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5th application: Open up urban spaces

5th application: Open up urban spaces

5th application:

Facilitation within informal organized European Projects/ Open up urban spaces




During one year, a group of 16 young Europeans will meeting in order to learn an train themselves about Open Space Technology and to challenge the question of participatory approaches in urban spaces. Faciliation methods are therefin used for communication within the geographically spread group and for the organisational of the meetings as well as during the meetings in order to get best reflections and output.



  • virtual communication: webex, skype, showdocument, wiki
  • energizer and group building games
  • information collection & exchange: Open Space Technology, World Café, mindmaps (f.ex. online mind maps to work on simultaneously)
  • reflection: reflections journey, individual and pair work with active listening, MeWeUs
  • organisation: wiki, shared documents, feedback loops to allow participation already at the beginning of a process



 As this training lasts for more than 1 year, it is not possible to evaluate all tool at onceLet's have a look in the different aspects:

  • virtual communication: It is absolutely urgent to know how to use this tools when working in such kind of groups, that are geographically dispersed. It is an opportunity to share thoughts, to bring group spirit back (inbetween the face to face meetings), to be transparent in the ongoing process. But regarding online meetings with webex / skype / showdocument: often technical problems make people nervous and frustrated and lower the energy. So too soft facilitation, low content output and technical problems are producing sometimes the opposite feeling of what has been intended: frustration and not motivation.
  • energizer and group building games are important and work very well in mostly every situation. But they have to be quite spontaneaous. Such kind of approaches helps as well, when the energy of a group is down, to bring it back by using unusal tools to work on content: f.ex. with games, with music, with fun,... etc.
  • information collection and eschange: it is a very important point and it did work best when the tasks has been well explained and has been well structured. Too open ways of discussion did not satisfied the group. So f.ex. world café did work very well. Regaring online tools, such as minmeister: it is a good tool for those who are already used to work mostly digital - but for those who do not feel comfortable it is horrible. So the decision whether to use it or not depends on the group working with it.
  • Reflection: this time of coming down and giving time for thoughts and feelings has been important for the group and deepened the learnings.
  • Organisation: Depending on the composition of the organisation teams virtual faciliation has been used. A problem is: what to do when people are not participating or do not answer fast enough: a wiki seems to be to loose, writing emails for every little stuff is time consuming and people do not answer neither, onlien meetings are to energy consuming to get everybody therein...



  • starting reflection with inidividual work and give enough time for silent and/or calm exchange of people as often it is an occasion for people to speak something out that they would "never" speak out
  • checking whether people feel familiar with online tools before overwhelming them with too many different tools
  • being transparent with informations AND highlightening the important points - a challenge!
  • using games an energizers to keep fun level high!
  • highlight that this project is not only about organizing and distributing tasks, but as well about learning, exchange and fun! So (online meetings) should take into consieration that only personal updates are worth as well - not only har stuff such as decision making and next steps...
  • train the participants unerstanding the process and facilitation as an approach and to make them curious learning new methods in order to higher the participation in an low-hierachy an informal organised group, so that everybody can better integrate their ideas...


New questions:

  • opening the process for participation yes - but at what point is it better to prepare & decide something than waiting for answers and comments that will never be written?
  • how can online meetings be less energy consuming regaring technical problems and delay of people?

Last changed by Sabrina Tschiche on 23/09/2010

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    Network of Intercultural Communication Organizations on Facilitation

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    Matthias Bär

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