Thoughts on Futures Facilitation

There are many facilitation processes practised in the world today aimed at capturing and channelling diverse collective intelligence for realising faster better progress and greater collective benefit.

A very useful website that captures more than 30 facilitation processes is Liberating Structures whose mission is about *"including and unleashing everyone"*.

LS helps to make this kind of information more widely accessible and useful. On their purpose page they include:

*We want to create opportunities for everyone (including ourselves) to become what they are capable of becoming. Plus, we want to inspire more kindness and reduce suffering in the world.*

Since we are painfully aware that we cannot do it alone, we created this website to share to the fullest extend possible our ideas, wisdom, experiences and materials, and to invite you to join in.

We want everyone to learn to foster big changes by inviting people to make small structural changes in how they work together. With the same resources people using Liberating Structures in place of traditional structures will generate surprisingly better results.

UNIVERSAL CHALLENGE Our world is increasingly complex, interdependent, and culturally diverse. The most pressing challenges we face cut across geographic, cultural, and technical boundaries. Working together productively with difference is central to making progress.

PROBLEM Unwittingly, the conventional structures used to organize how people routinely work together stifle inclusion and engagement while neglecting the diverse talents needed to make progress together.

SOLUTION Liberating Structures (LS) are novel and practical how-to methods to help you include and unleash everyone in shaping next steps. LS distribute control so that participants can shape direction themselves as the action unfolds.

ACTION With LS, it is simple and easy to learn tiny shifts in the way we meet, plan, decide and relate to one another. No lengthy training courses or special skills are required; mastery is simply a matter of practice.

**Ten Guiding Principles**

Below are ten LS leadership principles to help guide how participants can choose to relate and work together for the greatest collective benefit:

Liberating Structures: Guiding Principles 6-10

Liberating Structures: Guiding Principles 1-5

*What would be the most appropriate facilitation process to use for a FEAST gathering?* With themes such as future democracy and law, and the intelligent use of "exponential" technologies such as blockchain, biotech, the internet of everything, virtual and augmented reality, robotics, and more...

As the Sunday 8th October gathering will likely be less that half a day, it makes sense to keep the process as simple, yet also powerful, as possible. Perhaps a handful of core guiding principles such as: - one person on each table captures the "key takeaways" from each discussion/dialogue by voice recording for upload to the FEAST AudioBoom account; - every person must move to a different table after each session (e.g. 20-30mins) with a different question or theme to be debated; - one person stays on each table (recorder, steward and contributor) for continuity; - plus each table picks their, for example, top three to five guiding principles from the list of ten above from Liberating Structures.

One of the main distinguishing qualities about a "FEAST Futures" facilitation process is related to the ways in which it aims to "synergise" human, artificial and natural intelligences...

#World Café Method

Drawing on seven integrated design principles, the World Café methodology is a simple, effective, and flexible format for hosting large group dialogue.

World Café can be modified to meet a wide variety of needs. Specifics of context, numbers, purpose, location, and other circumstances are factored into each event’s unique invitation, design, and question choice, but the following five components comprise the basic model:

1) Setting: Create a “special” environment, most often modeled after a café, i.e. small round tables covered with a checkered or white linen tablecloth, butcher block paper, colored pens, a vase of flowers, and optional “talking stick” item. There should be four chairs at each table (optimally) – and no more than five.

2) Welcome and Introduction: The host begins with a warm welcome and an introduction to the World Café process, setting the context, sharing the Cafe Etiquette, and putting participants at ease.

3) Small Group Rounds: The process begins with the first of three or more twenty minute rounds of conversation for the small group seated around a table. At the end of the twenty minutes, each member of the group moves to a different new table. They may or may not choose to leave one person as the “table host” for the next round, who welcomes the next group and briefly fills them in on what happened in the previous round.

4) Questions: each round is prefaced with a **question** specially crafted for the specific context and desired purpose of the World Café. The same questions can be used for more than one round, or they can be built upon each other to focus the conversation or guide its direction.

5) Harvest: After the small groups (and/or in between rounds, as needed), individuals are invited to share insights or other results from their conversations with the rest of the large group. These results are reflected visually in a variety of ways, most often using graphic recording in the front of the room.

The basic process is simple and simple to learn, but complexities and nuances of context, numbers, question crafting and purpose can make it optimal to bring in an experienced host to help. Should that be the case, professional consulting services and senior hosts are available through World Cafe Services .

In addition, there are many resources available for new World Cafe hosts, including a free hosting tool kit , an online community of practice , and World Cafe Signature Learning Programs .