A facilitator is not the expert for the content of a dialogue. The experts are the client and the participants. Nevertheless, it’s really frustrating when a facilitator has a lack of knowledge of the subject under discussion. I’ve therefore always made an effort to burrow into the issues I’m designing dialogue for. It’s particularly important to know the following 3 aspects of a topic:
- Who’s involved in the issue (stakeholders) and what are they saying?
- What are the main conflicts and agreements?
- What is the context (time, space, system)?
I would never dream of presenting myself as a “think-tank” for the issues my clients/participants want to change. I’m a think-tank for facilitation and dialogue processes. If I were to think I know all there is to say about a topic I’m facilitating, there’s no point in taking on the job: my client/participants would notice and reject the process. And it’d be such a waste: there’s so much knowledge, experience out there and so many people with so much more to say about an issue affecting them than me! And above all, my curiosity in hearing what people think and my excitement about seeing what they do to solve their own issues, requires me to ask the questions and have others providing the expertise.
The following are some of the issues/topics I feel very much at home in facilitating. I know quite a lot about the stakeholders and what they’re saying, I’m aware of consensus and disagreement and have a good idea of the context. I’m also keen on learning and know how to pose the right questions and do the right research to get “into” new topics and issues as a facilitator.
- Strategy implementation
- HR solutions and employee participation
- Team building
- Conflict resolution
- SME development
- Stakeholder and citizen participation
- Climate change/energy
- Bioethics/genetic engineering/brain science
- Social entrepreneurship
- Science communication
- Human Trafficking
- Violence against women