This page is about the design principles of the share fair, based on various conversations held between Nancy White, Lucie Lamoureux, Fisher S Qua, Peter Ballantyne and Ewen Le Borgne,


DESIGN Principles (for more see__Design Elements__)
MUST Do:
  • Make the mechanism(s) that generate progress visible, understandable and repeatable
  • Make conventional approaches so unappealing that participants stop using them (i.e. death by powerpoint) ELB: actually it would be great if someone could train others at developing listening-focused kick ass PPTs though
  • Provide opportunities to practice in-the-moment and learn by failing forward (failure bows!)
  • Continuously draw attention to the results
  • Draw out the principles (the state of mind) that matter to get engaged in those processes (eg. Embracing confusion, seeing conflict as a generative opportunity etc.)

MUST NOT Do:
  • Rely on any conventional structures ourselves
  • Treat any of the practices as expert-driven
  • Be shy of the fact that more participatory and engaging approaches can initially feel lurching and increase uncertainty


Planning Roles
  • Design team for addressing what we’re working on here + figuring out how to organize the sequence of time, space and any__Min Specs__ on the invitation contributors might make to offering a practice at the fair.


Event Roles:
  • Everyone needs a role
  • Designated ethnographers observing, noticing and documenting the groups dynamics.
  • Field guides drawing attention to the principles and flow of time
  • Reflectors
  • Synthesizers (perhaps around the list of topics in the background) to help the learning group individually and collectively make sense of what is happening and how to practically apply any given structure/practice to a challenge at hand
  • We may also need people reflecting/synthesizing at different levels (what this means for individuals, teams, organizations, systems…)


Practices/Products:
  • 2 Day learning-in-practice immersion that provides participants with a diverse repertoire of ways to move forward toward productive endpoints on complex challenges.
  • Do we want to bring any Liberating Structure books in case people are interested to buy? ELB: sure why not. It would be great to have a list PDF great references around the stuff we're talking about actually


Watering Holes
  • 30 minute design sessions, 60-90 minute participatory content
Caves
  • Opportunities for reflection and sensemaking (individual)
Campfires
  • Social story sharing, connecting and sensemaking (collective)



Agenda Item
Goal
Method
Why this method?
Question(s)
Timing, Material & Facilitator
Welcome
Rapidly connect participants
Impromptu Networking
or Mad Tea Party
Fast cycles build clarity and loosely connect people towards a shared purpose
What do you hope to give to and get from this event?

Mad tea sequence (TBD)
3 rounds x 4 mins

Total time = 15 mins







































Engage towards real results
Individuals and organizations are seeking ways to work constructively in complex, multi stakeholder environments. “Informing” is rarely enough. We need to engage everyone involved,to liberate their knowledge and participation, to go into a deeper mode of thinking. We need easy to share ways of relating and solving or approaching/understanding challenging, complex problems.


Whether it is developing new project proposals, engaging policy makers around data for decision and policymaking, learning new ways to do things, the key is to have a repertoire that authentically engages. Not just “tick the box” for the appearance of consultation or participation.


Join us for a “Process Arts” Sharefair where up to 80 of us will share our most useful practices for facilitating practical, authentic, full engagement for participatory processes. We will use some of those processes for the event, and invite everyone to share their practices.


What it is/What can it offer us (What real problems does this help us solve?)
  • Bigger picture stuff: Ag Knowledge / Innovation?
  • Approaches for genuine consultative processes
  • Ways to make meetings, from the every day to the big and important more effective, enjoyable and productive
  • Practices that bring visual elements into group process which are useful for meaning making, particularly across diverse participants
  • How do we wean ourselves away from conventional ways of working together that inadvertently sustain over-controlling or over-helping patterns (e.g., presentations, facilitated discussions, updates, open discussions, and brainstorming sessions).
  • How do we solve a single chronic challenge in a way that forever changes the way we address all future challenges?
  • LL: A thought - could we ask people to come with a real-life case of collaboration, partnership, meeting, etc., something concrete to work on?
  • LL: another thought, referring to the Big Picture mentioned earlier. Doing some strategy work with WLE/IWMI on KM I realized how many tensions there were between KMC work and researchers. I know this event focuses on the change agents/transformers but I was wondering if there shouldn’t also be discussion or thinking around a more strategic approach to process, learning different process approaches but also thinking through when and how they are most effective, given the environment (perhaps this was already mentioned, or nixed, in your original call)






DESIGN Principles (for more see__Design Elements__)

MUST Do:
  • Make the mechanism(s) that generate progress visible, understandable and repeatable
  • Make conventional approaches so unappealing that participants stop using them (i.e. death by powerpoint) ELB: actually it would be great if someone could train others at developing listening-focused kick ass PPTs though
  • Provide opportunities to practice in-the-moment and learn by failing forward (failure bows!)
  • Continuously draw attention to the results
  • Draw out the principles (the state of mind) that matter to get engaged in those processes (eg. Embracing confusion, seeing conflict as a generative opportunity etc.)

MUST NOT Do:
  • Rely on any conventional structures ourselves
  • Treat any of the practices as expert-driven
  • Be shy of the fact that more participatory and engaging approaches can initially feel lurching and increase uncertainty

Planning Roles:
  • Design team for addressing what we’re working on here + figuring out how to organize the sequence of time, space and any__Min Specs__ on the invitation contributors might make to offering a practice at the fair.


Event Roles:
  • Everyone needs a role
  • Designated ethnographers observing, noticing and documenting the groups dynamics.
  • Field guides drawing attention to the principles and flow of time
  • Reflectors
  • Synthesizers (perhaps around the list of topics in the background) to help the learning group individually and collectively make sense of what is happening and how to practically apply any given structure/practice to a challenge at hand
  • We may also need people reflecting/synthesizing at different levels (what this means for individuals, teams, organizations, systems…)


Practices/Products:
  • 2 Day learning-in-practice immersion that provides participants with a diverse repertoire of ways to move forward toward productive endpoints on complex challenges.
  • Do we want to bring any Liberating Structure books in case people are interested to buy? ELB: sure why not. It would be great to have a list PDF great references around the stuff we're talking about actually


Engage towards real results
Individuals and organizations are seeking ways to work constructively in complex, multi stakeholder environments. “Informing” is rarely enough. We need to engage everyone involved,to liberate their knowledge and participation, to go into a deeper mode of thinking. We need easy to share ways of relating and solving or approaching/understanding challenging, complex problems.


Whether it is developing new project proposals, engaging policy makers around data for decision and policymaking, learning new ways to do things, the key is to have a repertoire that authentically engages. Not just “tick the box” for the appearance of consultation or participation.


Join us for a “Process Arts” Sharefair where up to 80 of us will share our most useful practices for facilitating practical, authentic, full engagement for participatory processes. We will use some of those processes for the event, and invite everyone to share their practices.


What it is/What can it offer us (What real problems does this help us solve?)
  • Bigger picture stuff: Ag Knowledge / Innovation?
  • Approaches for genuine consultative processes
  • Ways to make meetings, from the every day to the big and important more effective, enjoyable and productive
  • Practices that bring visual elements into group process which are useful for meaning making, particularly across diverse participants
  • How do we wean ourselves away from conventional ways of working together that inadvertently sustain over-controlling or over-helping patterns (e.g., presentations, facilitated discussions, updates, open discussions, and brainstorming sessions).
  • How do we solve a single chronic challenge in a way that forever changes the way we address all future challenges?
  • LL: A thought - could we ask people to come with a real-life case of collaboration, partnership, meeting, etc., something concrete to work on?
  • LL: another thought, referring to the Big Picture mentioned earlier. Doing some strategy work with WLE/IWMI on KM I realized how many tensions there were between KMC work and researchers. I know this event focuses on the change agents/transformers but I was wondering if there shouldn’t also be discussion or thinking around a more strategic approach to process, learning different process approaches but also thinking through when and how they are most effective, given the environment (perhaps this was already mentioned, or nixed, in your original call)

After Action Review

Carl:
  • The awesomeness I found in the process was having shared facilitation cook book (LS) across all the coaches and conveners. Although we didn't have to stick to the recipes, I saw that the common language and similar intentions this promoted in the run up to the event helped greatly with facilitation communication during the event. I think without out that it would have been a lot harder to run such a packed and multi-actor event. We intended to use LS in that flexible way and I think how we managed to do so was by all giving it our support (including those who'd not got the experience to know whether or not it would help).
  • The process bird that didn't fly for me was the plenary syntheses. I think we hoped these would harvest ideas in an additive way so that by the time we got to the final plenary we'd have an emerging consensus. In practice I think in the last plenary we got a lot of individual points from sessions with quite a lot of bias towards the last day. I think the reason this didn't work as intended was that the preceding plenaries were too short. That's not to say the final plenary wasn't a success in its own right, as I think it was really good.
  • To fail forward better / more avidly I think we could in future highlight the 3 laws of open space more clearly. One was mentioned (2 feet), but with more emphasis I think participants and conveners would have been more energetic and so push things to fail more rapidly
  • What was missing, and mentioned to me a couple of times, was a participant photo sheet that would have enabled more rapid / broader networking. We could have pulled most photos off LinkedIn. Who was missing were national non-CGIAR process facilitators. It would have been good to have some CSO / consultant practitioners there too. I don't know if there were invited and didn't turn up.
Lucie
What was awesome
  • Wonderful co-process conveners
  • Enthusiastic participants stepping-up to try new things
  • Learning new processes and a couple of good "aha" moments
  • The dance party! :-)
What didn’t fly
  • I had difficulty combining the WLE work and the AgShare Fair and felt a pull a couple of times where I wished I could have participated more in the Share Fair prep. WLE participants also complained about feeling disjointed, going back and forth between the two events. It might have been better to keep the WLE folks around an extra day to do the planning. Maybe start with the writeshop, then Share Fair, then CRP planning for 2 days straight (although this may not have been possible for one reason or another)?
  • I agree with Carl about the plenary synthesis but I also think we tried to stuff too much within the 2 days; starting on time is almost impossible, days stretched and people got tired. Maybe we should have made sessions 75 min max instead of 90.
How can we fail forward better and more avidly?
  • I wasn't in the first of the mixed online/face-to-face sessions but I heard it had some technical difficulties. Sadly, the Virtual Teams session didn't work face-to-face due to lack of participation which is a shame, as it worked really well online. Despite the semi-fails, we should continue to try these experiments, armed with Pier's good lessons (http://www.euforicservices.com/2015/05/blending-online-and-offline-meetings-5_29.html)
What and who was missing?
  • Nancy! Pier!
  • Scientists, of course ;-)
Pete
Awesome (or at least fair to middling, I am British after all)

  • mix of people, both different CG connections and some outsiders
  • generally enthusiastic support for experimenting online (and even the one that was grumpy during wrote a positive blog! http://bit.ly/1G1zrR5)
  • doing LS with an insider, and I like Car’s point about having common starting point and language
  • modelling flexibility and responsiveness to the changes in mood and interests

Failed to fly

  • agree with Lucie on timing and I think that was exacerbated by having people there for more than one agenda, indeed, by Day Two it was the non-SF agendas that were prioritised over the SF ones, in both attendance and continuous engagement
  • our own planning, certainly the in-meeting planning meetings about Day Two. I think we agreed that one of the problems was that we didn’t get firm consensus/agreement on common objectives, which meant we trudged around some of the discussions without a reference point. It also meant we fell back a bit on using LS as the default rather than choosing methods that suited our purpose
  • I think we needed a more explicit content theme, with it’s own questions, around which we could have more naturally folded LS and other methods. Doing process about process sort of worked - damn it, we made it work, with our enthusiasm and energy - but it was a bit artificial and contributed to the unsatisfactory outputs from the final synthesis

Falling forward

  • Agree with Lucie on scheduling of meetings
  • Agree our own principles of engagement as facilitators/organising group before we meet, trying to pre-empt tired end-of-day meetings
  • More visible final programme somewhere so I don’t forget key bits

Missing:

  • agree with Carl and Lucie, but also more people from the Addis KM crowd would have leavened the mix a bit, I think (though I know about your concerns over numbers)

Nancy
Awesome:
  • virtual efforts - fearless, especially Pete's ambitions!
  • PierAndrea as a wonderful grounding anchor to our bobbing ship at sea
  • cofacilitation
Learnings (vs didn't fly because my participation was too limited tho it FELT like the F2F part of the Virteams was a fail - I was really surprised how few people were there, the cost of the side meetings I presume!)
  1. I have to write these up more clearly, but for virtual co facilitation is the magic sauce
  2. Clear intentions and purpose for blended sessions so that beyond the great learning goal of "figuring this shit out" we also develop good ways to discern what adds value, when, and at what cost. I think this is NOT an on/off switch sort of thing
  3. More caffeine earlier ...
Failing forward

Keep experimenting!

Reflect and share the lessons

Make these things happen more often!

Fisher
What was awesome?
  • Watching as content conveners tried on new processes and improvised their way through in-the-moment challenges
  • Watching Petra, Tsehay et al fearlessly facilitate new-to-them structures and sessions with playfulness and precision
  • Getting to actually participate in many lively interactions with lots of laughter, curiosity and serious purpose
What didn’t fly
  • I agree that the shared sensemaking sessions didn't work (particularly the closing). I think I was focused on putting an exclamation point on the synthesis, on arriving at some consensus insights, on a need to visibly validate the value of the Share Fair. It's a horse I too frequently fall off of, but am not sure what to replace it with?!
  • We were too loose on timing and reconvening. I didn't anticipate or prepare for the intensity of the social connectedness of the group and what appears to be too infrequent opportunities to get together 'with your people'. This created many small gravitational centers outside of the main sessions and dissipated the social density of what we'd designed. Not using sound amplification or other audible mechanisms for calling back the crowd didn't help matters.
  • Process for Process sessions <-- Agree with Pete on needing a more focused content theme. In hindsight, shifting the process debriefs into the content sessions might have proven more engaging and effective.
How can we fail forward better and more avidly?
  • More opportunities to experiment! It's a shame that these kinds of gatherings come at such great cost and such distant intervals.
What and who was missing?
  • The farmers, plants and livestock!
Out of curiosity, have there been Skill Shares for farmers? Bring them to a fair setting where they are immersed in learning and sharing a variety of skills, tools, techniques and processes? Where they act as peer coaches and can interact informally with scientists/researchers, etc. and the KM folks act as facilitators/conveners?

Ewen
What was awesome:
- Working and being with you all of course ;) and the immersion into Liberating Structures.
- Organising a fair that is dedicated on participatory development processes. I wouldn’t do a ‘process share fair’ again, but I think there are very few events that have paid so much attention to everything ‘process’ and that is really helpful for all involved, despite this titillating our comfort zone of having a clearer (content) theme to relate the event to.
- The ambition to experiment at all levels and particularly with the online work – and great ideas Nancy to think about what works where, not just experimenting for the sake of it.
- The mix of approaches that was used in the end – and special kudos to the M&E team that did sthg really quite different and probably had most fun of all!
- The fact we usually worked in duos/groups for nearly all the sessions, which gave a nice, different energy to it.
- The party!

What didn’t fly (so high):
- As others have said, the last session. It was too much, too fast, not picked together. I felt we left things unfinished as we were in a rush to close. Perhaps 10 extra minutes on the last exercise would have been easier. This ended up being a short exploration, but not a synthesis.
- Definitely agree on the point of not mixing the parallel meetings with the fair – and I would add that having a large majority of CG folks biased the whole fair towards ag research. Next time let’s either do sthg much more about this or with much more balance between CG and other participants.
- The planning of plenaries among us. Perhaps it’d have been easier to just have a couple of us volunteer for each of these to present ideas and work from there rather than discuss this at length all together when indeed we were all tired…
- In some cases we were just not experienced enough with some LS’s to make them fly the way they are intended to be. But this is always easier to reflect on in hindsight.
- Agree on the music/audio cue for bringing people back in. I’d planned to do this but got nearly always carried away by other things to ‘attend to’.
- Perhaps my bias but I miss a bit the documentation of this fair, because there’s lots that can be picked up from these reflections which now are by and large in peoples’ heads.
- Also on a personal basis, having this fair follow 2 intensive other weeks of work(shops) and many preparations going into this + weekend work / little time to rest. I was just exhausted on Tuesday / Wednesday and parts of Thursday…

How can we fail forward better and more avidly?
- Nest the process thinking throughout the content sessions and making this explicit from the start, so we basically any share fair on a specific focus area but make process thinking visible throughout.
- Have a dedicated event DJ for such an event whose job is to play tunes to bring people in or get them out, or energized, or contemplative etc.
- Graphic facilitation and other aspects of what makes a good process in place as part of such events, to go the extra mile.

Who/what was missing?
- More Ethiopian development folks (not for lack of trying though);
- A larger KM4Dev crowd that would have loved this.
- Donors, who need to see how they need to use process in their own programs and strategies.


Summary of the AAR

Awesome:
  • The facilitation team and co-facilitating
  • Mix of people
  • Shared facilitation cookbook and language
  • Keen ambitions among organizers
  • Participants were avid learners
  • Trying new things out, new processes offline and online whether experienced or not etc.
  • Modelling flexibility and responsiveness
  • Laughter, curiosity and serious purpose
  • PierAndrea’s anchoring work
  • The focus on process
  • The party
Didn’t fly / learning:
  • People torn between parallel WLE/CCAFS sessions and the fair (both organisers and participants)
  • Too much in the agenda
  • Sessions were too long – try 75’ instead of 90’ next time?
  • Plenary synthesis: too long, not building on previous (too short?) plenary sessions and people too tired
  • Our own work to get consensus on plenary sessions and focusing on approaches rather than on purpose/objectives
  • A more explicit content theme?
  • Loose timing / reconnecting
  • Missing audio cues to gather people
  • Virtually: co-facilitation
  • Documentation?
How to fail forward better:
  • highlight the 3 laws of open space more clearly
  • Agree our own rules of engagement as co-facilitators before we meet
  • Do more online/offline to learn what works or not
  • More visible final program
  • Keep experimenting, learning, reflecting, have these more often
  • Make the process visible in the future (even for content-focused events)
  • Graphic facilitation
Who/what was missing:
  • Farmers, plants and livestock
  • Non CGIAR process facilitators
  • CSO / consultant practitioners
  • Nancy, Pier and other KM4Devers
  • Scientists
  • Addis KM crowd
  • More Ethiopian global development folks
  • Donors
  • Photos of participants for networking