What is Human Development? Join our Global Online Dialogue!

Tuesday 23 February, 10-11am GMT – facilitated by Martin Gilbraith of ICA:UK, President of ICA International

In this session today we explored what is meant by Human Development, taking a definition from United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as our starting point:

“Human development… is about expanding the richness of human life, rather than simply the richness of the economy in which human beings live. It is an approach that is focused on people and their opportunities and choices” – http://hdr.undp.org/en/humandev

What questions or concerns does the UN description raise for us? How does it relate to our own experience of development, and development practice? What do we find helpful in this description, or lacking? What are some key challenges and opportunties for human development in the world today, in our own understanding and from our own experience and perspectives? What sort of responses are called for, from those who care to make a positive contribution?

Approaches that work in Human Development

Tuesday 1 March, 10-11am GMT – facilitated by Larry Philbrook of ICA Taiwan, past President of ICA International

In our next session next week we will begin with a brief review of the first conversion. We will then explore the groups experience and reflections on distinctions of this approach to development and change. We will explore actions involved and context or values that sustain that action?

What are projects or actions you would call Human Development? How does a human development approach impact formulation and implementation in a development context? What are approaches or applications that have worked

What are the values and beliefs we or others try to live out of to support Human Development? What does it look like to live into these values or beliefs in our organizational as well as developmental work? How might we individually or collectively use this in our own work?

Thank you to ICA International Europe MENA Vice President Svetlana Salamatova and Media IC (Poland) for hosting our dialogues, and to all who participated today!

Please join us! To join next week’s dialogue with Larry Philbrook and future sessions, and to view recordings of past sessions, please join us at ICA International on Google+.

ICAI Board report to the December General Assembly

strategic directionsThis short report to the upcoming  online  meetings of the ICAI General Assembly (GA) on 10 December was prepared to summarise the ICAI Board‘s activity since the last GA in July, relative to the 3 strategic directions of our 2015-16 strategy:

Fostering Global Connections & Collaboration to Support ICAs to Thrive

Support Peer-to-Peer Collaboration & Capacity Building

Facilitate Inclusive Global Communications

  • We have supported the Global Communications team to produce regular issues of Winds & Waves (W&W) magazine and the monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, and amplified distribution on social media
  • We have developed and launched a new website in WordPress and enabled member ICAs to post and update their own ICA Worldwide profiles and news updates – 11 ICA profiles updated to date, and W&W and Buzz updates cross-posted to the website
  • We have grown the ICAI presence on Facebook & Twitter and integrated them with the website
  • We have used the ICA Global channel on Youtube to host weekly online dialogues on development and disability, and  other topics

Gather, Synthesize & Share Info/Data of Value to our Membership

  • We have surveyed the global membership on their ToP facilitation capacity, use and aspirations for the Global ToP working group – 28 responses received to date

Develop & Strengthen Global Partnerships

  • We have agreed in principle to enter into a global partnership with IAF, and invited the Global ToP working group to respond to IAF’s draft Memorandum of Understanding

Boosting ICAI Resilience and Safeguarding the Integrity of our Global Community

Strengthen Organizational Resilience & Sustainability

  • We are developing more robust financial management and reporting systems – for this reason invoicing (and therefore payment) of member’s dues has been delayed, however all are now invoiced
  • We have received the investments that were left to ICAI as a legacy last year

Safeguard the Integrity of the Global Membership

  • We have welcomed 3 new members approved at July GA – SNF Uganda, ORP Korea & EPDI Nigeria
  • We have supported members & applicants for memberships to complete nomination papers for 2 new Associate members, NCOC Kenya & SCR Kenya
  • We have continued to work with prospective applicants in Russia (Moscow & Siberia), Poland, France & the Philippines
  • We have supported colleagues of NIRADO Nigeria and Itereleng Itereleng ICA South Africa working on renewing ICAs on those countries

Recognizing & Leveraging ICA Wisdom & Nurturing New Leadership

Recognize & Appreciate Contributions/ Achievements

  • We have regularly published available ICA news updates to new website

Strengthen and Share our Collective Wisdom & Approaches

Share & Nurture Global Leadership within the Membership

  • We have begun to prepare for ICAI Board nominations & elections process leading to election in June prior to face-to-face Board meeting at August Global Conference – may delay to election in December of Global Conference is postponed

What does it take for people to align behind change? Six top tips & tools from #FacWeekchat

#FacWeekChat 2015This is the question that brought together 69 facilitation, communications and change management professionals over two one-hour twitter chats on October 23, during International Facilitation Week. In this post I’ll share six top tips and some of the tools that were shared in response.

The twitter chats were co-hosted by Michael Ambjorn of the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), Faith Forster of the Change Management Institute (CMI) and myself for the International Association of Facilitators (IAF). Our aims were to bring people together to connect with and learn from each other on a topic of mutual interest, and also to make connections and foster broader collaboration between our associations and between our professions.

Participants were located as far afield as Canada, USA, Serbia, UK and India. Our experience of change included local and international work with large and small organisations in a variety of sectors and industries including health, education, IT, faith and international aid & development.

So what did we learn? What does it take for people to align behind change?

1. The context must be conducive. People align behind change “when external pressures have made the need for change evident”.  “The facilitator as midwife can only help a client that is already pregnant”!

2. High level vision and goals, and ideally values as well, must be clear and shared. Alignment happens when there is “a clear purpose… before a decision on what to do, a focus on energy & momentum for change”.

3. There must be inclusive and authentic participation. “Holistic participation in co-creating vision is the key to create buy in”.  “Co-design, co-creation, collaboration”. “Convene all with a stake in change”. “Everyone wants change, but no-one wants to be changed”.  Alignment does not happen “when when people forget that changes requires the involvement of others” or “when change is imposed from above without proper consultation or facilitation”.

4. Humility, patience and deep listening is required. “Be honest and transparent about the challenges that will be faced, otherwise when failure happens you lose people’s trust”. “Take time, constant process checks, take time, listen, take time, acknowledge resistance (did I mention take time?)”. “Come to terms with the antibodies in the system and talk candidly about them”. “The disruptive power of good listening skills”. “Pay as much attention to the intangibles amongst people as to what is explicitly being said”.

5. Be open to what needs to emerge, while remaining focused on the vision. “Start with possibilities rather than a project plan” and “be aware of groups emerging needs… [allow] the group synergy to flow”.  Alignment did not happen “when people didn’t respond to emerging needs, and when personal issues took precidence over common vison”.

6. Nevertheless, leadership must also be be clear, decisive and inspiring.  “Be a leader that makes tough decisions. The notion of change is disruptive, but strong leadership can mitigate people risk”. Make a “powerful invitation, expressed openly with integrity”. “Discussions about change are so often are negative, ie. about failure – we need to inspire people, enable them”.

What tools and techniques can help?

Favoured approaches to addressing the challenges of aligment and change included the Art of Hosting/Art of Participatory Leadership, Organisational Development, Quality Management, Coaching and Mediation, Graphic Facilitation (especially in multilingual contexts), the work of Perry Timms on ‘hacking adaptable organisations’ and of course ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP).

Some of the particular tools referenced were Story Boarding and Lead with a Story, My Goals My Action Steps, Power/Interest Matrix, RASCI, Ladder of inference, CSITO’s Constellation Collaboration model and the ToP Focused Conversation method.

What can we learn from each other?

What can communications and change management professionals learn from facilitation? “If you want to bring people with you you have to involve others, and facilitation is a great way to do that”. Facilitation “can help transform communications ‘from cascade to conversation'” – “communicators can learn from facilitators about how to structure conversations once people are engaged”. “Change management can get caught up in project management processes – facilitation keeps the focus on what is important”. “At a simple level, facilitation can help managers learn to run more productive and enjoyable meetings”.

What can facilitators learn from communications and change management? How “to get people ‘in the room’ for facilitation, to engage all those who will never be ‘in the room’… and to communicate the results”.  Also “good use of data gathering tools”, “ways to measure/evaluate the outcomes of their facilitation work” and how to “draw out stories as they relate to the task at hand, and use these stories for sense making”.

We could all benefit from each other’s professional standards and competency models – IAF’s Facilitation Core Competencies, IABC’s communications Global Standard andCMI’s Change Management Foundation & Master Competencies.

For more of what we shared, including links to many of the examples and tools referred to, see the edited highlights on Storify or find all 707 tweets at #FacWeekchat on Twitter.

Please add your own thoughts in a comment below, or of course on Twitter with the hashtag #FacWeekchat!

For more on my work, and what others have to say about it, please see how I workwho I work with and recommendations & case studies – or view my profile and connect with me on LinkedIn.

You can connect with me also by joining my free facilitation webinars online, and IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

ICA International Board update, November 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, November 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, November 2015.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.

The ICAI Board at its October Board meeting was happy to approve requests for financial support toward two ICA regional gatherings that are coming up soon.

The ICA Europe MENA gathering to be hosted by ICA Netherlands near Amersfoort from November 20-22 is expecting around 24 participants from most ICAs in Europe, plus ICA MENA from Egypt and ICA colleagues from Poland, Moldova and Kazakhstan.  The programme is planned to include sharing of stories and exploring shared values and ICA methods, as well as preparing for the 2016 ICAI Global Conference to be convened in partnership with Initiatives of Change in Switzerland next year.

The ICA Asia Pacific gathering to be hosted by ICA India near Pune from November 29-December 5 is expecting around 30 participants from most ICAs in that region, plus colleagues of IAF India .  The programme will include training, site visits and excursions as well as workshops in preparation for the 2016 Global Conference.

It is not too late to register for either event – for details please contact ICA Netherlands or ICA India directly, or contact us.

We were delighted to hear during the Board meeting of the succesful ICA West Africa regional gathering hosted by ICA Cote D’Ivoire near Abidjan in September.

Also during the Board meeting we began to prepare for the online ICAI General Assembly meetings to be held on Thursday 10 December at 10am UK & 5pm UK time, followed by asynchronous voting over 10 days by surveymonkey.  ICAI members and colleagues are encouraged to save the date, and ensure that their statutory membership dues are renewed if necessary before the GA vote. We have received completed applications for Associate membership from ICA partners NCOC Kenya and SCR Kenya

Following the Board meeting, Board members spent time familiarising themselves with the workings of the new ICAI website, in order to be able to update their own Board member profiles and support member ICAs in their regions to update their ICA profiles and post news updates.  Meet the first to have done so – ICAI members Emerging Ecology USA, ICA:UK, Bospo BiH, SNF Uganda & Lambassa ICA Benin and ICAI Board members Staci Kentish, Svetlana Salamtova and myself.   News updates have been posted from ICA Netherlands, Lambassa ICA Benin, ORP Institute Korea, ICA Chile and ICA Cote D’Ivoire.  Member ICAs are encouraged to contact us for any support they might need to start using the new website themselves.

Also during the month we have been in contact with partners of ICA:UK and ICA Ukraine interested in starting new ICAs or ToP networks in Poland, Russia and Kazakhstan, and with colleagues of NIRADO Nigeria and Itereleng ICA South Africa working on renewing ICAs on those countries.

We have continued to support the work of the ICAI Global ToP Policy working group and the ICAI 2016 Global Conference working group, each of which met online at least once during October.  The Global ToP policy group has prepared a survey for circulation soon to member ICAs to gather baseline data on current ToP facilitation, training and CTF certification activity and capacity of member ICAs around the world.  The Global Conference working group  is in conversation with the IofC Caux Foundation to identify and invite IofC representatives to join a joint conference team with a view to next agreeing an overall theme.

ICA International Board update, October 2015

ICAI Global Buzz, October 2015
This post was written for ICAI’s monthly bulletin the Global Buzz, October 2015.

The Institute of Cultural Affairs is a global community of non-profit organisations advancing human development worldwide. The ICAI network comprises member organisations and related groups in over 40 countries.  The role of ICA International is to facilitate peer-to-peer interchange, learning and mutual support across the network, for greater and deeper impact. ICA International maintains consultative status with UN ECOSOC, UNESCO, UNICEF, WHO & FAO.

home page thumbnailWe are excited to have launched the new ICAI website in September. This new site is designed to provide an engaging platform for member ICAs and ICA colleagues to communicate with each other and with the wider world. We hope that you will like it, and and that you will use it and share it!

In the launch post on the website itself  you can read an overview of some of what you can already find on the site, some of what is coming and some of what will be possible for the future.  Member ICAs have been invited to complete and update their ICA Worldwide profiles by completing a simple online form, and we encourage them to do so right away and let us know of any support that they might need.

Following decisions of the General Assembly in July, nominations have been received for member representatives to serve on the new 2016 Global Conference working group and the new Global ToP policy working group. The two new global working groups are now beginning their work.

The Board were pleased that ICAI was able to provide some small financial support for the West & Central Africa regional gathering hosted by ICA Cote D’Ivoire in September.  We hope to be able to support upcoming regional gatherings of the Asia Pacific region in India and the Europe MENA region in the Netherlands in November as well.

Many member ICAs’ annual dues become payable at this time of year, and we are grateful to all those who are responding promtply to the dues reminders that ICAI Treasurer Seva Gandhi has been circulating.