I am a skillful facilitator and am often called on to create collaborative group experiences.
Facilitated workshops can help to accelerate change because they offer an opportunity to bring diverse roles and perspectives together to focus deeply on a particular issue (something we don’t do very often in the contemporary work experience).
Imagining the future is difficult when most people in organizations cannot afford the time to gather, take a step back from the everyday pressures of the business and explore what should happen next.
In most workplaces, innovation tends to be seen as a ‘magical’ process — something only Steve Jobs or Bill Gates can do. Yet, most organizations have plenty of insightful thinkers, and — more often than not — the people actually doing the work are also the people who understand it best. What’s more, involving a diverse cross-section of management and employees (and possibly even customers) in coming up with creative solutions ensures that all participants experience a sense of ownership in the solution.
In most workshops I facilitate, we use large sheets of newsprint to cover the meeting room walls. Then, we use Post-It® Notes to write down concepts and ideas and attach them to the walls. As we move through the discussion, we rearrange concepts and ideas into various different concept maps — for example:
- Customer or experience journeys
- Mind maps
- Org charts
- ‘Voting’ clusters (concepts to which participants attach votes using stickers)
- Business process maps.
One of the tangible benefits of using this facilitation style is that it is auto-documenting. All concepts and ideas that are brought forward during the course of the workshop can easily be captured at the end (by taking pictures of the walls).
Other collaborative techniques I use include brainstorming, issue mapping and prototype creation (creating “paper solutions”).
Below are a few pictures of sample walls created during workshops: