The Pyramid Workshop


From a workshop in Beijing. Pyramid can be used in any culture, any language!

Meaningful, engaging, and fun!
A Pyramid workshop brings people together to learn about sustainable development, or to plan a sustainability initiative or project. It has been used all over the world to create regional or city plans, neighborhood projects, university campus initiatives, even national laws … the list is long! The Pyramid has also been used by schools, universities, and professional training programs as a teaching tool. (See Pyramid stories for more info.)

Doing a Pyramid workshop is fun, engaging … and it will make a contribution to the world’s journey toward sustainable development.

A professional Pyramid workshop can be very sophisticated, bringing in all kinds of experts, statistics, models etc. But a “Pyramid Lite” workshop — which is what we are offering here, free of charge — is much simpler. It can draw on external information, but it can also be purely based on the experience, knowledge, heart, enthusiasm and ideas that the participants bring to the workshop. And this is what the Pyramid 2030 initiative is all about!


The Pyramid Lite process, in brief
(Image © AtKisson, Inc.)

The process in brief
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.


One of the very first Pyramid workshops, at a workshop organized by UNEP in Thailand, 2002

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!

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.

You will find the Pyramid Lite manual and Pyramid 2030 presentation slides on the Resources page. These will step-by-step guide you through the process, as well as help you explain the steps to your group. You can also read through the materials, and then decide later whether you want to run a workshop.