Hi there, thanks for registering your interest for the next Facilitation Jumpstart 🤩
If you’ve made it here, you’re probably here because you are working in remote teams, doing complex things, and you feel like you are missing a trick. If only you could design meetings that led to creativity, alignment and impact.
The trick you are missing? It’s probably facilitation. But whoa that’s a loaded word. It means so many things. It’s also relational which means something that works for one person won’t work for another.
So where to begin?
I can share how I got here over the past 10 years, and over the next weeks and months how I can help you get here too.
For me, it has been a winding path...
I got into this work from my time running a global technology non-profit. In 2010 I was working at a human rights organisation in Egypt, and doing research on the role that Facebook was playing in political organising, when BAM: the uprising started.
I got a lightning fast political education in revolution. I became obsessed with helping the amazing people I knew use technology to make their work more potent.
I founded The Engine Room, and over the next 8 years grew it into a remote, distributed team working across the world to provide hands-on support to civil society and activist organisations. As an executive director, I was focused on creating a healthy work culture for a remote team. I wanted this team to meaningfully collaborate with partners.
This started me on a path to facilitation. I had lots of experience in conversations with no facilitation: bad conferences; bad meetings — I attended and hosted these.
Then I saw how it could be done. I luckily had the experience of working with facilitators and trainers teaching grown adults (and amazing activists) how to incorporate technology into their work. These trainers came from community organising backgrounds, and knew how to shape a space that others could fill with their own ideas and energy.
It looked like magic.
No monologues; no silent participants. Just adults, having great conversations and getting know each other.
I took all this in and started experimenting. I adapted techniques to suit my style. I would tell myself: first develop creative spaces for play and collaboration; next help groups turn talking into traction.
I left The Engine Room in great hands in 2018, and realised that facilitation was the part of leadership I missed the most. I started facilitating for clients in civil society, and then began work with organisations in the private sector and philanthropy.
What did they all have in common?
They wanted to build trust between peers, and unlock the expertise and perspectives in their teams to do really difficult things.
I worked with AI companies looking to make ethical choices about product development; research institutes building multi-year strategies for impact; leadership teams navigating transition; high performing teams connecting at retreats to answer big questions.
- facilitation skills should be everywhere
- I would figure out how to teach them
Now it’s 2022, and here we are 🙂
I moved to Greece when things first got really bad in the UK. I now live in Athens with my partner and toddler.
I am still working with clients around the globe on facilitation challenges, and still nerding-out with friends about sociotechnical issues and remote work.
The main change the past 2 years has been a shift to building courses, and writing more about what I have learned. My goal is to teach teams and facilitators to design great group collaboration so that facilitation is a superpower that’s everywhere.
I’ll keep you updated about the next Facilitation Jumpstart course, and in the mean time I’ll send you some ways of thinking about facilitation so you can make some progress right away.
I’ll leave you with something to think about: