Involvement of employees and stakeholders is part of the essence of systemic organizational development. With large-group facilitation, large groups of up to 2,000 people can be utilised as valuable knowledge resources, involved in strategy or change processes, and encouraged to take joint action. With the involvement of the relevant stakeholder groups,
- strategies are designed,
- action plans forged,
- future visions devised,
- processes and interfacesdefined,
- teams developed,
- projects set up, followed up or evaluated
- and the quality of cooperation generally improved step by step.
Large-group events are therefore an indispensable element of organizational development and discursive consultation processes. We work with different large-group procedures and advise you which format achieves which effects and is best suited to your project.
As far as complex challenges are concerned, we also design events around your individual requirements and integrate proven elements from effective processes to achieve targeted sustainable development.
In this article, we outline a selection of well-proven large-group methods whose profound effects will manifest themselves in your organization, highlight differences and similarities as well as some proven attitudes, and give you a number of hands-on tips.
Future Search – Future Conference
- leads heterogeneous groups in a proven sequence of steps to develop action plans, strategies and a stable common foundation for future cooperation
- creates an awareness of the common ground, takes a look at the challenges of the future (analysis of business environment) and develops a platform of shared values and action planning
- proven in strategy development, development of visions and future plans as well as in team development.
Our track record
|||UNTRANSLATED_CONTENT_START|||Das von Sandra Janoff und Marvin Weisboard entwickelte Format haben wir schon in den unterschiedlichen Kontexten erfolgreich eingesetzt, z.B. im Rahmen von Strategieentwicklung, Bürgerbeteiligung oder in äußerst komplexen Situationen, in denen kaum noch jemand an eine gemeinsame Lösung glaubte.|||UNTRANSLATED_CONTENT_END||| However, the format is quite time consuming and takes 16 hours to complete, spread over two, ideally three, days.
- Bring groups of all sizes together to discuss selected questions of interest
- Uses people’s inclination to hold intensive discussions “in a café atmosphere”, but reliably provides excellent results
- An uncomplicated, time-saving and efficient method, even where time is limited
- Suitable for drawing up action plans and strategies
- Ensures that many people produce useful results relating to specific questions within a very short time
- Generates resonance and gives feedback on keynote lectures or decisions taken by management
Our track record
We have already facilitated more than 100 World Café events. The method truly works in all contexts, cultures and on all hierarchical levels. However, the questions do have to be well phrased and to the point. We will gladly assist you in working out relevant questions.
- The participants gather under a common heading
- The participants themselves raise the issues that are of most concern regarding the common topic
- In small groups the issues are dealt with and further topics are identified, which are adressed within the framework of the Open Space. The results of the group work are then fed back to the plenum.
- As a result of the discussions, projects are identified and an action plan is drawn up.
- Ensures that the really important issues are dealt with and allows participants to take ownership of those issues
- Uses the potential of the entire “system”
- Suitable for dealing with many detailed questions, leaves participants space for topics that are of real concern to them, delivers usable results and joint action planning
Our track record
We have facilitated Open Space events with as many as 870 people. Even larger numbers of participants can be accommodated. However, in addition to methodological competence, you need an experienced team and logistical reliability concerning planning and implementation. Talk to us in a free initial consultation and ask about our well-proven concept.
Real Time Strategic Change (RTSC)
- Particularly suitable for refining strategies and implementation plans and putting them into practice
- Whenever rough concepts are already available and employees or middle management are to be involved in the implementation
- Participants often work in their “own groups” (i.e. with colleagues with a similar function) to “ break down” the rough concepts to fit their own area of responsibility
- Very flexible and effective format: RTSC consists of a comprehensive “method tool kit”. Depending on the objective, different building blocks can be combined in such a way that the goals of the large-group conference are achieved.
Our track record
The flexibility of the method is its great strength: we use the components of the RTSC “method tool kit” in a large variety of contexts, and they can also be used beyond classic RTSC conferences. The original format provides for a conference duration of 2 days. We have very successfully implemented shorter strategy and large Change groups in the RTSC format.
Preparation of large-group facilitations
All large-group methods should be preceded by a detailed preparation process. This ensures that those topics that are really important to the participants can be dealt with during the event.
The preparatory process should involve representatives of all major stakeholder groups. Only in this way can the concerns that are relevant to the groups of participants already be taken into account in the “heading” and in the pre-event communication leading up to the event. A successful preparatory process significantly increases the likelihood that the quality of the outcome of the event will meet expectations (or in most cases even exceed them a little).
Our track record
During a preparatory workshop of 2.5 hours, we will establish a common understanding of the contents of the planned large-group event together with you and representatives of the main stakeholder groups. This generates
- motivation already in the lead-up
- for actionable results obtained during the event
- and for increased implementation speed thereafter.
Further links for the preparation of large-group events
Basic principles of large-group facilitation
Despite the differences, the large-group methods described above have a lot in common. Thus, all formats progress through the following four basic steps:
- The facilitators are responsible for the overall process, not for the result.
However, thanks to thorough preparation in conjunction with the client, we ensure that the result does not fall short of expectations (but usually exceeds them).
- The method is only a means to an end.
There are effective, proven formats – but we will adapt them if we believe that this will make the goal even more achievable.
- Unpredictable things will always happen – everything depends on how you deal with them.
Practice makes perfect: experience in dealing with large numbers of participants and the dynamics in complex scenarios is acquired only when working at a practical level. In us you will find an experienced sparring partner.
Tips for implementation
- Only try control what you realistically can.
Thorough preparation is the key to success. We will assist you in this.
- As regards the rest – make sure to provide a reliable framework!
All of the different perspectives of the participants should be included in the preparatory process. In this way, you will protect yourself and the participants from unpleasant “surprises” during the event itself. Depending on the number of participants, an experienced team of helpers is needed on site. Upon request, we offer all the services of a “comprehensive service conference organiser” including a production office.
- Brief all participants in detail.
Whether at board, technology or participant management level – there are many potential “sources of error”. We are aware of (and avoid) them all.
Combination of several elements (video)
Is it possible to combine or adapt the various formats?
Yes, that is possible.
Here is an example of such a “bespoke design”: In this video we describe such a format.
In this example, we worked on the topic of cultural change in a large-group event with 230 executives in Switzerland. This specially designed format was re-assembled from elements of the World Café, Open Space and RTSC and an original creation by initio Consulting.
-> Our range of services in large-group facilitation
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