Sunday, May 29, 2011

TEDx Tokyo: Let Junko Edahiro Welcome You to the "De" Generation

Watch this 8 minute video taken at the recent TEDx Tokyo which features Junko Edahiro, Chief Executive of Japan for Sustainability, answering the question about what motivates young people today.  She introduces 3 "De's" - trends which she observes to be forming a big part of the value set of young adults today (much to the consternation of their elders).

  1. De - ownership (from owning things to sharing things),
  2. De-materialisation of happiness (from happiness in buying things to person-to-person/nature),
  3. De-materialisation of life (happiness in our own lives without the lure of the monetary economy),

For the latter she talks about young people who are half farmer/half something else (musician, NGO leader, etc.). These people combine growing their own subsistence food needs with their mission-driven work - instead of investing all their time climbing a company ladder, climbing a ladder to pick apples instead. Junko talks about Japan, can these same trends be spotted elsewhere in the world?

Junko provides thoughtful examples, challenges us all to think about our own possibilities to "De" our life, and welcomes us to the Era of "De"!

(Note from me: Junko is a terrific speaker, fellow Balaton Group Member, and friend and I am delighted to see TEDx and Junko connecting their considerable talents in this way.)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Training-of-Trainers from the Trainee's Point-of-View

Yesterday at the beginning of our training course I asked my trainees a check-in question, "What do you think you will have to do to apply your learning today?" I wanted people to think about their own processes of learning and to share with each other some reflections on what it would take for them to translate the content of the training course from theoretical, or passive, knowledge to something that they can actually do. Effectively, from an experience in a workshop room, to something they will be able to draw upon easily in a real-life situation.

They were surprised at that question, and found it tricky to answer. However, translating information from a page/mouth of an expert "Trainer", even when supported by some practice exercises, into something that you can do/use yourself takes lots of considered individual work. Most people's response to this question was to "Practice, practice, practice" - which is true, but there is so much more.

This question also made me pause, as I realised that I had gone through the same process for the training I was giving right then - that I was as much of a Trainee as my participants were.

I have given many Training-of-Trainer (ToT) courses over the years, for many of the fields in which I work. In my groups of Trainees I would have both people familiar with the content and those for whom it was fairly or completely new. The ToT would deliver the content and training process, we would practice different elements, and finally we would demo the module (whatever it was) together for a completely new group of participants. Then these newly-trained Trainers would be sent off with a beautiful Trainer's manual and all participant materials, handouts etc. I would always be available to answer further questions (even to this day). But definitely the Training-of-Trainers experience doesn't stop there. It is just a fraction of the learning experience needed to be able to go from the ToT workshop to being able to deliver the content.

This particular training course that I gave yesterday is one of the first times that I can recall that I was trained in an area where the content was broadly new to me - it is in the galaxy of the tools and skills that I use, but I had never worked directly in the area or used the particular tools that I was being asked to train others to use. That did not necessarily mean that I would not be good as a Trainer, it happens all the time (and actually that is precisely why there are Training of Trainer courses!) However, when the content is rather new it does mean that additional individual work to assimilate the content with enough confidence and expertise to be able to effectively transfer that learning to others is critical and time consuming.

Making it Mine - Going from Trainee to Trainer and Learner to User

During the ToT that I myself took to be a Trainer in this new field, I took copious notes on both content and process, even verbatim notes from the master Trainer. When she delivered her slides, I wrote down her text and examples beside the slides. When anyone asked a question, I wrote the question down and her answer. When we did an exercise, I not only recorded my group's answer, but also the answers of the other groups. I noted when she handed things out or used a flipchart and wrote that into the agenda. When we used job aids, I wrote down how she briefed the exercise and then debriefed it. At the end of the ToT, I had recorded as much process data as I could notice to go along with the content descriptions.

When I got home, I went back through my notes. But it wasn't until I was called to deliver that training myself that deepest learning kicked in. Here are a few things I did to make that that training course content mine:
  • Connect the Content to Me- Finding My Own Stories: I found in my own experience some connections between the new content and what I had already learned and done in life - things that substantiated my being a Trainer in that area. It was a little stretch, but actually not as much as I thought. Some of the core skills I was using in other areas. That steadied me a bit. Initially I was nervous because I didn't have years of specific experience to draw upon, but when I made these connections I could find my own stories.
  • Integrate Process Notes: I developed for myself a detailed Trainer's Agenda. I used my own template and rewrote the agenda with all the process information, timing, and segue ways included. A simple agenda existed from the ToT with a separate process note for new Trainers, but I needed to work through the logic of each session and bring these together into a logical narrative in my head, and make something I could follow on the delivery day.
  • Get an Overview of Materials and Equipment: I created a materials and equipment list, and made a note on the Trainer's Agenda which materials were needed where. This also included a list of what needed to be prepared in advance (at home and in the training room). With all of this thinking done, I could concentrate once I was in the session on the content.
  • Fill in Knowledge Gaps: I went through all the content PPT slides and made sure I understood exactly what they meant - for this I needed the notes I took when the Master Trainer delivered it. I researched all the questions I had and all those I could anticipate (e.g. people asking where that fact came from, getting a good definition of a term, understanding the difference between x and y). I also took out lots of transition slides and builds in the PPt that, for someone who is less familiar with the content (or at least not the original creator) or who has a different pace, just makes it look clunky.
  • Reduce What You Have to Remember (Part I): Create a Detailed Flipchart Agenda for the Training Room. I created a flipchart agenda to keep up in the room which was more detailed than usual, as much for me as a guide through the course as for the participants . Whenever I needed a flipchart in the content delivery, I put a number for the flipchart on this agenda. Then I numbered my flipcharts with post-it notes sticking out the edges (like tabs in an address book).
  • Reduce What You Have to Remember (Part II): Make Job Aids. I made up some new Job Aids/handouts for some of the exercises which had all the instructions on them - every thing I would say to brief them.
  • Reduce What You Have to Remember (Part III): Put Instructions on Flipcharts. I also made up a set of flipcharts with all the exercise instructions on them so that I would not have to remember every tiny detail myself (I might but I might not).  
  • Create a Trainer's Manual: I put together all the separate pieces I had from the original ToT and that I had created into a ring binder to organize in one place all the materials and documentation. Each session had its own section which brought together my notes, with those of the Master Trainer so I had them for quick reference if need be. There was a section with my process agenda with the original participants agenda behind. One section had my new PPt slides with my notes and examples and stories, with the original one from the ToT just behind. There was a tabbed section for each exercise, with a separate sheet with briefing and debriefing notes prepared, and any associated handouts, all combined with the Frequently Asked Questions I had picked up from the ToT. This way if I had a moment during group work, I could scan ahead to remember points for the next session if need be.
All this preparation happened BEFORE I got to Practice, Practice, Practice.

Through delivering this new course, I have developed a lot of new empathy with my Trainees of the past (and future); learners who are invited to come to a ToT and to become a Trainer on a topic that perhaps they have never trained before that day. We all need to know what we are signing up for when we go to a Training of Trainers Course, or providing one. As a Training Trainer we are effectively giving our Trainees a ToT group experience, and also a lot of individual follow up work as well, if Trainees really want to be able to deliver that training themselves. ToT organizers should be very aware of this critical work outside the ToT itself and talk through a strategy to help individual Trainers make this leap.

I think having now had this experience myself, I will devote much more time discussing with the Trainees what they will need and want to do to be able to apply the learning in a training situation - from something coming out of my mouth to something coming out of theirs. And in the future I will push even further into that learning space with participants to help them develop a strategy for that,. Just as I asked my participants yesterday to do.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Tweets from a TED Week: TEDActive 2011

In February, I had my first “TED-ache” at TEDActive2011. TEDsters know all about TED-aches. They come with the “mind-mash” that is a TED conference. One minute its talks on quantum mechanics, biochemistry or brain science. The next its the latest in information technologies. And then you’re plunged deep into the ocean, taking a swim with seals alongside a nature photographer. Or you’re marvelling as a life-size horse puppet breathes and trots around the stage, and then Bobby McFerrin has you singing and laughing from your gut!

This is no ordinary conference. It stretches you to go where you would likely not go if just browsing the talks on Most people listen actively to every single talk. And the beauty comes in the meaning you make for yourself as you listen to talks on a great diversity topics and begin to see patterns; to make connections; to find learning where you might least expect it.

On the journey home, I tried to create a mindmap as I read through all my notes (without which I would have retained but the merest fraction of ideas worth spreading). It was messy. However, perhaps even messier still has been my process of trying to sort all my tweets into some sort of coherence in order to share them here. From the mind-mash that was TEDActive, here are what are still a mish-mash of tweets (with some tweaks) to share my take-aways with you, clustered under some imperfect headings. The talks can be found here: TED2011 Talks

a. Perspective
b. Right, wrong and assumptions
c. Unintended consequences
d. The need to encode ethics in algorithms
e. Innovation and counter-intuition
f. Instrumental information: visualizing systems
g. Collective wisdom for change
h. Art for social change
i. Crowd-voicing
j. Collaborative creativity
k. Leveraging learning
l. Breathtaking medical breakthroughs
m. Miscellaneous communication products and technologies

a. Perspective

Astronaute in space Cady Coleman speaks perspective & the importance of connectedness & value of the earth as she circles once/18 mins.

“If a chunk of metal can be in two places at the same time, you could be. We have to think about the word differently as an individual” Physicist Aaron O'Connell.

Physicist Aaron O'Connell: "Everything around you is connected & that's the profound weirdness of quantum mechanics."

In a gfa-1 microbe in Mono Lake CA, arsenic seems to function as phospherous in a cell. Evidence of alternative biochemistry on our planet? It would change our definition of habitability elsewhere... Felisa Wolfe-Simon

We can only find what we know how to look for. For Felisa Wolfe-Simon that's learning to look for alternative biochemistry on earth.

Edith Widder's eye-in-the-sea explores bioluminescent deep ocean life & language. "Don't know what they're saying... I think its sexy!"

Paul Nicklen chokes up recounting leopard seal stories from his polar photo missions for Nat Geog and shows pictures of the white 'Spirit' or 'Kermode' bear - only 200 left on the planet! Save sea ice; its as important as soil.

Swiss explorer Sarah Marquis: “I dont want to put people back in nature; I want to put nature back in people”. “Let your soul touch the earth.... go walking.”

RachelSussman photographs living things >10’000 years old. "If you didn’t know what you were looking for, it would be easy to overlook something other megaflora were grazing on before extinction".

b. Right, wrong and assumptions

“Trusting too much in the feeling of being right can be very dangerous and create huge tactical and social problems as we believe our beliefs reflect reality and make huge assumptions to explain people who disagree with us: assume their ignorant, idiots and/or evil, leading us to treat each other terribly, missing the hole point of being human. The miracle of the mind is that you can see the world as it isn’t.” Kathryn Schulz

“We need to learn to step outside of rightness, look around at one another and the vast complexity of the universe and say: ‘Wow, maybe I’m wrong!The system tells us getting something wrong means there’s something wrong with us. We learn the way to succeed is to never make any mistakes.” Kathryn Schulz

“How does it feel to be wrong?” Asks Kathryn Schulz. “Wrong. You’re answering the question, ‘How does it feel to realize that you’re wrong?’ It feels like being right to be wrong until until you realize you’re wrong.”

Daman Horowitz speaks about his work in prisons giving philosophy classes & the importance of questioning what we believe and why we believe it, including exploring wrongness. “What is wrong? Maybe I am!”

Magician Franz Harary demonstrates playing with glitches in peoples minds that distort and manipulate thoughts, using magic to fake technology that doesn’t exist.

c. Unintended consequences

Evolution will be guided by us in the future, thanks to genetics. What will we choose? More competitive? Empathetic? Creative? “If anything had the potential for unintended consequences, this is it!” Harvey Fineberg

We cannot foresee all consequences. But how can we close the gap between capabilities & foresight? Edward Tenner’: "Learn meticulously from unintended consequences & chaos".

Edward Tenner: An example of unintended consequences = adding lifeboats to a ship, making it more unstable and resulting in tragedy.

"We are at a threshold moment: a single global brain of almost 7 billion individuals learning collectively at warp speed = very powerful and potentially very dangerous. Nuclear weapons are evidence." David Christian

Looking at ‘big history’ shows us the power of collective learning and the dangers that come with it. Studying this will help all students make better decisions in the future. David Christian

d. The need to encode ethics in algorithms

“We need new info (Internet) gatekeepers to encode ethic responsibility into their (Facebook, Google...) algorithmic code & give us some control” El Pariser.

Speaking of Facebook and Google, Eli Pariser asserts: “'Personalized algorithmic filter bubbles are throwing off balance our info diet, converting it to info funk food.'

"The demise of guys is a consequence of arousal addictions stimulated by the internet & video 'porning'" - Philip Zimbardo

e. Innovation and counter-intuition

"The greatest time for game-changing innovation was The Great Depression." Edward Tenner

“When you train people to be risk averse, they are reward challenged”, said Morgan Spurlock in his talk encouraging the embracing of transparency. He sold the naming rights to his talk.

Inspiring talk by Kalia Colbin about reimagining Christchurch: “10 days ago my be the beginning of the demise of my city, but in the rubble their may be promise”. Help with ideas at

Do something good for the city and we'll give you more land, says Malaysia to property developers as incentive. Thomas Heatherwick does, with buildings that leave more ground for the forest.

For the first time in history not one child in Utter Pradesh & Bihar (northern India) has Polio. New vaccine + resolve + tactics = a unique eradication opportunity. Bruce Aylward

Chefs Hamaru Contu & Ben Roche introduce “Disruptive Food Technology”: from the Future Food science lab: tricking taste buds we can reduce energy & waste

Bill Ford asserts ingenuity in mobility solutions is not only about our movement, its also about access to food and healthcare. Smart cars, smart parking, smart signalling and smart phones all integrated in new smart mobility system is the future.

A leap in thinking is needed to avoid global gridlock if the population reaches the predicted 9 billion in 2044. Real time data is needed for a new mobility system. Bill Ford

“If we sped up cars in our cities by 3mph, we would reduce by 11% the emissions of our transport system.” Counter-intuitive! Luis Cilimingras, IDEO (formerly FIAT)

Speaking of cars actively driven by the blind (unveiled Jan 2011 "Technology will be ready, but will society be ready?" Need system change. Dennis Hong

f. Instrumental information: visualizing systemss

“As the world becomes increasingly instrumented and we have means to connect the dots, we can see interactions not previously visible with profound implications for us as individuals” Deb Roy,

Deb Roy set records in home-video hours to reveal patterns linking words to context and identifying feedback loops as his son acquired language in his Human Speechome Project

Collaborating with scientists, Rajesh Rao tries to use computer modelling to decipher the last major undeciphered ancient script - Indus. Does it boil down to picture of ‘bee’ + ‘leaf’ = ‘belief’?

Ebs and flows in US flight patterns are visualized, providing powerful communication

Carlo Ratti, MIT SENSEable City Lab, uses pervasive technologies to track trash in an investigation into the “removal-chain”. Listening to Haydn’s 'Farewell' Symphony (45), he shows us trash doesn’t leave, just moves!

g. Collective wisdom for change

Students tackle 50 interlocking systems problems learn how not to follow short term destructive paths and learn how to think about World Peace long term, learning right and wrong through their experience. John Hunter

John Hunter asserts very openly that the collective wisdom of his 4th grade students is so much greater than his own. He trusts them to solve world problems, practicing with his World Peace role-play game.

US General Stanley McChrystal talks about changes in leadership with distributed technologies and the inversion of expertize as old ‘leaders’ are less familiar wit the technologies required.

h. Art for social change

Under house arrest in Shanghai, Ai Weiwei speaks via video of art for social change & the creation of a civil & more democratic society in China despite no party willingness.

Street Artist JR's wish: “Stand up for what you care about by participating in a global collaborative art project. And together we’ll turn the world INSIDE OUT”:

Women Are Heroes project by street artist JR: In Kibera “we didn’t use paper (on the rooves), because paper doesn’t prevent the rain from leaking in the house but vinyl does."

"It doesn't matter today if it's your photo or not. The importance is what you do with images... We decided to take portraits of Palestinians and Israelis doing the same job. They all accepted to be pasted next to the other." JR

i. Crowd-voicing

Human right activist & TED Fellow Esra’a Al Shafei presents - a project of MidEast Youth tracking voices of protest around the world using crowdsourcing.

Wael Ghonin: Egypt saw extreme tolerance, Christians & Muslims protecting one another praying. “The power of the people is much stronger than the people in power”.

Surprise talk by Wael Ghonim on the Egyptian revolution: "No one was a hero because everyone was a hero."

“We cannot have a well-functioning democracy if there is not a good flow of information to citizens” El Pariser.

Head of Al-Jazeera, Wadar Khanfar: “The democratic revolution sweeping the Arab world is the best chance to see peace. Let us embrace it.”

j. Colloborative creativity

“Electronic communication will never be a substitute for someone who face to face encourages you to be brave and true” Marc Martens talking of the powerful “Glow” public art playground Public art to connect people is at the heart of the Santa Monica ‘Glow’ project.

Face ache follows the Bobby McFerrin session. “Unparalleled joy” was in the programme! Playing along with Bobby’s creative spontaneity warmed everyone’s hands, voices and hearts.

The at #TEDActive - a non-profit mobile recording studio dedicated to providing students with opportunities to make music and video projects. - an ongoing collaborative research project using completely open source technology to empower people suffering with paralysis to draw with their eyes. Mik

Co-creating a music video through crowdsourcing: Aaron Koblin describes a living, moving, ever-changing portrait as people all over the world contribute portraits to the collective whole.

Aaron Koblin: “Interface can be a powerful narrative device”, showing a crowd-sourced video, which when viewed is unique to each viewer

Conductor Eric Whitacre's “Lux Aurumque” gives voice to a virtual choir - The upcoming project received >2050 videos online from 58 countries.

k. Leveraging learning

Project V.O.I.C.E. – lovely project by Sarah Kay uses poetry as a way to entertain, educate & inspire. List 10 things you know to be true. Sharing these lists - who has the same? / opposite? / who heard something never heard before? / heard new angles on what you thought you knew? Sarah Kay

Make a list “10 things I should have learned by now.” Sarah Kay uses poetry to work through what she doesn’t understand with a backpack from where she’s already been.

Neuroscientist Antonio Damasio looks at the conscious mind: "There are 3 levels of self: The proto, the core & the autobiographical (past & anticipated future). We share the first 2 with other species."

NYT Columnist David Brooks asserts emotions are the foundation of reason and, as social beings emerging out of relationships, we need to learn better how to read, listen to and talk about emotions.

Ed Boyden explores the brain signals that drive learning & describes the process of installing molecules in neurons and using light to turn on/off specific cells in the brain and treat neurological disorders.

“Personal perceptions are at the heart of how we acquire knowledge.” Autistic Savant, Daniel Tammet, shares insights from synaesthesia about colours, textures & the emotions of words & numbers.

29% greater retention from doodlers & better problem solving because it engages all learning styles - Sunni Brown. “The doodle has never been the nemesis of intellectual thought. In reality, it’s been one of its greatest allies.”

Khan Academy learning: self paced, interactive, peer-to-peer, encouraging trying & failing (like falling off a bicycle), and designed to be iterative and so avoid 'swiss cheese' gaps in education. Salman Khan

"By removing the one-size fits all lecture from the classroom, these teachers have used technology to humanize the classroom." "What we're seeing emerge is this notion of a global one-world classroom." Salman Khan

“Kids 1 year from voting age don't know butter comes from a cow. They're not stupid. Adults have let them down. Every child has the right to fresh food at school & food education as a requirement. It's a civil right” Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver's exciting new announcement about the future of the Food Revolution: #TED

Alison Lewis presents fashion technology, encouraging DIY “Switch Craft” projects blending sewing and electronics to bring handiwork into the 21st century:

Fiorenzo Omenetto reinvents something that’s been around for millennia. Learning from silk worms, he reverse engineers the cocoon turning water & protein into material with environmental & social significance.

A seed cathedral, inspired by Kew's seed bank, jurassic park & play doh mop-tops is Thomas Heatherwick's stunning London Pavillion @ Shanghai:

Learn a second language in Second Life: an alternative emersion process that works with the 5 stages of second language acquisition and the mastery of the 4 language skills, says Jeong Kinser.

Indra Nooyi talks about Pepsi's Refresh University to sustain & multiply social change emerging from stories, lessons & 'how-to' online + leadership skills training.

l. Breathtaking medical breakthroughs

Luke Massella is living proof of Anthony Atala's regenerative organ work. He was one of the first ten people to receive a 'printed' kidney. 3D printed organs are the next frontier in medicine.

Eythor Bender showcases his incredible exoskeletons, which enable the paralyzed to walk again.

m. Miscellaneous communication products and technologies

The effects of HIV can be reversed. Watch this powerful ad from the Topsy Foundation: via @youtube.

A compelling video for the genocide-awareness project by Art Activist TED Fellow Naomi Natale #TED:’s “Lessons from a tree” video - narrated by Jeremy Irons - supports the “Buy2get1tree” campaign, working with corporate partners to save 2 trillion trees by 2014. Bill Liao

Kate Hartman creates devices that play with how we relate and communicate with ourself, others and nature. “Our bodies are our primary interaction with the world”.

The Handspring Puppet Company breath life into a larger than life War Horse puppet on stage using masterful “emotional engineering” and “up to date 17th century technology to turn nouns into verbs”.

Mike Matas demos - the first feature length interactive book and sequel to “Inconvenient Truth” - with Climate Change solutions. Blow on the screen to turn wind turbines!

A smart braille phone varying the height of a pixel instead of color to communicate information on “screen”: A concept of TED Fellow -

Mattias Astrom demos C3, a new 3D mapping technology:

Bubbli – ambitious new startup seeks to change the way we record images with cameraphones. Terrence McArdle & Ben Newhouse.

Shea Hembrey invented 100 artists and imagined their art.

TEDx Workshop Talks, Tips & Tweets during TEDActive 2011

Attending TEDActive 2011 back in February - and joining a couple of hundred other organizers of TEDx (independently organized events under license from for workshops, back stage tours, talks and tips - I tweeted about my TEDx learning. For posterity, I’m now sharing the tweets here:

Began #TEDActive 2011 with pre-workshop of TEDx organizers. Great community! Learn about the independently organized TEDx events near you:

Discovering high +ve correlations between TEDx organisers, entrepreneurs & The Hub network ( at #TEDActive

Idea / quote of the day from TEDx Middle East - “TEDxRevolutions - Revolutions worth sharing" at #TEDActive

TEDx Talk Tips from Ruth, TEDxColumbus: “Who is the hero & villain in each talk? Can I relate? Can I learn from it? Can I follow you? Is it primal? Can I root for you?” #TEDActive

Kelly & Rives’ TEDx Host Tips: Get a stage manager; start hosting pre-event and finish at the after party; introduce the unexpected; have time-fillers and back up plans #TEDActive

TEDx Kids Tips: Shorten; embrace chaos & noise; keep adults aside; invite on stage; involve from seats; outsource jobs to them; give them what they want; max demo’s and Q&A’s; & feed them! #TEDActive

TED set up: casual, relaxed format; 50% seating, unobtrusive background music; brain/superfoods; wine & beer - not spirits; large name tags; & locatech online tool. #TED

Nancy Duarte on storytelling formula: What is - what could be - what is - what could be - what is - call for action - the utopian new bliss. #TED behind the scenes tour, Longbeach

Nancy Duarte quotes Ernest Hemmingway: “The first draft of anything is shit.” #TED

Nancy Duarte quotes Woodrow Wilson: “If I have 10 minutes to present I need a week to prepare; if I have an hour I am ready now.” #TED

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Live and In Person: Face-to-Face in the "Education" Stage of Facilitation

In the stages of facilitation, one of the key preparation stages is “Education". In this stage the facilitator gets to field questions, give background information, descriptions, share anecdotes and generally help the partner with their learning about any aspect of the facilitated event or environment.

Sometimes partners precipitate the Education stage conversations - because perhaps you are suggesting some activity or format with which they are not familiar. Or you might have to launch into this stage yourself because you perceive in the consultations that there is some misunderstanding or apprehension about your designs or tools based on lack of experience with them.

This happened to me recently. I went to Belgium last week to work with a team for one day on the design of an upcoming European-wide event. We could have possibly had the design discussion on skype or the telephone, but the need for longer discussions exploring the pros and cons of different methodologies meant, for that team, that it was more the Education piece that they wanted to explore. Therefore a face-to-face discussion with the facilitator - about how it would all work, what different techniques could produce, and how to frame new methods for a more traditional group - was going to be much more effective than a shorter, virtual interaction.

In fact, I find that for most groups the newer the methodology, technique or overall format is to a group, the more the Education piece becomes critically important to successful design (that is, a design that makes it through the gauntlet of consultations before you can deliver it). Definitely using a format without the partner being in full understanding of what is being proposed can be a risk for a group that has not yet adopted more interactive discussion techniques overall in their meetings.

Working in the sustainability field, we often have the pleasure to work with smaller associations for whom framing discussions and dialogue events in more than the most familiar board table discussion or conference style presentation and Q&A is unusual. Even for many larger organizations, convening meetings or dialogues differently to reach their goals is taking a risk at some level. However, what intrigues them most about more interactive methodologies, is the promise of optimizing time, achieving fuller and more developed outputs and above all ensuring some of the softer outcomes - like engagement, buy-in, enthusiasm for follow-up, etc.

My lesson here was not to try to push conference and skype calls all the time; these communication tools can be extremely productive. But in the Education stage, especially, it might be more important to be there, live and in person, and to create an environment where the partner can ask all their possible questions about your subject and process - even, if need be, over and over again.