Pomegranate Center

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About Us

Seeds of The Pomegranate Method

The Pomegranate Method was developed over thousands of public meetings involving tens of thousands of people. It is both a philosophy of community collaboration and an approach for achieving it. We have learned what works, what doesn’t, and why. We have distilled the specific, crucial steps that are essential to every successful collaboration into a set of “ground rules” that apply to every project. And we have realized that our method is relevant to almost any organization and group process.

Over 30+ years, Pomegranate Center has proved that successful collaboration is a “step by step” process. The steps can’t be skipped, and they must be followed in order. These are the “ground rules” for success. When they are followed, large and diverse groups with varied and even conflicting interests and attitudes can find common goals and work together to achieve them.

A few of the ground rules: Get everyone involved. Commit to common solutions. Welcome new information. Respect people’s time. While they are simple to state, they require skill to implement, because there are seemingly infinite ways in which groups veer off track. What then? Facilitators trained in the Pomegranate Method are fiercely protective of the process, alert to signs of trouble, and highly skilled in intervening gently but firmly to keep the process moving forward. They know how to set limits on distractive or outright destructive behavior without turning people off. They know how to challenge people’s beliefs without making them feel defensive. They know how to be trusted confidants and stewards of others’ ideas. They know how to transform fear of change into positive collaborative energy.

Organization Roots

Pomegranate Center was the vision of artist and community builder Milenko Matanovič, whose guiding stars have always been artistic expression and genuine community. From a foundation as a successful conceptual artist in former Yugoslavia, Milenko brought the creative cycle and artist intuition to the fields of placemaking and community building to the founding of Pomegranate Center. Read more about Milenko’s background.

For the first two decades of work, Pomegranate Center focused its efforts on creating artworks with communities – to help them find and express their own creativity as communities. So, from its inception, Pomegranate Center focused on helping communities design and build art-filled gathering places. In sometimes as little as four months from first community meeting to completion of the gathering place, hundreds of volunteers would give thousands of hours planning, designing and building their park. Between 1990 and 2017, Pomegranate Center created some 60 such projects in multiple cities, states, and countries.

Pomegranate Center's Growth Today

Pomegranate Center has proved, over and over, that the value lies not just in the result but in the process of creating these spaces as a community. And it is from this learning that the Pomegranate Method was anchored into a teachable, step-by-step structure for any kind of collaborative process.

Today, Milenko’s daughter, Katya Matanovic, is CEO of Pomegranate Center, training and consulting alongside her father. Where Milenko lives the Pomegranate Method in his bones, Katya learned it alongside him and in the field. She brings the understanding of how the method can be adapted and learned to the organization, ensuring we can share this important approach to collaboration, community building, engagement and creativity with communities everywhere.

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