The mission of the Facilitation Starter is to provide a 'starter culture' of facilitation mindsets, skill sets, toolsets and language for those who are starting out on their facilitation journeys, or are needing a refresh. After several months of fruitful testing and learning in the marketplace, the opportunity to join boutique consulting firm 'wheretofromhere?' presented the potential to accelerate and scale the impact we were seeking to make and provide a sandpit in which to experiment further....
Upon joining wheretofromhere? we challenged ourselves to broaden our purpose to one level higher: how might we make it easier and more accessible for more people to develop their design and facilitation skills so that collectively, we can have more impact through collaboration? We applied this broader intent to hosting our very first public design and facilitation masterclass.
And so it was that in June 2017 we hosted 20 design and facilitation apprentices for a 2-day design and facilitation masterclass. Our apprentices had varying degrees of mastery, and different professional backgrounds, but all had a common ambition to hone their craft through a process of collaborative, peer-to-peer learning.
The stated purpose of the masterclass was to "create the condition for all of us to show and practice our design and facilitation kung-fu so that we can increase our individual and collective mastery". The intent behind these words was that we are all at various levels of mastery and each having something others can learn from, and things we need to learn. Given this we used the design levers of time, space, process and content to create conditions for learning that suited individual and group contexts. This translated to balancing time for whole group, small group and individual processes. This included times when we shared good food together.
The session design, and experience, was deliberately different on each day. Day one was more formalised and structured with set topics such as defining context and purpose and designing a process for your session. Day two was more 'choose your own adventure' where we created flexible time and space for participants to choose the topics that would fill the agenda. Our team was then there to create the environment and process to support this fluid learning agenda. On this second day topics ranged from MG Taylor theory, detailed preparation, deep dives into session design and how to use other facilitation levers such as graphic visualisation and space.
Our intent is to create opportunities for this community to continue to practice and learn together such that we can continue to develop our individual and collective mastery in the design and facilitation of collaboration.
The images below show the hours of design and prep work that we put into this inaugural masterclass. They go to the heart of a key idea that resonated with us from the masterclass - the need to make our thinking and our activity transparent as designers and facilitators. To show and tell what we're doing and why. To make clear the choices that we face and how and why we go about making the choices that we do.