Facilitation Tools and Techniques

The World Cafe

The World Café methodology has been used by businesses, universities, not-for-profits and communities, around the world to quickly access the collective wisdom of an organization and generate innovative ideas for action. This dialogue process entails a series of small group conversations on a strategic question of importance to the group. The small groups mix every 20-30 minutes, with each person bringing seeds of their previous conversation into the next one. The experience is energizing and often entails some ‘magic’ where ideas or insight gather momentum across the room.

Open Space Technology

Open Space

Open Space Technology is a meeting technique where instead of meetings from being highly defined and structured ahead of time, participants come together and self-organize to define an agenda and structure to address the issues of most importance to them. Our events often build in unstructured time where the focus is determined by the issues that emerge from participants’ conversations. People can join small groups to discuss the topics of most interest to them and use “The Law of Two Feet” to move to the group where they feel most motivated to contribute.  Creativity and insights emerge in a non-linear way as multiple conversations happen and people cross-pollinate among the groups.

Search for Insight

Search for Insight™ is a methodology that uses strategic questioning to help a person or organization access a diverse range of perspectives to address a specific challenge. It also serves as an efficient way for people to quickly learn how to ask strategic questions.  A “focus person” presents a current challenge to a diverse group, such as an area where one feels stuck, has to choose between several options, or is dealing with a difficult “people issue.” The group frames strategic questions for the person to consider, with coaching about how to phrase the questions in ways that generate movement and more options. Questions are not answered in the exercise. In continually asking questions from many perspectives, often unconscious assumptions are surfaced and/or new possibilities are raised that the focus person had not considered. By the end of the Search for Insight™ exercise, the focus person leaves with a long list of strategic questions to explore, drawing on the combined hundreds of years of experience of people in the room.

“It’s a far superior strategy to get all the minds working on what needs to change, rather than to convince each person to do what we think is best.”   -Fran Peavey

The Search for Insight™ methodology was developed by Paul Lipke through work with Sustainable Step New England. Strategic questioning is based on the work of Fran Peavey.

Spaces to Bring Your Full Self

green leaf

Creating the kind of fertile space that leads to high levels of creativity, collaboration, and motivation for action requires that each person be able to show up bringing all of who they are to the table: their head and heart, their wisdom from past experiences, and their inspiration. We create contexts where people can share stories and reflect on their experiences in new ways. We aim to include a diversity of participants in a meeting or dialogue, particularly inviting in people from all parts of a system or those who may rarely be asked for their opinions. The diversity of viewpoints can seed greater levels of creativity as well as highlight concerns that are important to address in determining a course of action.