Process literacy 101

Day and time: Monday 25 May, 10.30-12.00.
Space: TBD
Convener(s): Lucie Lamoureux
Process coach: Pete Cranston, Ewen Le Borgne

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Outline of the session

This process-rich world we are describing needs some basic (and advanced) understanding of the value of processes, of process-focused work and of how to do it. In other words it requires for people to be 'process-literate'. This session will give some straight experiences to boost anyone's process literacy...

Purpose: Why is this topic important to you and us as a community? >> Because it is the focus of this entire share fair and it revolves around the central concern that we (development actors, and everyone actually) tend to be rather rudimentary at our understanding and appreciation for process thinking. If we understood, appreciated, and practiced that process thinking more we would be in a position to have much more influence on the outcomes of our activities and to actually pay attention to the factors of change.
Objectives/Products: What are the outputs and how will we know we've achieved them? >> A clear understanding of what process literacy means at individual, team, organisational level, and some guidance for how to get better at this generally + perhaps some next steps to work further on this (e.g. a conversation on KM4Dev, a blog post, an article in the KM4D journal, an exploration of who does some work on this etc.).

Detailed session outline:

  • Bingo of process (il)literacy: find people who has experienced some of these situations and talk about them. Get them to put their initials in the box. Find as may as you can in the next 15 minutes (yell Bingo! if you have them all

  • Fishbowl/Celebrity interview mash-up: start with Ewen and myself (interviewer) in circle, two empty chairs. "You wrote a blog post called Process 101... what do you think process literacy is? Why do you think it impacts us and our work? What is currently missing for us to understand / appreciate / get better at process literacy?" The notions of being oblivious vs being mindful. Importance of personal behaviour for change. (25 minutes)

  • 3 parallel groups using Appreciative interviews (30 minutes). Tell a story about a great/inspiring/effective/successful...
  1. Regular team meeting
  2. Large conference or event
  3. Longer, ongoing stakeholder engagement process
    • In pairs, participants take turns conducting an interview and telling a story, paying attention to what made it great/inspiring/effective/successful (5 minutes total).
    • In the parallel groups, each person retells their story. Ask participants to listen for patterns in conditions/assets supporting success and to make note of them (20 minutes).
    • Collect insights and patterns for the whole group to see on a flip chart (5 minutes)

  • Reflection: "How are we investing in the conditions that foster process literacy?” and “What opportunities do you see to do more, either at a personal level or at an organizational level?” Use 1-2-4-All to discuss the questions (20 minutes).

Background reading on this?
Various posts on 'From Poverty to Power' blog.
'Process literacy 101'

Notes from session: sharing process stories

  • Have peers ask questions and help each other - acknowledge competence
  • In Partnership meetings - communicate who you are but then let them talk and listen (stop, breathe, listen)
  • Having people from different backgrounds, if possible - interdisciplinary, open things up (e.g. get an artist as a guest speaker)
  • Going away from a problem - try something completely different
  • Making people comfortable: e.g. let them speak in their own language, add fun/roleplay, drame, drawing, poetry
  • Being a participant instead of a presenter, e.g. start with people in the back of the room
  • Asked to organize a workshop, needed to learn about facilitation - took the plunge and did it
  • Engage people in adance, share agenda, even get feedback into choosing venue
  • Seminar sessions: one organized on KM had a PowerPoint with photos, cartoons, graphics and was very short. Then discussed cases
  • No agenda, no presentations - just tables, one-to-one basis - listen
  • WHat are the strengths and weaknesses - training
  • Pick the right people - positive, lively people
  • Engage one-to-one, then re-pitch
  • Breakfast meetings - scientists, what are the key messages
  • Worked together, then after-action review
  • PKM - process literacy
  • Purpose: what do you want to achieve? Targetted messages
  • Big conference - also Share Fair
  • Storytelling
  • Online meetings