What is Dynamic Facilitation?
Dynamic Facilitation is a way of facilitating people to address and solve difficult issues, even those that seem impossible to solve. The DF'er helps people address issues they really care about and then helps them to be creative in addressing them. Rather than asking participants to be rational, hold back their emotions, stay on the agenda, abide by guidelines, or follow a step-by-step process, the DF'er encourages people to say what they think. At the same time he or she keeps everyone safe from judgment by reflecting what they are saying and holding a space where all comments fit together. Four basic charts are used: Solutions, Concerns, Data, and Problem-statements. These charts help the DF'er to frame the conversation as a creative quest to solve an issue that people care about. This context allows people to appreciate what they and others are saying.
Using the charts the DF'er establishes a "zone of thinking and talking" that is "choice-creating," where shifts and breakthroughs are normal and where unanimous conclusions emerge. The process relies more on the skills and consciousness of the DF'er than on participant self-management. In this way, ordinary, untrained people can speak their minds and hearts yet shifts and breakthroughs build exceptional group conclusions. Also people come together as “We” and build a shared story of progress.
Sometimes the shifts and breakthroughs take the form of new ideas. Other times they bring a new sense of what the "real problem" is, or a change of heart about other people. At the end of a dynamically facilitated meeting, a fifth chart is used to capture group conclusions, Outcomes, or Choices, or what we call "Of Courses."
Dynamic Facilitation opens the door to a deep change process similar to what often happens in a crisis. In a crisis people often drop their roles and positions, open up and share what they really think, work together in surprising ways, and make progress that would normally be impossible. Also from the crisis, each person is changed. ... Dynamic Facilitation is especially valuable in such difficult settings ... yet it should be used on a regular basis rather than just when facing an impossible-seeming issue. Better is to have a regular DF’ed session, where people face the big issues, speak from the heart and leap ahead.
How is DF unique?
See the chart comparing Dynamic Facilitation to Traditional Facilitation.
Seminars on Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council