Light the fire and keep it burning!

September 18, 2013 | bit-wartung | Methods & Tools |


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Corinne-SprecherBuilding up a network and keeping it alive is like lighting a fire and keeping it burning! This article is the second of a series of contributions in which we share experiences and ideas on how to use metaphoric language in facilitation.

By Corinne Sprecher, Agridea 


 Fire the element of excitement, motivation, dynamics and energy

The fire is a great metaphor to touch peoples’ emotions. Most of us are fascinated by the phenomena of lighting a fire. We think of energy, warmth and enthusiasm – and we remember intimate circles sitting around a fire sharing exciting stories and personal experiences.

An idea on how to use it in facilitation

We can make advantage of such associations in workshop settings for example with networks or communities and practices. The story of a network is just like the story of a fire. Let me tell it…

The lighting

… Once upon a time a few logs of wood huddled together and discovered that they all new something. And together they knew even more! These like-minded people got in touch with each other and first sparks were sent out.


The fire started burning in a small core group. They initiated discussions, exchanged, experienced new forms of cooperation and discovered their common interest. The flames got slowly grew bigger: enthusiasm aroused in the small group!

Growth and Expansion

The growing flames could slowly be seen by others close by. They also started feeling the warmth of the fire. More like-minded and interested people were around and the fire attracted their interest, they felt the benefit of it. New contacts were built and discussions expanded.

Full Swing

There was more and more wood catching fire. Also, young green wood that had dried around the fire caught light. The fire has reached full swing and boundaries were overcome. Departure to new horizons, new experiences, new topics, new questions, new people, new knowledge!

Happy End ?!

But eventually came a time in which the fire slowly burned out. The last logs smoldered. They asked themselves what to focus on now: to document result and celebrate the end? To find a new orientation and new tasks? To light a new fire?  

Sitting around an improvised fire with members of a network or community, after telling the story, we can now address various questions and jointly reflect about the own network or community, depending on the situation they are in. For example:

• When have you experienced the fire in your network or community most alive? What made the fire burn full swing?

• What has been the vital spark to light the fire in first place?

• What is today the lightest flame of your network that attracts new members? Can others feel the heat?

• What can keep the fire alive and make it even grow?

• Is it time to celebrate a happy ending?

• …

Our previous posts about metaphors in facilitation:

“Out of the box” – a popular metaphor for thinking afresh (by Nadia von Holzen)
Creating images in mind and memory (by Corinne Sprecher)



Comments to“Light the fire and keep it burning!”

  1. Nadejda Loumbeva says:

    This is a wonderful way of evaluating a knowledge network/community of practice! Fantastic! Thank you for the great post!


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