Creating Processes for Change with Effective Facilitation

GM-Testimonials-NaomiTimmer
Effective facilitation plays a crucial role in driving transformation and fostering collaboration. With hybrid and remote work here to stay, online facilitation tools have become indispensable for professionals like Rachel Gooen. Rachel works with mission-driven organizations that focus on developing healthy people, healthy ecosystems and healthy communities. To do this she facilitates transformative processes to deliver change. She has found great success in curating those processes with the help of GroupMap. Here we delve into Rachel’s experience as a client of GroupMap. We explore her use of the tool and the impact it has had on her facilitation process. By harnessing the power of online facilitation, Rachel creates engaging, inclusive, and transformative experiences for diverse groups seeking change.

Facilitation for the better

Rachel’s journey as a facilitator began with her realization that communities and individuals often require support and guidance to navigate change effectively.

“I … [wanted to]…bring all the voices together so they could hear each other and we could come up with the direction or solution to what they are talking about.”

Armed with qualifications in both environmental science and social work, Rachel embarked on a mission to understand the intricacies of change management and facilitate transformative processes.

Discovering GroupMap

Rachel first encountered GroupMap during the COVID-19 pandemic when the world transitioned to remote work. 

Seeking tools she could use in the online facilitation space, Rachel explored various options and found GroupMap. While other tools seemed overly complex, with participants sometimes struggling to navigate them effectively, GroupMap provided a seamless user experience, allowing participants to easily contribute their thoughts and ideas. 

The role of process design in facilitation

For Rachel, the process is everything; and with GroupMap, she had a tool that took the effort out of building it.

“Having a well-designed process allows people to be comfortable, safe and be able to share what they want to share.”

GroupMap-online-facilitation-workspace-Rachel-Gooen

As a facilitator, her key considerations when building her process is the ease of use for participants. “I don’t want to make something with too many steps or too many complex motions.  I also think about visual appeal and simplicity.  The goal is to help people have an easy time entering their thoughts.”

GroupMap-online-facilitation-workspace-Rachel-Gooen-2

She often uses

Brainstorm-Vote-Results

Brainstorm-Action-Results when shaping her maps.

Rachel finds the range of templates available in GroupMap particularly useful.

Unlike other online facilitation tools that may require extensive setup, GroupMap’s simplicity and pre-designed templates were game-changers. Importantly, the templates helped save Rachel time.

Saving time

In addition to the ready-to-use templates, Rachel observed the time-saving effect of a number of other features. 

Firstly, the intuitive, user-friendly nature of the tool eliminated the need to allocate training time to her sessions. Participants can easily navigate the platform, contributing their ideas and feedback without any technical difficulties or learning curves. 

Next, GroupMap eliminates the need for Rachel to spend time manually writing details up on a whiteboard. Instead, ideas are simultaneously added by each participant, and the platform captures and organizes them in real-time. This not only saves time but also ensures that all ideas are captured accurately. 

The ability to export ideas via the report feature is incredibly useful for facilitators like Rachel. They can easily compile summaries of their sessions eliminating the tedious task of transcribing hundreds of post-it notes at its end. This streamlined process of capturing and exporting ideas can enable facilitators to report efficiently, providing valuable insights and outcomes to an organization.

Enhancing collaboration and engagement

The use of GroupMap has enabled Rachel to gather more information from her participants than face-to-face facilitation tends to deliver. Participants seem to know intuitively how to use the online collaboration tool. They appear to happily use it to contribute their ideas because it’s just so simple to do so.

Rachel shared an example of a meeting with a group discussing  invasive aquatic species. By using GroupMap, participants were able to provide input that surpassed the level of engagement achieved in previous in-person meetings.

“…they all felt like we got more information than we would have if we’d just had a discussion.”

The tool facilitated a more efficient and productive session, resulting in a wealth of ideas and perspectives that might have otherwise gone unnoticed.

GroupMap also helped Rachel deliver an ‘a-ha’ moment that couldn’t have otherwise happened. With the word cloud feature in mind, she used a simple map, and invited participants to quickly offer their thoughts.

“I made a single column map, titled it “Wish it forward!”  and gave these instructions:   Type in a one word wish for the future WMCC to help them get off to a great start.”

Within a minute, they had created a word cloud. The largest word ‘focus’ appeared at the center. Under it was “collaborate’. Surrounding these were words of encouragement and support.

“… everyone in the room gasped. It was a little bit of magic, and something I could not do in person.”

The moment had such a positive impact on the group that it was agreed the word cloud would be framed and presented to the new incumbents.

Adapting to hybrid environments

Rachel has used GroupMap in the hybrid space. 

In a recent meeting, she incorporated GroupMap into the session to accommodate both in-person and online participants. It also happened to be a meeting for which a number of in-person participants arrived without a laptop. 

Once the spare computers were allocated, there was no need to panic. Rachel was able to guide participants to access GroupMap on their mobile devices.

Again, Rachel’s observation was that GroupMap increased participation levels. This time pointing to the tool’s effectiveness in hybrid settings.

Creating a safe space

Rachel is a fan of the levels of anonymity the tool can offer as it tends to give people the courage to offer their input with greater ease; even among individuals who might have been hesitant to speak up in a traditional setting. 

She shared an example of the importance of anonymity with a mindset mapping warm up exercise. Participants were invited to nominate which one of four mindsets they most identified at that point in time. They were to choose from – 

  • An Innovator, that is they were ready to think creatively and think outside the box.

  • A Relater, that is they were ready to connect with others and build relationships.

  • A Challenger, that is, they were prepared to take on a challenge and push the group to achieve.

  • An Observer  meant they were in the mood to watch and analyse from the sideline.

The group consisted of two Innovators, one Relater, three Challengers and the rest (the majority of the group) identified as Observers. The anonymous nature of their input allowed participants to feel safe enough to honestly share their current mind-set.

Knowing she had so many Observers in the room meant Rachel could tailor her facilitation methods to better connect with the group.

Final thoughts

“GroupMap has made my online and hybrid sessions flow smoothly.  It is an intuitive platform that takes little to no training for my participants.  People in my facilitated meetings have commented that it is the best platform they have used. So not only do my clients get great information from the meeting, I have a tool that makes my process successful.” 

Thanks to our contributor, Rachel Gooen, Facilitator, Trainer and Coach. Through her consultancy, Rachel connects people and organizations with their purpose.

Have more questions or would like a demo?

Case Study: Tuna Blue Uses Innovative Facilitation Tools to Engage Stakeholders

Tuna Blue Facilitation supports groups to make their best decisions together by providing tailored facilitation processes paired with innovative digital technology.

Group Map Case Study – Tuna Blue Facilitation

Who is Tuna Blue?

Tuna Blue Facilitation supports groups to make their best decisions together by providing tailored facilitation processes paired with innovative digital technology. It’s an approach they call Long Haul Facilitation and it’s been refined in 1,300+ workshops with Government, community, and corporate groups in a diverse range of sectors. Always ready for the long haul, Will and Bevan at Tuna Blue have worked across Australia and the Asia Pacific to help groups get the buy-in and engagement they deserve.

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1. What was the event, meeting, or objective you were using GroupMap to resolve?

Stakeholder review of the Model of Care for Palliative Care in Western Australia.

2. What were the details of the event in terms of size, name, and location? Is there a link we can refer to?

Over 100 passionate stakeholders (primary and specialist care, allied health, consumers, etc.) at a one-day forum in Perth, WA plus a further 13 regional and remote representatives via Webinar later in the month.

3. What was the main challenge you wanted to resolve?

How to gain really focused and pragmatic input on changes to the Models of Care from a diverse range of expert stakeholders in a way that allowed everyone to have a voice but reached some pretty clear consensus before 4 pm.

4. In what way/s did you use GroupMap?

We created a number of maps for the different workshop sessions throughout the day:

  • A ‘Burning Issues’ session straight upfront, within 3 mins of the forum beginning.
  • A service delivery ‘Gaps and Solutions’ session with the solutions specifically linked to particular gaps through the use of the comment function.
  • A ‘world café’ style session focused on the 5 priority areas for review within the Models of Care, and
  • A shared 10 year Vision session.

5. What was the response from the audience?

We worked in collaborative mode and the participants loved the ability to discuss and enter their views in small groups plus build on other groups’ input. Most of all though, they were astonished that a level of consensus could be reached with 100 people present and that they could leave at 4 pm with a good idea of the overall strategic direction and a clear head. The sponsor closed the forum by saying ‘after running things this way, I don’t think we can ever go back to butchers’ paper and texts, this absolutely changes how engage’.

6. What outcomes/output did you achieve from using GroupMap?

With the wealth of input from the GroupMap sessions and plenaries, we developed a detailed Outcomes Report for the client to guide their review of the Models of Care with the smaller Steering Group. At a deeper level, the stakeholder group was engaged and felt a greater sense of ownership over the changes to the Models of Care that will affect their daily work and their patients.

7. Is there anything else you want to say to people considering using GroupMap for themselves?

We always stress to participants that GroupMap is the technology but the discussion between people is the really catalytic part, where change will occur. So make sure you’ve designed some robust facilitation processes to coincide with GroupMap and you’ll be sweet!

Read more about Tuna Blue’s mission statement here!

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“GroupMap has fundamentally changed the way we do business. As a facilitation consultancy that spent the last 20 years on butchers’ paper, GroupMap has met a real need for ourselves and our clients. Plus it’s made us review and refresh the way we facilitate workshops.”

Will Bessen, Tuna Blue Facilitation[vc_single_image image=”17221″ img_size=”800×400″ alignment=”center”][vc_column width=”1/4″][vc_column_text]

Zoom Break Out Rooms and GroupMap for Remote Meetings

Using Zoom break out rooms is great for creating smaller groups for discussion especially if you need to have larger virtual conferences, meetings or workshops. With its recent security upgrades and participants’ self-selection of rooms, it now makes it a little easier for people to navigate to their own space.  

You can use GroupMap for each breakout group to capture their ideas which can then be shared back with everyone during plenary. It’s a great way of making sure each group has its own space to think, but then have a quick and easy way for all the ideas to be shared and discussed.

For example, we have created a map for each Breakout room and provided the links to each team for their activity.

 

Breakout Rooms GroupMap and Zoon

Decide on the break out room activity

What is the actual activity you want participants to do? Do you simply want them to share and capture ideas, come up with a plan or perhaps a round robin discussion in a world cafe format style.  Depending on the activity, you can then choose HOW you want people to interact during break outs.

e.g.

  • “I want to create a separate activity or discussion map for each group”
  • “I have a series of activities for each group to work through with a facilitator”
  • “I want to have an open space where people can move in and out of various activities.”

Based on this, you can then set up your maps and workspaces accordingly and add instructions so that participants know what they should do when they first join the room and activity. 

With GroupMap you can either duplicate the same activity for all groups which can then be discussed per group, or into a single map for further discussion or action. You can also decide if you want groups to see ideas from others or just to have it to themselves for now.

Inviting people into Zoom or GroupMap

 
Assuming you have created your Zoom breakout rooms, you can either pre-assign people to each room, allow them to self select or allocate names to each break out room separately.
 
If you want separate activities for each group, then you have to share the link with the group chat or share with a designated facilitator. At this point, Zoom does not yet have the feature to allow you to add resources beforehand to each breakout group.
 

If you have a series of activities for each group, then share the workspace link.

GroupMap and Zoom Tip
Add GroupMap link to Zoom Chat or Invite

Each GroupMap or Workspace has a link which can be shared in the chat window in Zoom. This is useful if you don’t know who will be attending that day or you’ve created a new map. 

You can use the same link in your calendar or meeting invites. At this time, Zoom does not have the function to have preset links for each breakout room.

If you know who is coming, you can send them an email beforehand.

People can be invited as viewers, contributors or facilitators.

adding zoom link to GroupMap
Add your Zoom Link to GroupMap
You can also add a Zoom link to your GroupMap.
People can join a map, read the introduction (Or in this case check out the bar) and then click on the Zoom invite to join the conversation.

Provide clear instructions for participants in the breakout rooms

It’s common that when we enter a different room or space that we need a little help remembering what needs to be done in our small groups. A few simple instructions for each breakout room will help remind people what they are there to do. 

Here’s an example of a quick instruction in GroupMap for Brainstorm but you can add instructions for each step.  E.g. Vote for the most value added, the ones that you think are most important or, the ones that you think are most creative.

Breakout Group instructions

Facilitating remote breakout sessions at meetings

 

There’s a couple of nifty features in GroupMap that will help your facilitators manage each break out group. This allows each small group facilitator to set timers and move everyone to the same page when doing the activity.

 

Use the Timer to keep conversation flowing.

Zoom uses a session timer to help manage time as well as the bringing everyone back to the main group page. However, you can also set additional timers for each stage to help time box activities.

Move all participants to step

 

Move everyone to a specific step in a map

This is handy for bringing everyone in the workspace to the same map so that you are literally on the same page.

If you have several groups with different facilitators, then keep the maps separate so that they can self manage.

 

Screen Share the results.

Move from group to group and screen share the maps on Zoom to allow people to speak from each group. Enabling screen sharing on Zoom allows a spokesperson from each group to speak up, or you can take the lead and share you screen with everyone.

You can also lock the map to prevent further changes or click on ideas to add additional comments and insights.

Other handy tips for facilitating remote team meetings

  • If you don’t know when people will join your session, add links to your Zoom Background or at the footer of your presentation so they can join your map at any time.

  • Use a “Lights Out” technique when it comes time to individual brainstorming and thinking. This means cameras and mics off so that people can focus on their own thoughts and come up with their own ideas during the break out room.

  • Add movement to your meeting. Just like in real life, use the time that people would get up and move to a breakout room as a time for people to stand up, walk around and then move into the break out room.

  • If you want to prevent further changes to the map, you can always lock a step, or lock the whole map.

  • Manage the ratio between facilitators and participants. A good rule of thumb is 1 facilitator to 7 participants for a 30 minute session.

  • If you are looking for ways to allocate people to different rooms, can add topics to a map and have people add their name near each topic. They can then simply move to the relevant room, or you can allocate them.

A map is the specific activity that you want each group in the break out to do. A workspace is a collection of map activities that they can do in succession. You can create a set of activities for each group and use one link and have participants navigate through each map one at a time in a single workspace. Otherwise, you can use individual maps if it is just a single activity.

Yes, you sure can. Just right click on the map or workspace on your home page and you can replicate the map or workspace or save a map as template. 

We use minimal websockets and also don’t transfer large amounts of video and audio so our requirements are pretty low in terms of what is needed for a compatible device and bandwidth capability.

There are no specific Zoom integrations at this point.

Depending on the number of facilitators and participants, an event licence fee for 1 month starts at $60USD.  Please contact us at info@groupmap.com for more information and to get a quote.

Absolutely. You can contact our team directly who can provide you with general advice at info@groupmap.com.

We can also work in partnership with you to directly set up and run your maps on an hourly or full contract purpose.

So whether or not you want to self-service or full service, we can help. You can also check out our list of certified facilitators who can assist with helping to run your event.

Have more questions or would like a demo?

IAF Facilitator shares workshop and online facilitation techniques for effective brainstorming

One of the major goals of any workshop is effective brainstorming and the equal and free sharing of ideas. With Government Forums and workshops, transparency and being time efficient is also key. In this case study, we look at the facilitation techniques used by IAF Facilitator and Author Paul Nunesdea at a well reputed Government Health Forum.

Event Background 

Since 2008, the  Annual National Forum on Alcohol and Health (locally abbreviated as FNAS) sees members of both the government and non-government sectors workshop issues on alcohol and its impact on public health.

This forum is organized by the General Directorate for Intervention on Addictive Behaviors and Dependencies. (Serviço de Intervenção nos Comportamentos Aditivos e nas Dependências or SICAD). 

(Photo source: https://www.architectingcollaboration.com/the-world-has-changed

 

In May 2019, SICAD invited Paulo Nunes de Abreu (aka Paul Nunesdea) to facilitate the forum’s opening session. We learned how he uses his facilitation leadership style, along with various GroupMap templates to achieve his workshop outcomes.

 

Facilitator Background

Paul is a certified IAF practitioner at Col-Lab, Author of the book series “Architecting Collaboration”, PhD and proud father, manager and organizational psychologist. He obtained his PhD in Group Decision Making from the University of Lancaster. Paul started Col-Lab, the Iberian Summits of Healthcare Leaders in Spain and the Hospital of the Future Forum in Portugal. 

He espouses the power and value of collaboration and teamwork. He devotes his research time into the principles, methods, and techniques that foster them. From the concepts of the facilitative leader to capitalizing on the efficacy of digital facilitation, Paul aims to develop the ideal fit between people and process to create change-making outcomes. 

As Paul explains, “As an IAF (TM) Certified Professional Facilitator, I am aware that every meeting we design is a touchpoint for anyone to experience an engaging moment in their lives with a tangible purpose that you can measure.”

He specializes in digital tools for visual collaboration and group decision-making. Paul has designed interventions to optimize change and innovation in healthcare and education within regional and national governments. Since pioneering GroupVision in the 90’s, he has recently founded Col-Lab (Collaboration Laboratory), where he continues to work with managers, teachers, trainers and facilitators to achieve extraordinary results.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    

Workshop objectives and goals

Paul was approached to do a keynote speech to motivate participants to engage in the overall theme. 

A secondary objective was to help the various FNAS members engage with other participants in their own intervention programs.

“The Deputy Director of SICAD asked us to select a topic,” Paul explains. “ After an intensive brainstorming session using GroupMap, the theme that was chosen by the facilitation team was: ‘How can we make the commercial communication of alcoholic drinks evolve in the sphere of sport?’”

The challenge, as Paul elaborates “  was to have the members of the FNAS, (who) normally work independently, to start work collaboratively among each other. That is to say, to increase the level of collaboration among members; to jointly accomplish their commitments and where their sense of identity of being a member of the FNAS is reinforced.”

 

The Facilitation Process Used

Simplicity was key, as Paul states “We started with the concept that less is more”

“Using blank templates,  we created five maps, one for each session in the Agenda. The first map was used in the opening session, meaning that the delegates had access to all subsequent maps throughout the day”   

Paul continues, “In the opening session, we have followed the 1-2-4-all group dynamic to collect participant’s inputs about the question. These were grouped in 5 categories and then subject to vote for selecting the most important ones.” 

“The ideas were categorized according to the different focal points of the forum: awareness and education, legislation, inspection, decoupling of alcohol from sport, and the evolution of ideas.

Gathering all the ideas and sub-topics would have been cumbersome and time-consuming. But according to Paul, the participants were able to discuss and collect all the ideas in just under 60 minutes. “

“(GroupMap) was a critical element. Not just during the session, but also afterward to produce the detailed session reports at the push of a button.” Paul describes, “We managed to collect ideas from a large group of more than 50 participants that would otherwise be cumbersome and totally impractical in a 60-minute session.”

 

(Photo source: https://www.facebook.com/pg/facilitargrupos/posts/

 

Workshop outputs and participant feedback

Paul shares the overwhelmingly positive reaction that he got from the participants after the session. “(They had a) huge smile on their faces saying, ‘I really enjoy this session’, or ‘I have never been in a meeting like this before’, ‘thank you’,” exclaims Paul. “It is a blessing to receive such comments as it makes us feel that our work as group facilitators is really impactful and makes a contribution to change people’s attitudes and outlook.“

 

(Photo source: http://www.sicad.pt/pt/Paginas/detalhe.aspx?itemId=283&lista=SICAD_NOVIDADES&bkUrl=BK/

Paul uses digital facilitation tool to augment his practice and techniques to bring out the best of both the analog and digital world of workshop facilitation. As Paul states, “I never cease to be surprised by the ease of use of this platform. I believe it helps me to bring tangible value to the customers who hire me.”

 

Further workshop tips and advice

We were curious to understand what tips and learnings Paul had from running the event. One of these was around reflection and closure when it came to digesting the information produced.

“In the debriefing session afterward, the facilitation team realized that we could have used GroupMap to collectively display results to the group and provide a better sense of closure.  A simple way would be to invite the group to read out contributions made. They can then discuss how they felt their voice and comments are reflected in the results to ensure buy-in.”

Paul recommends facilitators familiarize themselves with GroupMap. He believes it is a valuable tool that can help in the flow and success of facilitation activities. As he states” Take the Swiss Army knife approach in choosing the right template to use. It’s like your Swiss Army knife when you go out into the woods. Same with GroupMap templates. Try out different templates to find out what works best for your facilitation activities.”

Thanks to Col-Lab, you can contact them to discover or find out more about the different templates they used for the workshops. You can inquire here

Going beyond the face to face workshop

Another aspect that Paul finds useful with GroupMap is its remote accessibility. He recalls us about another experience where he had to conduct a workshop from a remote location. He was in Lisbon while the group was in Celfocus HQ in Oporto. 

“I remember back in the 90s. I worked with LAN-based group decision support systems. It was so cumbersome to install the system and then have to train participants to use it.  With GroupMap, it’s simple and there’s nothing to install. The facilitator can be remote,” he exclaims.

Paul was an expert speaker at the Remote Future Summit, the biggest virtual conference centered around the future of the remote workforce.

He ran an online workshop titled “What’s Facilitative Leadership and How Remote Work Immensely Benefits for it.” The session was centered around the concepts of the facilitative leader and how it requires a change to promote teamwork and group decision making.

Source: https://www.architectingcollaboration.com/on-being-a-facilitator-vs-being-a-facilitative-leader

The online participants completed a Survival On The Moon activity.” Paul explains,” A moon landing chart with 15 items is given to participants to rank in order of what they think is most important. They do this individually first. GroupMap instantly shows the overall group perspective. They  can then debate and discuss to decide on an overall group ranking.” 

“The challenge is not only to stay alive but to listen to every member of the team! Each person talks about their own view and the overall team view. This fosters communication and decision-making skills.” concludes Paul. “We could then debrief the results in real-time to illustrate the outcomes.”

Looking for an event or digital workshop facilitator?

Looking for a better way to facilitate workshops and meetings? Paul can be contacted via Col-Lab website or by e-mail to answer any questions or to elaborate on how he facilitates workshop outcomes.