Brainstorming for Innovation

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“Successful innovation most often results from a disciplined process that sorts through many ideas.” — Forbes, CEOs Say Innovation is the Most Important Factor for Growth

The resources below are helpful for facilitators working in this field, as each provides guidance on what to focus on for success, including during the process of facilitating brainstorming.

Innovation: What It Is – How to Encourage It

Brainstorming: What Is Important for Success

Facilitation Skills

image-1As you cast your mind to your  strategic priorities, remember the power of solid facilitation skills to help you and your team brainstorm creative ideas, foster collaboration and engagement, align around a shared vision, and agree on priority actions to take.

Click on the links below to view our empowering workshops and contact us to bring us in-house.

CORE FACILITATION SKILLS:

The Confident Facilitator: Essential Skills for Guiding Groups / Effective Meetings

The Skillful Facilitator: Strategies for Meeting Dynamics & Group Dysfunction

GRAPHIC SKILLS

The Artful Visual Facilitator: Bring Meeting Results to Life with Graphics

TRAINING SKILLS

The Facilitative Instructor: Best Practices for Active Learning Engagement

IN-HOUSE WORKSHOPS

Contact Us to bring any of the above Public Workshop, or additional workshops (Agile, Strategic, Engaging, Virtual to you).

 

Facilitator? Instructor? Presenter? Coach?

Is facilitation really so distinct from other fields and disciplines?

Many points of intersection exist between facilitation and other fields such as education, adult education, organization development, coaching and presentation. There are, however, some very important differences in the outcomes being sought, and therefore the mindset, tools, and frameworks adopted to achieve desired results. Continue reading “Facilitator? Instructor? Presenter? Coach?”

Why Are You Meeting?

“Clarity of meeting purpose is a sweet weapon against confusion.” — Toke Palludan Moeller.”

Groups meet not only to get work done, but also to build relationships and the social capital required for successful collaboration after the meeting. However briefly, this human need for interaction with others should always be factored into your meeting.

Remember though, that the key to focused and productive meetings is the reason you are meeting in the first place. Be clear on your meeting purpose from the start. Generally, most meetings fall under three broad types of purposes:

1. To inform and update participants. (Typical Length: .5 to 1.5 hours).

2. To obtain input and/or generate consensus around issues, problems and plans. (Typical Length: 2-3+ hours; sometimes over several weeks/months).

3. To develop and implement strategy and change. (Typical Length: 1-3 days annually; 1-3 hours quarterly).

As you plan your meeting, ask yourself this question: “Why are we meeting and what do we hope will be different as a result?” Having this clarity will greatly assist you in planning your agenda and facilitation processes.

Start your meeting off with a clear explanation of that purpose to participants, for example: “When you walk out, you’ll be current on the status of our top priority projects; your ideas are essential to the resolution of this issue; and, finally, we need to align on new future directions and the plans to achieve them.” If you do need to meet, then being clear on your meeting purpose is the first step in achieving focused and productive meetings.

Call to Action:

The Masterful Facilitation Institute exists to build your confidence and skills as an effective facilitator so you can design and facilitate great meetings – every time, for any purpose. Read the path to Effective Facilitation to get started now.

Difficult Participant Strategies

One of the most challenging things for us to deal with as facilitators is the “difficult” participant and meeting.  Consider adopting these neutral and non-confrontational strategies from Speak Like A CEO:skillful facilitator

  • Create a safe, open environment where people can speak their minds
  • Encourage all participants to speak up, and don’t let anyone dominate
  • Use decision devices such as pros/cons, evaluation sheets, grids to evaluate ideas
  • Set the ground rules for your meetings and enforce them
  • Listen to conflicting views

Continue reading “Difficult Participant Strategies”

What A Great Meeting!

People meet for all sorts of reasons.greatmtg Organizations bring people together to accomplish all sorts of outcomes. But, not all of those meetings would be dubbed productive nor would all the participants proclaim, “Wow! What a great meeting.” In fact, it’s probably quite the opposite.

Great meetings take work. The mistake most of us make is we assume we can just ‘wing it’. Not so. The more seemingly effortless, easy and natural the meeting; the more likely a good deal of preparation happened beforehand to achieve that. Continue reading “What A Great Meeting!”

Who Is Doing the Learning?

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Are you a Subject Matter Expert – a recognized authority in your field – who is called upon to share your knowledge and to help others gain skills and insights in your area of expertise? If participant learning is your goal, listening to you won’t get them there.

No matter how well planned, how interesting, stimulating, colourful or relevant the lesson is, if the [course facilitator] does all the interacting with the material, then it is [their] brain – not the student’s, that will grow new connections.” — Pat Wolfe, Neuroscience and Education

As interesting as we may believe our lectures and presentations to be, most people remember little of what they hear, especially if they don’t immediately apply the information. In the role of learning facilitator, rely less on PowerPoint delivery (while learners passively listen), and use your subject matter expertise to engage them.

How? Among various active learning strategies you might adopt, you will find that learning dramatically increases when participants have the opportunity to discuss, reflect and practice and/or apply the concepts and skills of your course.

And the most powerful strategy? – Having participants teach their peers what has just been learned. If lecturing won’t get them there, high engagement and involvement will!

Learn how to transform your instructional delivery from ‘boring’ to ‘wow’ through the adoption of facilitative methods to create learner-centered courses. 

 

 

Engage Participants

mfi-2Adopt a variety of strategies to keep group conversation lively, productive, and all  of your meeting participants engaged.

As a facilitative leader, you know that participant interaction is essential for understanding, collective learning, and alignment.  When you are facilitating a “whole group” conversation,  be aware that it is easy for participants to disengage and let others (often positional leaders or subject matter experts) dominate the discussion.

Do you know how to provide meaningful opportunities for everyone to contribute fully and meaningfully? Continue reading “Engage Participants”