New post on facilitating collective change

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Will Allen

Jul 28, 2023, 4:00:51 AM7/28/23
to Adaptive Development | #AdaptDev

Dear colleagues,

I've recently added a new article to my website, Learning for Sustainability. This piece underscores the crucial role of facilitation in supporting collective efforts to address complex, multi-stakeholder issues such as watershed management, biodiversity, and climate change.

The posting, "Empowering Sustainable Transformations: The Art of Facilitating Collective Change," explores the often-underappreciated role of facilitation in driving change. In a world where just and sustainable transformations are increasingly sought after, the ability to facilitate collaborative change is becoming ever more vital.

This post delves into five key dimensions of facilitation: goals, context, relationships, process, and content. By achieving a balance among these dimensions, groups, communities, and organizations are more likely to discover sustainable—and regenerative—solutions. The article not only offers some thought-provoking ideas but also includes indicative questions and reflections to help a group evaluate its progress. Effective facilitation involves addressing all areas, not just one or two. However, after evaluating each area based on your unique circumstances, you can concentrate your facilitation efforts on those areas that require the most support.

The post also highlights the array of skills, tasks, and techniques that enable us to implement facilitation in practice. These range from ensuring a single meeting runs smoothly to supporting a multi-stakeholder collaborative initiative over an extended period. It emphasizes the importance of skills such as critical thinking and problem-solving in these settings, which are essential for the systemic transformation that so many sectors require. Additionally, the post - - provides tips and insights for managing multi-stakeholder processes, aimed at assisting you in designing socially and environmentally sustainable, equitable, and inclusive collaborative initiatives.

I hope you find this article insightful and beneficial in your work. I welcome your thoughts and feedback.

Best regards,

Dr. Will Allen
   Learning for Sustainability - 
    - an online guide to resources on engagement, co-design & adaptation
Ōtautahi Christchurch, Aotearoa New Zealand

Florencia Guerzovich

Jul 28, 2023, 9:03:04 AM7/28/23
to, Adaptive Development | #AdaptDev
Hi all, 

Piggybacking on Will's post here to connect to a blog post series that I'm writing on practical, emergent how to connect and operationalize  the new OECD-DAC evaluation criteria to interest in systems change and adaptive work. 

Towards the end of the  first post I write the following: "Proactively facilitating good enough, still power-aware agreements is of the essence - and requires a skill set, political economy analysis and realistic expectations that should be valued."

A preview of what is coming up in the next posts of the series talking about what the Skoll Foundation calls orchestrators - language I’ve used in my work with Pact and the Open Society Foundations.   The Bridgespan Group calls them catalysts, and the Wenger-Trayners call them systems conveners - language that resonates better in my conversations with social accountability practitioners at PSAM and beyond and there are those who prefer talking about gardeners.

Hopefully, if I can carve the time to write more, I'll share a rubric developed to MEL adaptively, which has been extremely useful to surface how actors manage this critical role towards supporting stronger collaboration and systems.

Some of my MEL work also suggests that it can help us learn and be smarter in managing adaptively to certain organizations and certain actors within organizations feel more comfortable with the different labels, in general, or in particular roles/moments in time. No one size/label fits all, all the time.


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Jindra Cekan

Aug 11, 2023, 2:34:11 PM8/11/23
to, Adaptive Development | #AdaptDev,, Rituu B. Nanda
Dear Will, thanks, excited to learn about your website and work.  I've found that when we are catalytic drivers for locally-led development, things are more sustained...
Maybe you and Florencia and others might find this interesting - we can design, implement, M&E for sustainability well before doing an ex-post. Draws on over a decade of research. The chapter in which these checklists feature is forthcoming.
I am also ccing Rituu Nanda who has been facilitating such change towards locally determined and driven sustainability for some time.
Warmly, jindra

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