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What Can You Learn from a Card Trick?

Last week we went to a fantastic workshop on gaming given by one of the gurus in this field, Sivasailam “Thiagi” Thiagarajan, whom we have mentioned before in a previous blog post (“Bingo!”) . His website on Improving Performance Playfully, is a wealth of free games, interactive training exercises and ideas for trainers and facilitators. […]

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Experience in a Box?

This week we went to a meeting of a Swiss-based Knowledge Management Community of Practice called “Think Table”. This one-day gathering was packed full of games, experiences, discussions on topics such as storytelling (Story Guide: Building Bridges Using Narrative Techniques” prepared by the Swiss Development Cooperation-their webpage has many other related free documents to download), […]


Giving Feedback That People Can Hear

We have been on the giving and receiving end of feedback recently and that has inspired us to think a bit more about this artful communication process. How can we give feedback that people can actually hear, and even potentially use as a part of their learning process? A couple of questions come to mind […]


Speed Up-Dating: Views from a Guest Blogger

This post was contributed by Caroline, a member of our Learning Team, and today our guest blogger. She writes about a recent strategic planning meeting we held to develop our main programme goals for the next four years. She writes… In the first morning of our 3-day meeting, 25 people gathered for the first time […]

Free Coffee Update: May the Force Be With Us

After a little tangle of events yesterday around our drive to bring back free coffee, the advice of Yoda somehow came through it all, “There is no try, there is only do”, and so we went for it. Although I feel a bit sheepish about quoting a film character, and a Star Wars one to […]

Stop, Think and Act (In That Order)

Today I did not follow this sequence in the right order. I was in a hurry, I had tasks queued up, very little time between them, and lots of people depending on me to deliver and get to the next meeting place on time. So what did I do? I put a full tank of […]

Blog Smart – Is That Enough for our Blogging Policy?

We are here this week at a strategic planning meeting for a major group affiliated with our organization. We have started having interesting side conversations one of which is about the trend for blogging and how some major businesses have been encouraging all staff members to set up blogs. Apparently Microsoft has over 1000 bloggers […]

Facilitator’s Notebook: Testing, Testing, 1-2-3

This week Lizzie and I are at a workshop on livelihoods and landscapes, which is being hosted by one of our organization’s largest programmes. We have 50 participants from all over the world, and to start our introductions in an interactive, exciting way, we decided to structure a “Speed Meeting” activity. In this activity, each […]

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No Hiding Behind Our Desks: Exploring Group Process Consultation

At the moment, I am at an NTL (National Training Laboratory) course on Group Process Consultation. We are learning about how to use this technique to help groups guide themselves to be more effective in their group processes. It is different than pure “facilitation” in that the Group Process Consultant (GPC) doesn’t do any of […]


The Secret Life of Teams

At the GAN-Net workshop in any one conversation we manage to go from the personal level (even cellular sometimes) to the global level. Yesterday in our group we had a thought-provoking discussion about teams which did just that. Overall we are looking at how to improve the impacts of these Global Action Networks in the […]

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What’s a Woozle? Special Features of Global Action Networks

For the next few days I am attending a meeting of GAN-Net outside of Boston. A GAN is a Global Action Network and the people attending the workshop come from organizational development, knowledge management, human development and related fields. These few days we are discussing the structure, strategy and governance systems of Global Action Networks […]


No Trees Were Harmed Setting Up This Office

We are just about to move our Learning Team into a new office space in the building and are determined not to keep any (or the absolute minimum) of paper files and documents. If we really believe that information is a flow then how can we focus our energies on building our capacities finding just-in-time/up-to-date […]


Facilitator’s Notebook: Bingo!

I have not lost total faith in formal training or workshops as learning delivery tools; Jay Cross’ comments to the last blog post have also confirmed that every tool has its appropriate use (and every learner his/her own learning preference). I would also say that training has become less and less “formal” over the years. […]


Design Your Perfect Learnscape

If you could design your perfect Learnscape, what would it look like? We are in the process of putting together plans for a new building for our institution. We would love to have a purpose-built learnscape included in these plans. This would be a flexible learning space that would represent our institution’s learning and sustainability […]


Reframing Falling Flipcharts

I had a powerful reframing opportunity today as I sat for 7 hours in the Emergency Room waiting to see the doctor that would eventually give me 6 injections and as many stitches in my big toe due to a freak flipchart accident in my home today. Trying to put a new flipchart together, with […]

Confidence in Learning

I recently heard a wonderful story retold from a book called “Landmarks” by Margaret Silf. In this story a woman is hiking late one afternon in the Welsh hill country when a storm blows in upon her. As she nears a barren peak, the wind starts to gale and storm clouds begin to boil in […]

What Can a Learning Programme Do For You?

Imagine that you were going to develop a new Learning Programme for your organization – what would be its purpose? What features would it have? Who would it target and what would it like to help them achieve? (Is it all about Them or is it all about Us? Or maybe we want to learn […]

Language Really Can Become Your Reality

Yesterday I had the opportunity to attend a management workshop that had been organized after our full week of meetings and I found it incredibly valuable in terms of new insights and learning. For one, it allowed me to meet my colleagues out of a workplace context (even though it was held at our workplace.) […]

How Do You Like to Learn?

Yesterday afternoon we had a workshop on a new leadership initiative within our organization in order to bring renewed energy to the idea and generate some useful information which could be used for the next stage of programme design. In the opening activity we each interviewed a partner about how they like to learn, and […]

I Learned Something New About: China

On Day 2 of our Fixed Meeting Week, we had a fascinating session on the “Future of Sustainability” that featured a speaker from China, an economist currently working for a UN agency in Geneva, who spoke to us about China and how its government and 1.3 billion people are approaching sustainability. You cannot pick up […]

What Exactly Are You Facilitating?

I have had a few people ask me about the value of facilitating other people’s workshops. What does that contribute to the grand scheme of things? What Facilitators do that is visible to participants (that is, stand up in front of a room and guide discussions/give instructions), is probably about 30% of the work of […]

Facilitator’s Notebook: Star Speakers

We are just going into a week of facilitating learning and conversation activities and no doubt we will have some learning to share on this blog. Here is the first post for the Facilitator’s Notebook: Lights, Camera, Action: Working with Star SpeakersHere is a lesson that I absolutely need to learn as a workshop facilitator: […]