Join me for my new series of free facilitation webinars in 2016!

Are you interested to learn more about facilitation, and ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) methodology in particular – in a free, one-hour, interactive online session that offers an experience of virtual facilitation as well?

Please join me for my new series of free facilitation webinars!

Register now on Eventbrite for the first scheduled session (below), and register your interest on Surveymonkey for future dates & times and topics to be scheduled – scroll down for provisional dates & times and suggested topics.


ORID as a universal principle of facilitation 950x475Is there a single, universal principle of facilitation?

Monday 15 February, 13.00 GMT

This session will introduce a simple but powerful and versatile model, that can be applied as a tool and even as a guiding principle. It can help facilitators to engage and empower their groups with greater confidence and versatility, to better enable them to make the change that they are seeking in the world.  The session will be equally suitable for newcomers to facilitation and for experienced facilitators who are new to ToP, and those who would like to deepen their understanding of ORID as a design tool.

This session is adapted from a face-to-face session delivered at the October 2015 IAF Europe MENA conference in Stockholm, Making Waves.

Read further details and register now on Eventbrite.


Provisional future dates and suggested topics

I plan to schedule monthly or bi-monthly sessions, on weekdays at 13.00 GMT for convenience of multiple time zones. Provisional future dates for 2016 are: Wednesday 2 March, Monday 18 April, Wednesday 4 May, Monday 20 June, Wednesday 6 July, Monday 15 August, Wednesday 7 September, Monday 17 October, Wednesday 2 November, Monday 19 December. Please register your interest in these or other dates and times via Surveymonkey.

I shall invite clients and colleagues where possible to join me to share their own perspective on topics drawn from my experience, and I may also invite IAF and ICA colleagues to join me as guest presenters on additional topics drawn from their experience.

Please share your feedback and suggestions for additional topics and guest presenters via Surveymonkey, in response to these suggested topics drawn from posts to my blog:


Each session will be hosted in Adobe Connect for a highly interactive learning experience.

Each topic will be addressed by a short case study or other presentation, supplemented by links to further online material for later reference. Sessions will apply tools and techniques of virtual facilitation to help participants to engage with the material and the presenter, and with their own and each other’s experience on the topic. Participants will be invited to share contact details privately in order to reconnect with each other after the session should they wish. Sessions will be recorded, and recordings also made available.

Participants should be ready to login to the meeting room from 45 minutes in advance for any technical support that may be required to enable their participation, then they may ‘step away’ until it is time to begin. Login details will be circulated to registered participants within 7 days of the session.


Register now on Eventbrite, and register your interests on Surveymonkey.

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 IAF England & Wales’ free facilitation meetups in London and elsewhere.

Is there a single, universal principle of facilitation? #IAFemena15

Thank you to everyone attending my session today at the 2015 IAF Europe MENA conference in Stockholm, Making Waves. I am pleased to share the slides I used here below, and below that the session description.

The session was inspired by an earlier blog post Four steps to a universal principle of facilitation and learning and drew on the Focused Conversation with video Three dimensions of the facilitator role.

ORID and the ToP Focused Conversation method are featured in the Group Facilitation Methods courses, coming up November 17-18 in Brussels and monthly with ICA:UK in London & Manchester.

Please share your own experience of ORID or your own ‘universal principle’ in a comment, or contact me with any questions or for further information.


 


 

Is there a single, universal principle of facilitation? Mine’s ORID!

At a monthly meet-up of the International Association of Facilitators in London, the question was posed “is there a single, universal principle of facilitation?”  More to the point of course, if there is – what is it!

It didn’t take me long to think and respond that, in my own facilitation at least, there is certainly something approaching that – a simple four-level model of human behaviour that is always in my mind as I design and facilitate any learning or collaborative process, and that is very often explicitly the basis of the design.  Anyone who has worked or taken training with me, or who is familiar with ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, will know immediately what I am talking about.  It is the basis of the ToP Focused Conversation method, featured in the foundational ToP Group Facilitation Methods course, and it is affectionately known as ORID.

In this session I shall introduce the ORID model, first by demonstrating the ToP Focused Conversation method in leading a conversation on the role of the facilitator, and then by talking through the theory behind the model and by giving some examples of broader application as a universal principle of process design and facilitation. Participants will have an opportunity to consider how they might apply the model themselves in their own situations, and what they can learn about their own ‘universal principle of facilitation’.

The session will introduce a simple but powerful and versatile model, that can be applied as a tool and even as a guiding principle. It will help facilitators to engage and empower their groups with greater confidence and versatility, to better enable them to make the change that they are seeking in the world.  The session will be equally suitable for newcomers to facilitation and for experienced facilitators who are new to ToP, and those who would like to deepen their understanding of ORID as a design tool.


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.

Four steps to a universal principle of facilitation and learning

This post was first written for and published by Kellow Learning: facilitating curious futures, as the first of a series of monthly guest posts from members of the global Kellow Learning Network.

At a recent monthly meet-up of the International Association of Facilitators in London, the question was posed “is there a single, universal principle of facilitation?”  More to the point of course, if there is – what is it!

It didn’t take me long to think and respond that, in my own facilitation at least, there is certainly something approaching that – a simple four-level model of human behaviour that is always in my mind as I design and facilitate any learning or collaborative process, and that is very often explicitly the basis of the design.  Anyone who has worked or taken training with me, or who is familiar with ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP) approach, will know immediately what I am talking about.  It is the basis of the ToP Focused Conversation method, featured in the foundational ToP Group Facilitation Methods course, and it is affectionately known as ORID.

ORID is a model of how we respond as human beings to each other and our environment, and so too of how we learn, make decisions and act.  We perceive our external reality through our senses of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. These are our sources of data, the Objective level of the model.  We experience an internal response to such data initially, whether or not we are conscious of it.  These emotional, intuitive or gut reactions represent the Reflective level.  We discern meaning, ascribe value or significance, and learn at the Interpretive level.  When we come to some sort of conclusion, resolution or action that is at the Decisional level.   We go through this process countless times every day, often subconsciously.  For example, I hear my alarm clock through my sleep in the morning and roll over in bed to ignore it and continue sleeping; until I realise that it is getting late and I must get up, so I reach to switch on the light.

The ToP focused conversation method uses ORID as the basis for crafting a series of questions, by which to lead a group through a conversation which is focused, inclusive and productive.  The conversation is focused by crafting questions explicitly to help the group address a particular topic.  It follows the four levels of ORID in turn, taking the group on a journey together from surface to depth understanding, learning and resolution.  This is inclusive because different people (and people of different cultures) tend to be stronger and more comfortable at the different levels, so this enables everyone to participate where they are most comfortable and to contribute from their strengths.  This discipline of addressing each level together in turn also helps to test unspoken assumptions and overcome unconscious biases, and so helps to make the conversation more productive and conclusions more robust.

I find that this approach applies equally well to an informal small group conversation of a few minutes as it does to an elaborate large group process of days, weeks or months.  For example, I shared the design of a small group conversation from a training context in my recent blog post Three dimensions of the facilitator role – a focused conversation with video.  For an example from virtal faciliation see the twitter chat ‘Facilitating a Diverse Group of People‘, designed and led with @BenZiegler to celebrate International Facilitation Week last October. Another recent post ‘from the archive’ Staff away day with George House Trust illustrates ORID applied to the design of a whole day event – opening, overview, introductions and ground rules at the Objective level; ‘Wall of Wonder’ historical scan and story-telling at the Reflective level; World Café conversation at the Interpretive level, on “How we would like to be able to describe the culture of GHT”; and at the Decisional level, a team-building exercise, next steps, and closing reflection and evaluation.

Also I find that ORID applies well in conjunction with all sorts of other methods and tools.  The World Café method used in the George House Trust example is a case in point.  In a consultation event involving around 70 researchers helping to shape a future grant programme of a national Research Council, I used ORID to structure the four, progressive small-group table conversations of a World Café session – [O] highlights of our own research relevant to the research theme, [R] exciting emerging themes and questions, [I] opportunities for mutual support & collaboration, and [D] implications for researchers and for the Research Council. I plan to share more examples of ORID as a process design tool in future posts.

So, my universal principle is this – whatever the aims for your group process, there will be four key steps to achieving them.  Even if you have an apparently simple, single question to address, often four questions will work better than one.  As another example, if you want to ask “what shall we do about problem X?”, consider that your D-level question and ask first “what do we know about problem X?”, “what have been some of our challenges and breakthroughs in the past in relation to problem X?”, and “what have we learned from our experience about what might work and what doesn’t work in relation to problem X?”.

For a detailed explanation and practical guidance on the ToP Focused Conversation method, including many example conversation designs, see The Art of Focused Conversation: 100 ways to access group wisdom in the workplace and The Art of Focused Conversation for Schools: Over 100 Ways to Guide Clear Thinking and Promote Learning.

If you have found a universal principle of facilitation or learning yourself, please do share it!  I do not claim that mine is the single universal principle…

I am grateful to Sean Blair of ProMeet for posing the question at the IAF Facilitators & Friends London meet-up. Do join us (it’s free) on the 2nd Thursday of the month in central London, or join us online to schedule a meet-up where you are.


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.