Friday, June 6, 2014

Facilitating at the Leadership Summit

Drawing by Hilda Anggraeni

Earlier this month BCcampus hosted a one-day Learning, Teaching and Ed Tech Leadership Summit. The purpose of the summit and subsequent steps was to bring together provincial leaders to collaborate, innovate and solve problems. The day was organized as a participatory and emergent process to:
  • identify issues and challenges
  • begin to think about solutions
  • discuss how we will work together as a consortium
  • begin planning our first open event
  • discuss how decisions are currently being made with respect to Ed tech choices and implementation
  • gain feedback on a proposal for a new provincial teaching with technology award
The Challenges and Solutions participatory graphic wall anchored the discussions throughout the day. Ultimately we wanted to situate ourselves in the landscape of working as a collective -- system wide.

My facilitation role was around the "how we will work together" piece. Here are my prep and process notes, along with some reflections on how it all went.

Collaborating as a consortium

Key questions guiding this activity:
  • What are the results/outcomes we want?
  • What do you want from each other? 
  • From BCcampus? 
  • How do you envision the group working? 
  • Who will lead? 
In this visioning session, I used the Purpose to Practice Liberating Structure (P2P). The focus is on what we can do as a collective, so P2P seemed like an ideal choice. We worked together to define what our collective goals might be, and the essential elements of our future collaborative work: purpose, principles, participants, structure, and practices (and more photographs of the output)

I created a large, colourful poster for each group of the 5 groups, along with discussion questions on index cards for prompts.

Here are my personal and rough notes to guide my own facilitation. I like to use Evernote on my iPad for that -- it fits with my habits of updating the outline at the last minute, inserting notes as I listen to conversations leading up to the session.

11:10 set up
  • Clearly have a lot to work on
  • Many great discussions, creative solutions.
  • How can we work together
  • We already have a good start on getting our heads into this
  • Just first steps in thinking about this.
  • Next 50 minutes generating ideas about how to accomplish what we want to do
  • This is going to be rapid and definitely unfinished
  • Sharpen later
  • Liberating structures - a variation on purpose to practice
  • 5 elements - lots of overlap
  • You can choose to think out one project as proof of concept, but don't get too hung up on details. We're talking about many projects and potentially many years
  • Work through one together - purpose - then in 4 groups

11:20 Purpose
  • Guiding questions. Read them
  • Individual
  • Table
  • Report out one statement from each table
  • One person write on flip chart
11:35 Elements
  • Short description of each group
  • Guiding question / add your own questions on cards
  • Feel free to move around to other tables to see their questions
  • Jot down your ideas and thoughts on post it notes
  • Individual
  • Table
  • Capture capture capture on post it notes
  • Start: one person from each table pick up your element package
  • Take what's on the table and display it over lunch
  • Encourage you to visit each element and zone in on some of the details
  • Promise to capture and report back
  • Promise to organize next steps


Leadership Summit 2014

We worked through the Purpose activity together (individual, each table, report back). Key questions:
  • Why is this work important to you? 
  • What is our core reason for working together? 
  • Why is this work important to the larger community


Leadership Summit 2014

Key questions:
  • To fail, what must we do? 
  • To succeed, what must we do? 
  • What are the things we don't want to repeat? 
  • What is one BIG thing on the "must do" list? 
  • What is one small thing on the "must do" list?


Leadership Summit 2014

Key questions:

  • Who should be included?
  • Who will move things forward at your institution?
  • Who can contribute?
  • Where do you see yourselves (as a group) in terms of your participation?
  • At the end of the day, where will you pin your name on the landscape?
  • What is the role of BCcampus?


Leadership Summit 2014

Key questions:

  • How is work distributed?
  • How do we organize ourselves?
  • What important conversations do you need to have to make things happen?
  • What do we need to support our work?
  • How is control distributed?
  • Where do YOU fit in? 


Leadership Summit 2014

Key questions:

  • What are our milestones?
  • What will stand in our way?
  • What will we do and how?
  • What are the outcomes of our work together?
  • What will have changed one month from now?
  • What will have changed one year from now?

How did it go?

There were some excellent discussions! It seemed well paced, and the invitation to transfer and arrange the notes over lunch was well received (that's always a risky request!). This Liberating Structure activity tied in well to the rest of the day as we moved forward to discuss personal commitment and next steps. 

As with any implementation of a new facilitation structure, it took careful planning -- it seems so easy on paper, but in the moment you realize the importance of clear explanations of the process. If you send everybody off into groups without a solid understanding of tasks, as well as the purpose of those tasks, it can get a bit chaotic. Making the table rounds helped to clarify any confusion. 

I've never been able to follow "recipes" completely. I always invent variations, which isn't such a bad thing, but there is something to be said for following the design as written. Ha! I might try that next time. 

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