Convenor:KERRY NAPUK, OPEN FUTURES, EDINBURGH
Participants:Gail, Sven, Lisa & Bodil
Summary of the meeting:Kerry felt there was a need for more professional development among OST facilitators, learning from each other and celebrating the diversity in approaches and style. If the OST Community is to grow and be sustainable, it needs to learn and adapt and find ways to be more effective for sponsors and participants. In order to do this, facilitators need to work on their art and learn from each other through dialogue. There were schisms in the OST Community, such as orthodoxy vs. revisionism, givens vs. no givens, variations in convergence etc. but these were rarely aired and discussed.
The following points were made by participants:
1. Facilitators need to know the basic skills before improvising.
2. Use of intuition and creativity is critical for successful applications of OST.
3. One facilitator always worked with a partner to create better designs and more effective events, not trusting her own understanding of the organisation. Another always worked with a partner because of the intensity of one day timetables.
4. Forming good questions is very important, especially as it will show who needs to be there (stakeholders) to work on the theme.
5. There are different openings, the traditional way and opening everything inside the circle using flip charts to create the agenda and announcing issues and break out spaces for participants before they leave to work. Another way was to have the convenor post their issue and later ask people to follow them to the space they will work. It did not seem important to have choas as long as their was self organisation around the issue of participants inside or outside the circle.
6. Convergence could be accomplished in many different ways but people loved to use sticky dots and vote preferences. Some use 20 second pitches for each action to attract support, others allow people to gather in different ways behind priorities. Action planning was not possible in events of less than one day, but facilitators could create space for groups to meet to plan later. Key questions are: who wants to work and where? And, who's going to do things NOW?
7. There was lively discussion about givens and no givens, as well as raising expectations. Is it positive to discuss boundaries and no go areas with sponsors or leave all the possibilities open by not discussing any restictions. Should threats be surfaced to be dealt with by sponsors in their opening remarks at an event as a way of manifesting their commitment? Does this discussion result in a better understanding of deeper, real concerns or raise barriers before they should, i.e. should the faciitator let problems emerge during the event?
8. Facilitators should be prepared to say no to sponsors, especially if they knit-pick over price or only want OST because it is cheaper. Most people felt they say no if there is any haggling. How should facilitators price their events? If you use a day rate, one person felt it was best to quote a rate low for corporates and high for voluntary organisations and allocated 5 to 10 days for each one day of facilitation and agree the cost mid way through. Another person quoted only a package rate for planning, facilitating, writing up the outcomes and further implementation work.
7. People felt that more discussion should occur among facilitators about doing things differently to better learn from each other and improve their art.
While bumblebeeing between reports, I arrived here. Nice flower (meeting)! I would like to have been in this session... -- ArturSilva