Suggestions for the Heywire8 Think Tank Agenda and Planning
From my experience in facilitation and organizational development, I think there are several tweaks that can be made to the Heywire8 Think Tank, so that it is (1) open, engaging and inclusive; and (2) increases involvement and ownership; and (3) helps the group move forward in developing a draft action plan that reflects who they are, where they are at and where they want to go….
The Heywire8 Think Tank is all about Open Engagement ~ in that anyone may enter (or leave) this process ~ it is welcome to all.
To get a good sense about what the participants want, I think it would be helpful to have a pre-Think Tank activity ~ as part of the Open Engagement process. This activity involves speaking with each participant prior to the start of the Think Tank start – to gain their thoughts and perspectives, and any feedback regarding the DRAFT Agenda. If there is an emerging consensus (i.e., 2 or 3 people) think / feel something ought to be included or not, then the Agenda should be modified to reflect that. As well, the issues can be ‘parked’ and raised / referred to in the Think Tank.
When Think Tank Begins
Once the Think Tank begins, within the welcome remarks from Otago, there ought to be a brief reporting / reflection on this Open Engagement process already started (helps folks to feel heard and included), and an opportunity to add / modify the Agenda. It is extremely important that this comes from the Otago folks, as it is their process and initiative.)
Regarding COL’s remarks, I think it is important also to focus less on COL’s mission, etc. ~ stuff that’s easily available from the COL website, but some information about ‘How COL can / will support this initiative / the stakeholders’. My sense is that this would be a powerful statement, and a green light for stakeholders to become more deeply involved in a process that is new, exciting yet has some risk. Again, it might make sense to lessen the time COL spends talking about itself, good works, etc., because after all, this is an Otago / NZ OER initiative ~ and they need to be prime front and centre.
Given that there is not a lot of time, I propose working lunches / breaks, which also offer a good time for continuing Q&As.
I think the bulk of the afternoon’s activity (if not all of it) should focus on the development of a DRAFT Action Plan. This is an important signal to the participants to move from the messaging to the actual planning process (while remembering that it is in DRAFT MODE. There may be 10+ iterations before it is finalized). Now remember, we are openly engaging folks, so they can be involved at any point of this process, and well into the future….It’s important to provide a framework, a guide ~ so they can see how they will contribute and/or fit in; what gaps exist; what resources are required; and, where the opportunities are; upside potential, etc.
During the development of the Draft Action Plan, it is also important to ‘check-in’ with the participants – to make sure that they have a relative degree of comfort with what they are suggesting, and if not, what workarounds are possible. Because, after the Think Tank is over, they will go back to their jobs ….and have a requirement to implement / add value to a ‘plan’ that they either feel good about, or less so. Don’t worry so much about whether the plan is ‘complete’…it’s more important that folks actually have this experience of back and forth, give and take, being heard ~ where Open Engagement as a philosophy is mirrored in their experience.
I think the Concluding Remarks also offers an important opportunity to thank the participants; and reflect back on the success or failure of the Think Tank’s Open Engagement process, the learning and the overall experience itself – what it accomplished, what if did not, and how it positions Otago / NZ for a leadership role, model approach, etc.
The Concluding Remarks also represent a significant opportunity to make a statement about how this experience + the Draft Action Plan can kickstart implementation.
Moving to Afternoon Refreshments now becomes a pause in the action, and a cause for celebration! I encourage each participant to reflect on the day’s work and thinking, and consider how far you’ve come…together.
I am sure that the energy and excitement of the days and months ahead will be palpable. I wish I could be there in person, but rest assured I will be available to support this exciting and very worthwhile Think Tank and follow-on initiative in any way that I can.
- Randy Fisher aka Wikirandy
--Randy Fisher 22:10, 10 July 2008 (UTC)