lite

Posted by Agnieszka from Sendzimir Foundation


Group size

12 – 40

Subgroup size


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

-model of the pyramid
-4 colors of post-its

Create materials quick and dirty

30 min

Create materials with love and care

2 hours



half day – week

Experience level of the facilitator

taken part OR some facilitation experience

Number of facilitators


Location requirements

Room with 5 tables, chairs, enough space.


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:

Method Category:

Strategy / Planning


The Pyramid Lite is a way to accelerate planning for sustainable development, guiding your group through discussion exercises, moving from information sharing to reflection and idea brainstorming, consensus building, and finally to goal setting and planning for action.


Building the Pyramid, Accelerator Lite



“Pyramid Lite” workshop is a tool available to everyone, free of charge, as a way to explore Sustainable Development Goals. You can get updated versions of Pyramid Lite — as part of a larger, free toolkit called “Accelerator Lite” — at this website:



In 1990, Alan AtKisson co-founded the Sustainable Seattle initiative, which would later be recognized by the United Nations as a model project in urban sustainability and indicator development. Sustainable Seattle would act as a catalyst for the meeting between key individuals and a shared purpose that would later give birth to the AtKisson Group.
In 1992, Alan founded a small consultancy with a vision of introducing innovative tools into the new field of sustainability, and helping to accelerate change around the world. Their early consulting projects were in support of the sustainability leaders of the time, and they built the group's competency in indicators and assessment, organizational development, initiative design, training, strategic planning, meeting facilitation, communication, and other critical skill areas. Out of these projects also developed a set of proven tools and methods for advancing sustainability, which were brought together as the VISIS method (Vision, Indicators, Systems, Innovation, Strategy) and the Accelerator toolkit (“VISIS” was formerly known as “ISIS”).



Link to a more complex method, of which this Method is part of




Prepare a model of the pyramid: http://pyramid2030.net

PREPARATION (excluding materials)

The Pyramid Lite process starts with the choice of a “central challenge”, a global or local issue that you want to focus on. This could include topics related to climate change, poverty, access to safe drinking water, health care, education, or any significant problem, question, or issue that your group would like to explore. The Pyramid process then guides your group through discussion exercises, moving from information sharing, to reflection and idea brainstorming, to consensus building, and finally to goal setting and planning for action. By the end, your group will have explored the issue thoroughly, and developed a set of specific ideas for action. What you do with those ideas — and whether you turn them into real action — is up to you.
Along the way, the group also builds a pyramid – either physically or virtually. Building a physical pyramid is not a requirement, but it is great fun and it stimulates creativity! Many kinds of materials can be used to build the pyramid. Wooden sticks, pipe cleaners and post-it notes are the most commonly used materials — but the only limit is your imagination. Each step in the process is a “level” in the pyramid. The final level is the very top of the pyramid, the “Capstone.” Your group is now brought together to make a “Capstone Agreement” – an agreement on goals and action! The “cap off” signals the end of the workshop and is also a moment of celebration.
Easy to run “Pyramid Lite” is a step-by-step manual that makes the Pyramid process accessible to anyone who wants to contribute to building a better world. You don’t need special training to run a Pyramid Lite workshop! All you need is a little skill in facilitating a group!


1 Central Challenge

Choose a Central Challenge for the workshop or you might want to have a conversation to choose a topic with your group. Is there a specific problem they are interested in exploring?

2 The Process - 5 Steps, 5 Levels

Note that the process has 5 steps, one for each level of the Pyramid:
1. Share information about the issue
2. Think about the causes
3. Brainstorm ideas: ways to address and improve the issue
4. Make a plan about how to implement your ideas
5. To cap it off ... make a commitment to do it!


Take a picture and celebrate!



A Pyramid Lite workshop can be run in just a few hours. You can even break it up into a few sessions — for example, if you are doing it as part of a classroom exercise, or across several lunch breaks at your place of work.


variations of the materials


Trainers for this method can be hired here:

sendzimir.org.pl http://www.sendzimir.org.pl/en/contact-en

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