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March 26 - 27 2007

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From Facilitation Forum

World Café

Uwe Weissflog led us through a very practical demonstration of this technique

Virtual Action Learning

Datacom demonstrated their version of Video Conferencing together with ACT

Facilitation in a virtual world

I believe there are other methods and ways of facilitating in a virtual world. Over lunch we talked informally ideas around the use of such gaming sites as Second Life (see Times Article on organisations' use of Second Life [1]) and Sims Online to create not only virtual people (avatars) but virtual worlds where groups can create entirely new identities and literally grow something - buildings, homes, islands, even pets! There were many comparisons over the two days with Online Dating, so the thought occurs that as chatrooms already exist with their own, very definite netiquette, should we be encouraging businesses to create Intranet chatrooms for more informal discussions?

Also, if the quote from Plato is true (how can you tell at this distance in time?) that "you can discover more about a person in an hour of play than in a year of conversation" and if we are truly looking for creative solutions, should we not put people in the most creative surroundings we can devise - those they can build for themselves? I came across Facilitating with Lego last year ([2])and it has to be said that literally building something with your hands really does put a different perspective on the problem you are trying to solve and how you interact with those you are solving it with.

In other places and other arenas, I have come across tools such as LiveMeeting ([3]), GroupSystems ([4]) and others mentioned Sharepoint ([5]).

GroupSystems is, I understand, use very successfully in Creativity Labs such as those at the FutureFocus@dti Immersive Theatre ([6]), the Creativity Lab (CUE Ltd.) at the Coventry Techno Centre ([7]), The Lab at Consignia ([8])and the i-Lab at the University of Essex ([9])


Concern was expressed that as the younger, more net-savvy generation comes into the workplace they could become rapidly disengaged with employers who are less able to take advantage of the choices of software and communications technology. Employers may even see it as a threat - with the concurrent increasing wish to control.

With this in mind, Patricia mentioned reading a book recently called "The Starfish and the Spider" by Ori Brafman ([10])about leaderless organisations and Uwe also talked of Chaordic Organisations ([11]). How and where does facilitation fit into these models?

Other groups talked about concerns that new technology could be tools of INCLUSION and EXCLUSION - in the most unexpected places. Small rural communities in the UK could be excluded from access to new technology simply because they are too far from a telephone exchange whereas small, informal groups set up for health care professionals to monitor well-being gradually transmogrified into virtual coffee mornings for some of the most isolated. Is this the Law of Unintended Consequence?

Countries which had missed out on the earlier technological developments such as the standard telephone land-line were leap-frogging more "developed" cultures with their sophisticated use of mobile phones and texting to allow small farmers, growers and tradesmen to cut out the middlemen who had, in the past, made money simply by being the link in a chain and thus allowing Fairtrade ([12]) to flourish even more freely

Facilitation in Large Organisations

Or "Facilitation as a profession" A session to explore the subject of in-house facilitation.

Is it reasonable to expect large organisations to use in-house facilitators when so much these days is out-sourced?

Some organisations expect their managers to use a facilitative style, so is it "Manager as Facilitator" AND "Manager as Coach"? Are facilitation skills becoming mainstream to the extent that they are no longer seen as a specialist area?

It's not a question of soft skills being unacceptable in big business as it is no longer unusual to see adverts for Business Coach or Executive Coach.

How do you demonstrate the benefit of something which is very much intangible?

Lao Tzu - The great leader is he who the people say, 'We did it ourselves.'


Further Discussion Topics

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Suggestions for Future Topic

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External links

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Bibliography

List paper documents here

  • Brafman, Ori , The Starfish and the Spider: The Unstoppable Power of Leaderless Organizations, Portfolio Hardcover, ISBN 1591841437 - EAN 9781591841432. - see [13]
  • Whyte, David, The Heart Aroused, Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group, ISBN 0385484186 - EAN 9780385484183 . - see [14]

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