A colleague asked me for advice. She is planning a three-days regional workshop with a small group of 12 colleagues working in the field of health. After clarifying the purpose we talked about the workshop design. She had a clear idea what to do and a vague idea about how to do it.
This was a good starting point for our joint reflection. We asked questions as:
- How should the workshop be opened, with an (external) input or a first conversation?
- What kind of input is necessary to boost deep reflection?
- When is the right moment for an input? And who is the right person to make an input that truly inspires?
- Who brings which expertise to the table? At what moment will this knowledge be unlocked? And how?
- What will the group create together during the workshop?
- At the end of the workshop, when colleagues leave, what will they carry with them, in their minds, in their hearts and in their hands?
From bits and pieces to the whole story
After talking about possible methods like World Café or Knowledge Café, Flip Chart Chat, Poster Presentations, and Speed Geeking, we took a step back to see the whole workshop arch, from beginning to end.
Seeing the workshop as a story – or even as a little drama – is helpful for workshop design. A workshop that:
- Makes sense, is logic and builds up a tension;
- Is flowing and guides the group’s conversation;
- Is broad at beginning, connecting people and ideas;
- Is narrowing down toward the end bringing reflections and conversations to a conclusion;
- Leads to action
What are your key insights on workshop design?
18/07/2016 at 8:36 pm
This reminds me of what http://www.liberatingstructures.com has taught me via the idea of how we “string” the individual processes/pieces together towards a whole. The think that I have to pay attention to is that if we JUST think about a gathering as a linear narrative we may miss the iterative, learning loops that can’t be designed INTO from the start, but which we can use and riff upon in the moment.
19/07/2016 at 5:26 am
Dear Nancy, many thanks for this. I like the “string-idea”. A story evolves while we tell the story, so does the workshop, isn’t it? What you add here with LS is that the workshop story is told during the workshop once more by all participants. As facilitators we build a narrative before the workshop. During the workshop we tell it afresh with the people. I really love that. Thanks a lit for sharing!