Toolbox Civic Council – Part 3: Dynamic Facilitation

Co-authors: Fayegail Bisaccia, Susan Edwards, DeAnna Martin, Joseph McCormick, Sandra Mueller, Joseph McCormick, Jean Rough; Shortened, supplemented and translated by Markus Götsch.

What is Dynamic Facilitation?

Dynamic Facilitation is a form of Moderation in which people tackle difficult topics creatively and together. In this usually leads to breakthroughs. The result is a conversation and the process of reflection, mutual respect, trust and a sense of community Creates.

The Dynamic Facilitator plays an active role and helps people to follow their intuition. He or she helps the group to identify a problem that is really important to them, whether it seems solvable or not. Then the DF moderation supports the formulation of what is close to the heart of the individual participants. In doing so, the moderation helps to grasp the meaning of what is said for all as concretely, as specifically as possible.

The moderation follows the natural flow of the conversation and deals with the spontaneity of the group. It is only in this seemingly disorderly space – for some it may seem chaotic – that change is possible. Sometimes new ideas arise, sometimes it is the realization, for the real problem, and sometimes there is a change of heart.

What is the unique thing about Dynamic Facilitation?

Most processes try to get a to provide an overview of the problem in order to provide clarity. Then the possible approaches and finally a decision is made.

Dynamic facilitation does not follow this procedure. In the course of the process, we reap what has been said, like fruits. We don't sort these fruits and we don't sort them. Dynamic Facilitation differs from other forms of dialogue and decision-making in several ways:

1. Dynamic facilitation values the individual where it is. It invites the participants to become visible as individuals with their very personal perspectives and motives. It is a very appreciative environment in which listening and learning from each other is at the forefront. In this way, the gradual change is given space and time, and by the way, the group may experience one or more breakthroughs on the way to the solution.

2nd. Dynamic facilitation literally means confrontation. As a participant, I or, I can't immediately refer to what my previous speaker says. It makes me perceive things from a new perspective and endure this perception. This examination of new, foreign perspectives forms the framework in which something can arise. As a participant, I take responsibility for myself and make myself felt when I want to say something. I show myself with my energy, which I am willing to contribute. This makes my voice visible, because the moderator writes for me and for everyone else.

In this way, a conflict, a supposed dissent is seen as a positive event in a group when focus on fruitful dialogue. The basic rules and good moderation prevent conflicts from spiraling out of control, but they don't suffocate.

3rd. The ultimate goal of Dynamic Facilitation is to release co-creativity and strength for change. This is particularly successful through the deep form of listening. Instead of the lowest common denominator, the compromise is thus built on consensus. The participants of a citizens' council usually meet at a jointly and united lyrised idea for the future, which goes far beyond the thinking skills of the individual. This appreciative form of sensitive agreements is also described as co-sensing.

Why Dynamic Facilitation for Citizens' Councils?

Dynamic Facilitation is a quick way to solve a difficult problem in a group, or to achieve consensus or a breakthrough.

When this happens, the results can be extraordinary and every person feels a strong connection with the jointly developed the group's result. The process builds individual skills, awareness, trust and connectedness.

Dynamic facilitation is based on intrinsic factors, such as how many people are interested in the topic or how enthusiastic they are about a particular idea. The process is dynamic. It is not controlled by the moderation. It is like in the circle dialogue, when people discuss topics openly, honestly and openly. The advantage of Dynamic Facilitation over the circular dialogue is that concrete problems, and even crises and conflicts, can be addressed and these can also be resolved.

In addition, there is no need for special training or compliance with a set of rules on the part of the participants in order to participate in a Dynamic Facilitation Session as in the Citizens' Council. Moderation and its ability to apply Dynamic Facilitation is the key to success. He or she plays an active role and ensures a high quality of speech, listening and thinking.

Selection of a Dynamic Facilitation Moderator

As a rule, an effort of about 3000 euros per moderator*in a citizens' council is to be expected.

The Dyanmic Facilitation Sessions in the course of the Citizens' Council should be conducted with two moderators, or at least an assistance should be provided. This person should know the process and the method Dynamic Facilitaiton and helps, for example, when hanging the flipcharts. Together, they hold the room and, if necessary, alternate.

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