Authentically Connect to Strategic Partners with a Facilitated Workshop (featuring Future Leaders)by ModelMinds on Aug 25, 2011 • 15:28 No Comments
ModelMinds was asked for coming up with a session that would make a potential collaboration between Knowmads Business School and Future Leaders possible, or at the least likely to happen. How? Read on…
Knowing that it is impossible to guarantee a ‘match’ between people, the challenge lies in the human interaction design, the neutral process facilitation, and the convergence of the outcomes with graphical capture – one holistic process that empowers participants to discover themselves.
Not without a reason we were asked to bring our expertise. After all, we bring in neutrality towards the content. Precisely this is what makes us strong, as we see it as our task to facilitate a process, in which the content that is needed emerges. It is as if we develop tailored methodologies for sessions no one knows the outcome of. And that is exciting. Especially for the parties that do actually have a stake in the outcome. They can then primarily dive into the content, explore working together, and can focus on finding their unique sharing points.
In our session preparation, we set ourselves to understand two questions: “on what levels do people connect?” and “how do people connect?”. These questions would help us to design a process, one that enables connections to be shaped. Playing with identified factors can help you in practically designing sessions. Although the purpose of the meeting may indicate priority to the one or the other factor, the great thing is that these process-levels may be considered. Let us share a sketch of the model:
Having identifid the 16 connection points, we selected possible interactive tools and exercises that would touch upon the most important combinations. Then we sketched out the process. And we took time to think of different room settings. To ensure that all individual needs and desired outcome would surface during our session. And for the group to benefit from the collective wisdom that it can bring along. Working together as a team.
And this is the essence of process design: to come up with a meta-process. A process where the direction of the gathering is guided by the interests of the people and in which the content is co-created through interaction. And this all enabled by interactive, engaging methods and tools.
An it is this human interaction design that is crucial and deserves the time it needs. Not taking this into account makes the difference between ‘an awesome experience’ and ‘the usual meeting or symposium’. In order to make complex processes visible (for ourselves and partners), it always helps to sketch it out in detail:
Let us share an example of what we did during the session. We asked the different parties to get together in couples. And then have one person share a personal or organizational goal. A goal one is passionate about to achieve in upcoming year. The other, we asked to listen carefully, and to see and share how he or she could contribute in achieving the formulated goal. Like using one’s skills, contacting networks, or sharing inspiration.
Other brainstorms and thought experiments we also included. With active writing as the key activity…
Towards the middle of the three hour session we wanted to let both parties experience what it means to work together. For that it is crucial to have a common theme or question. With a physical exercise we found in only a few minutes a topic that engaged both groups. We concluded this part with a short solution-focused brainstorm. The output we harvested on a big paper in the room. So that everyone could see how they contributed to it:
For the two organizations involved, Knowmads and Future Leaders, the session was a great success. After all, there is a big difference in having just a ‘get-to-know-each-other’ meeting and a session externally designed, facilitated and harvested. While Manuel was facilitating and guiding the group, Oscar visually captured it all.
Follow ups are scheduled, and from Loes Berkhout, a member of Future Leaders, we heard the following:
“If you want a sparkling, adventurous ride to new ideas you’ll be safe in the hands of ModelMinds. They lifted us up so we could take a fresh perspective on our case.”
… and to Knowmads she refers as “a box full of creative minds that you want to take home!”