Facilitate workshops - become a design thinking coach
source: Andre Stern
Design and business challenges increasingly need to be approached in a more integrated manner. Workshop moderation is an evolving opportunity for designers who want to work on a more strategic level. To set up a workshop, to design agendas and activities, to facilitate a diverse group and to create effective solutions needs strong communication skills and quiet a bit of psychological insights.
The challenges in facilitation start with the brief, often with the question of whether problem space and solution space are really open and e.g. Design Thinking is the right approach, followed by the question who can/ should be on the team. Investing in briefing and clear communication of project parameters, before the project gets to the starting line, is always a good idea.
Besides knowing the process, tools and methods, coaches need resources, strategies and insights to guide people effectively through a collaborative process. A good coach needs to enable and empower participants to take responsibility for their outcomes. It is crucial to understand underlying group dynamics, bring everybody to the same page, develop trust and empathy within a team, guide the team through difficult phases of frustration and the feeling of getting lost. Every team hereby has to go through four stages (according to Tuckman's model of team development and behaviour, Dr. Bruce Tuckman 1965). Team members that are aware of what stage they are currently in and what the group's particular dynamics are, have a better chance of collaborating successfully.
- forming (team is dependent on coach)
- storming (coach mediates and focuses)
- norming (coach facilitates)
- performing (coach delegates)
A design background combined with strong communication skills prepares well for a deeper dive into moderation. Designers bring knowledge and design methods to the process, and ideally spark the 'creative confidence' of the (hopefully T-shaped) group members.