So my Objective for this week’s blog is to share with you how facilitation training can enhance your efforts whatever they may be.

Ted in 1985My Reflective observation from this week’s re-immersion into facilitation methods is that refresher courses are good even if you wait 30 years to take them. Yes, that’s my blurry photo from getting “ICA facilitated” in 1985 in my early CANDO days.

My Interpretive analysis is that engagement of communities is key for the cultural paradigm shift required to address climate change. And now the Pope has basically proclaimed: “Lord knows we need to do that asap.”

My Decisional advice is to start your facilitation “non-fossil fuel” engines. Find a certified facilitator and start the conversations, build the consensus, and plan your actions.

I spent two days this week with Dennis Jennings and Judy Weddle, Certified ToP Facilitators [CTF], and twelve trainees from around the country in learning ToP Facilitation Methods. ToP LogoICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP)® facilitation methodology harnesses the energy and wisdom of a group to build consensus and create and implement strategic plans. ToP participatory processes draw upon decades of ICA’s worldwide community development experience.

In this starter course [next to be offered in Chicago at ICA-USA on September 15–16 and November 10-11], three proven ways to activate group participation are covered:

Focused Conversation to provide meaningful dialogue while broadening a group’s perspective and allowing the entire group to participate.
Consensus Workshop to generate creativity in a short amount of time and build practical team consensus.
Action Planning to clarify directions, align resources, and designate responsibilities.

But my week of facilitation was not yet over because the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA) collaborated the next night with the Chicago Chapter of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) IAF Chgo Logoto address the focus question: “What are effective and innovative ways by which the Chicago city government could expand civic engagement in order to improve the quality of city services and programs?”

Chicago’s Mayor Emanuel has designated his Second Term Transition Team to take a fresh look at how City Hall consults residents in developing and implementing policy by examining, among other things:

• The process of regularly consulting communities on developing and implementing new policy proposals and initiatives.
• The process for receiving input from residents on City services and policies.
• Improving the process of regular communication with residents about City services and initiatives.

Facilitated by Jim Troxel, ICA-USA’s Vice-Chair, attendees used the “dot method” to pick six ideas from the group’s brainstorming to launch with mock public service announcements. My suggestion made the proposed list: “One Chicago; One Conversation” to be held monthly at each public library. We’ll see if the Mayor likes it.

So now I’m faced with the challenge that the Coyote only faced once when he finally caught the Roadrunner and held up the sign: “Now what do I do?” I’ll keep you posted.

This week’s U2Cando lyrics were conducted by Dennis Jennings in a sing-along to the tune of Home on the Range:

Oh! Give me a way
To have dialogue all day,
For we need a good way to reflect,
To start with the real,
Then move on to the feel,
And find meaning before we direct.
O-R-I-D is the way,
Objective data gives our senses their say,
Reflection opens the heart,
Interpretation then starts,
And decisions will follow – OK!

The Dialogue Song




  2. Pingback: ENGAGING CITIZENS 40 YEARS AGO | U2Cando

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