Entries by Gillian


Get More Done with Less Effort: A Systems Story

Some people ask for examples of how systems thinking can be applied. Here’s a story that I came across recently… Imagine you are a headquarters-based training unit in a big organization and, among other things, you put out a two-page newsletter each month that features short paragraphs describing all the different training activities that the […]

, , ,

Futurists Give Us the “Shape of Jobs to Come”: What This Might Mean for Facilitators and Learning Practitioners

Just published by Fast Future is a study commissioned by the UK Government’s Science: So What? So Everything campaign on the Shape of Jobs to Come . The study produced a list of 20 jobs for 2030, which I thought I would share because Rohit Talwar, from Fast Future, keynoted at the International Association of […]

, , , , ,

Putting Action into Words (Hunh?)

I have been spending the last weeks at my desk developing a shared “curriculum” for a trio of sustainability leadership development programmes in different parts of Africa. I find myself writing about activities that help people make impact in their contexts and communities, and about how to take ideas from rhetoric to behaviour change. That’s […]

, ,

Follow the Leaders: Sharing Jay Cross’ Collected Wisdom

The recent Online Educa International Conference on Technology Supported Learning and Training featured a stream of fascinating workshops in and around informal learning that was organized and facilitated by Jay Cross (author of Informal Learning: Rediscovering the Natural Pathways That Inspire Innovation and Performance.) I attended a number of the workshops in this stream, that […]

, , , , , , , , , ,

Ahead of the Curve: This Year’s Learning Trends at Online Educa

I just spent the last two days at Online Educa, one of the largest global conferences for technology-supported learning and training, held annually in Berlin. It is my third time attending and every time I return full of new ideas and a glimpse at the future learning trends through the eyes of some of the […]

, , , ,

Making Memories: Improving Your Workshop Impact With Visual Facilitation, Slam Poetry and More

Many of us go to hours, days, even weeks of meetings and workshops as a part of our working life. Then when we return home have the added pleasure of trying to remember what happened and what we agreed to do. Thankfully many of us also have developed good systems for tracking our next actions […]


I’m With The Brand

I just spent a worthwhile 30 minutes reading Brenda Bence’s, “The Top 10 Branding Mistakes Entrepreneurs Make”. Since I went independent in June this year I’m still getting my head around many aspects of what it means to work independently. I thought this was a useful set of points for newly independent workers to consider […]

, , , , ,

“They Threw Out My Exercise!”

All week I have been working with a mixed Private Sector/ Not-for-Profit group (the latter from one conservation organization) in a joint learning exercise about partnerships between these two different sectors. It was structured in an interesting way, the first two days were internal to the conservation organization, with headquarters staff joined with their regional […]

, , , ,

Embedded Learning and Making the Bed

Last night I participated in an excellent webinar run by Chief Learning Officer Magazine called “Metrics of the Modern CLO: Measuring Formal and Informal Learning“. (CLO offers a great series of free learning webinars, by the way, see the archived version of this webinar here.) The speaker was Josh Bersin, and he spoke about three […]

, , ,

Create a Facilitator Role for Your Conference Calls and Webinars

Last week I was asked to facilitate a conference call. Sound odd? Well, originally it was supposed to be a face-to-face meeting on sustainability reporting for a high-level company review panel. In its first iteration it had two people conferencing in from distant time zones. That meant we had to design activities that the participants […]

, , , , , ,

Who Wants to Be A…Converting Game Shows to Workshop Learning Games

For an event that combines product designers, technology experts and policy makers, you want to move into as many innovative “integrative” spaces as possible. That takes buy-in from all parties, as well as lots of courage! On Tuesday, the second day of a 2-day international conference on sustainable products and services in Essen, Germany, we […]

Balaton Group Meeting 2009

Each year for 28 years, the Balaton Group has met on the shores of Lake Balaton, Hungary to discuss sustainability issues, systems dynamics, and global change. This year’s meeting is focused on “Frontiers of Sustainable Development” and I have decided to try to blog the various meeting inputs. These follow…


If Trainers Designed Training Centres

Imagine you and another trainer got together and could dream up your perfect training centre. What are some of the things that you would avoid, that have driven you crazy in the past, in various hotels and conference centres around the world? Heavy or fixed furniture, poorly lit rooms, carpeted walls, struggles getting one more […]

Visiting the Systems Zoo with Alan AtKisson

This morning I am helping to team deliver a day-long systems thinking module as a part of this week’s Isis Academy (AtKisson Associates), a leadership programme for sustainability practitioners being held outside of Stockholm. Systems can be complex for some people, so we are starting with an introduction by Alan AtKisson, sustainability expert, author and […]


Cross-Cultural Collision Caused by One Word

A major cross-cultural collision occurred at the end of a recent multi-stakeholder dialogue I was facilitating. The offending word: Report. In the final feel-good stretches of a dynamic multi-sectoral, heretofore generative dialogue, progress screamed to a halt when this six letter word was uttered. The precipitating question, expected to be purely rhetorical – Can we […]

Venue Checklist: What You Want to Know Before You Go

Imagine you are using an amazing venue for an upcoming, interactive conference of around 200 people (or any number for that matter), and you are visiting it for the first time. What would you want to know? Imagine that the venue is not a purpose-built conference centre, but something like a World Heritage Site, a […]


Coconut Cracker: The Anatomy of a Game

This morning I was surprised with another Mother’s Day present – a game called “Coconut Cracker” which my 8 year old had created for me. The essence of the game was that you had to toss a pencil onto a small piece of paper (a post-it note). On the post-it note were drawn nine small […]


Brainstorming about Brainstorming

This week I was asked to facilitate a session on “Brainstorming” for the monthly meeting of the Geneva Facilitators Network (linked to the International Association of Facilitators which certified Lizzie and I last December as CPFs). It sounded like a relatively easy brief, however it proved to need some deeper thinking to make it interesting […]