A resource for planning future events that you may find interesting. Tip: while there are a lot of good techniques discussed here, most are poorly described. If you find one that interests you, I recommend searching on it to find a more comprehensive description.
Thank you, Elise Keith, Great library, etc. with helpful features.
I’m Robert, one of the co-founders of SessionLab, thank you for the mention about the facilitation library.
I have to agree with you remark that the quality of the method descriptions varies a lot, some are already fairly detailed while many other needs improvement. We look forward to improve on it in the coming months.
In the meantime I wanted to encourage you (and other Kunsio members too) to add your own favourite methods into the library, as anyone can add new techniques there. It’s an open source library, and we really appreciate contribution from the community so we can help each other to reinvent the wheel less often
You all have done a nice job improving this library since it was first posted here. Good work! We cross-link to your content from our glossary in several places and will continue to do so as it makes sense going forward.
Here’s one other resource worth knowing.
Most of this falls outside of what you might use in many meetings, but I think it’s worth checking out just for the video of the knee tag group energizer alone.
Thanks a lot for taking a second look at the SessionLab facilitation library. Since your previous feedback, we start putting more focus on curating the content, I’m happy to see that you noticed an improvement
Nevertheless, there is still a long way to go to make sure that majority of the facilitation methods and workshop activities are properly and consistently described there.
Also great to hear you are cross-linking from your glossary, it’s becoming a quite impressive and comprehensive list of meeting terms and tools!
By the way, if you have any specific facilitation method that you’d like to publish in the SessionLab library, just let me know and I’m happy to help with that.
P.s. We are currently working on creating a few thematic compilations of facilitation methods - I might ask feedback in the next days when we have the first iteration ready to show.
Awesome! Happy to share ideas any time!
I’ll think on that methodology question. We tend to focus on day-to-day business meetings where the more involved techniques don’t come into play so much.
Actually - I’ve been looking for a write up of Vote-Discuss-Revote with more detail than I can remember from the workshop where I learned it. We advocate this technique in one of our decision-making templates. That would be a handy one!
Thanks for the suggestion on the Vote-Discuss-Revote technique, it looks like an interesting technique. I’ll keep an open eye if I see this method anywhere, and let you know if I stumbled upon it.
I’ve shared a draft of the meeting facilitation method booklet we are a working on in a new topic on the forum here, I’d love to hear if you have any feedback no the structure, design and the methods included.
The SessionLab library of facilitation methods uses the following categories to systematize its knowledge:
- Idea generation
- Issue resolution
- Explore and understand
The idea is that users can access the library via any of these entry points.For example, if you are looking for a method to generate ideas, click on “idea generation”, if you want to resolve a conflict, click on “Issue resolution” etc. You can further refine the search via more detailed tags. Any method can be tagged with multiple tags, like so:
While all of this makes perfect sense, it didn’t immediately appeal to me in the sense that looking at the site made me feel like exploring it further. The main reason for this was probably that I simply wasn’t looking for any method. A database with solutions doesn’t attract you unless you have a problem.
But today I realized that there may be more to it. A colleague mentioned this website with a toolbox for grassroots activism to help make their movements more creative and more effective:
I took a look and found their way of systematizing their tools quite intreaguing. They distingish the following:
- Case studies
If you look at, say, one of the practitioners, Adbusters, for example, it gives you links to their tactics, principles, etc under “related modules”:
(A point of possible improvement would be to make it visually clear, which of those related modules is a tactic, a theory, etc, but that’s just an aside.)
Likewise, if you click on a tactic, you get links to related principles, practitioners who use it and concrete case studies where it was used.
I find that really appealing as it invites me to explore and discover things, regardless of whether I’m looking for a solution to specific problem. In fact, one might consider it a weakness of the website that it does not have a “problem” category listing different types of status quo situations that activists might want to change. Maybe this is because they want to avoid reifying the status quo and how we think about it (following the principle that we can’t solve problems by using the same logic that created them)?
In any case, my point here is: couldn’t we build such a network of knowledge for meetings? There are numerous collections of facilitation methods and they are good to have. But they merely correspond to the tactics category on the beautiful trouble website. What about the principles, theories, case studies, practitioners (and I might add: researchers)?
Isn’t that part of what you’re trying to achieve with this forum?
In a way yes. But the information accumulated in a discussion forum is never going to be as neatly organized as a library/database. There are obviously different ways of organizing your toolbox…
We do have tags, though, which we can use if the mess gets too big…
Also, it seems to me that those people who actually invest the time to build a faciliation toolbox prefer to do that on their own website so that the function of this forum might be more to link to these libraries, discuss and compare them.
So a couple of days ago, I was actually looking for a method, not for a meeting but for the classroom, but the problem was general enough that I hoped to find something in the session labs library. I didn’t. I’m posting this not to complain but to discuss how to make it easier to (quickly) find some method that you can build upon.
Here is what I was looking for: It’s the first session of a new (university) course with 50-60 students who have been divided into project groups of 4-5 people using the Learning Management System (LMS) prior to this session. So everyone knows their group number but they don’t necessarily know the names of the other group members or if they do, they may not know who these people are. So I wanted to fin a fun way for them to identify their team members and work with them during this session.
I didn’t expect to find an exact solution since this situation with people already divided into groups is a bit unusual, but I thought I might be able to modify some similar method to fit my situation. But I was unable to find anything.
To start with, the filter for the number of participants didn’t seem to work. It did limit the results list but the displayed results had nothing to do with the numbers I had entered. But this is probably just a technical glitch that @rcserti can easily fix. So I ended up not using that filter.
As I said, I didn’t find anything, probably because there wasn’t anything there, but my point is that even the search itself wasn’t so easy because I couldn’t really fit my situation into any of the given categories (though I guessed it was closest to an “Energizer”). I think it’s not so unusual that people looking for a method are not thinking in terms of the categories provided but are more broadly looking for inspiration from existing methods. So I think what could make the library more attractive to use would be to find ways of exploring it in a less instrumental (clear problem => clear solution) way, for example by letting people search for all methods that are suitable for use among people who do not know each other. I guess what I’m suggesting is that the starting point for searching the library should not be a description of the problem you’re trying to solve or the type of solution you’re looking for, but a description of the situation in which you want to use a method.
Hi @christoph and all.
I’m one also one of the co-founders of SessionLab and I wanted to thank you for this breakdown of your experience.
Indeed, one of the bigger challenges we have with having 400+ methods is how do you present them in a meaningful way for exploration. Most of the content providers we collected methods from have much more limited focus (e.g. only innovation, or only games) so it’s easier to browse their methods.
This is indeed an interesting proposal. We could maybe have a selection of cases (or even hierarchy of cases) and as you go through them you are offered various methods.
What I wonder is have you tried using the tags? I.e. clicking on Filters and then enter get-to-know tag. That should give some hopefully more relevant solutions.
If you remember, could you let me know which numbers you entered and which false result you got. I tested quickly now and it seems to work. On thing that might though be confusing is that if you set a upper limit of e.g. 10, you will still get methods that are for 2-40 participants, because technically (or rather mathematically) the up to 10 is included in that case. So that might be a source of confusion (and something we should address in one way or another).
This is a very interesting point and something we have been thinking about since we started our project. Toolbox of methods is just one step and building a more holistic open source knowledge base is our vision. Maybe there is a way we can collaborate on this?