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Facilitation process in NICO

Facilitation process in NICO

When managing our partnership project

there have been two different processes that needed to be managed – the people process (HOW) and the project process (WHAT). The degree of learning and creativity that derives from the project is a direct result of how well these two processes are managed and supported to interact. Facilitation for supporting these two processes is especially important at the start up phase of a project. However using participatory methods and tools through the whole project will have a great impact on the effectiveness of the whole project and its long term sustainability.

NICO Strategie

The people process has to do with the having the participants connect to one another as soon as possible in order to enhance their participation and commitment for the project and the project goal. The participants need to feel secure in the group, the more safety the group represent the more likely the participants are to share their thoughts and ideas with each other without judging and selecting what they believe are the “right” ideas to communicate.

There has to be a common understanding for the different aspects of looking upon the project that are present and to respect the differences in order to drive the collective learning process in the project.

Effective and long term sustainable project development builds on the belief that a group of individuals can create more than an individual on its own. As a consequence the project manager should early in the project identify, make visible and explore all the human resources that are available in the project group.

The project process has more to do with WHAT the project is about and that the project members understand and share the conditions and the requirements of the project. Do the project members “see” the project in the same way and if not how can they share, respect and explore their differences?

When managing these two processes successfully at the start up of the project research shows that the long term effectiveness and sustainability of the project will increase considerably.

During the NICO-f project we worked specifically with these different aspects of a project and together we explored and developed collaborative tools and methods for taking “shortcuts” to manage, enhance and hurry up both the people and the project process. By the support of facilitation you will attain concrete action and individual responsibility much faster. The project members will acquire deeper ownership of the problems and possibilities that are to be handled during the project, which will influence and drive their commitment.

Using collaborative methods and tools by means of facilitation not only in the start up phase but continuously throughout the project will have a greater impact on the project members ability to think together, to learn and to increase the creativity of the group.

Last but not least we also explored tools for evaluation and quality assurance during and at the end of the project.


Our meetings in the NICO-f project went through the following 4 stages

  • Getting started I – creating participation and commitment/people process
  • Getting started II - building a participative platform/project process
  • Exploring the competence of the project group – project planning
  • Evaluation and learning



Our first meeting in Izmir, Turkey – Getting started/people process

There are ways of taking shortcuts to creating a safe environment and sharing the different ways of looking upon the project and important aspects by using participatory tools and by having a facilitator working supporting the group.

It is vital to make the project members aware of all the resources within the group. Once the full potential of the group is visible you can start to explore it. When people start thinking together – new combinations and possibilities will arise. However group thinking needs support in order to develop with its full potential. That is why projects need facilitative methods that help members to connect, to explore what and how as well as to think together.

For this purpose at our first meeting we used a number of facilitative tools for;

  • Getting to know each other  
  • Why we are here 
  • Presentations of members/projects 
  • Making competencies capacities resources visible by sharing experiences 
  • Sharing pictures/different perceptions  
  • Motivation and drivers 
  • Collaboration/finding ways of working 
  • Recognize the years of project experience in the group (WAR) 
  • Building trust– creating a safe space! 















Our second meeting in Spisska Kapitula, Slovakia, Getting started/building a participative platform/project process

During this meeting our focus was on the project process. On clarifying what the project is about and make sure that all project members are “on board” the project. We created the mutual platform for the following project work.

We worked with facilitation and introduced participative methods and tools focusing on WHAT questions – questions that are of vital importance for the project result and effectiveness. When handling these questions with participative methods and tools you clarify what needs to be clarified but at the same time you also work with the group process and build commitment and collaboration within the group.

During the meeting we facilitated and explored collaborative methods and tools for:

  • Defining goals
  • Defining roles in the project – who does what?
  • Mapping and analysis of major stakeholders around the project
  • Risk analysis
  • Developing a common vision
  • Identifying expectations
  • Setting the rules / philosophy / etiquette

Taking time identifying expectations, drivers and motivation for the project members is very important in the start up phase of a project. This reveals the competence of the group and creates an opportunity for each and everyone to be “seen” as an important project member.

Another area well worth exploring is to create a process around setting the rules of the group – how we should work during the project.

Spisska Kapitula

















Our third meeting in Krakow, Poland – exploring the group competence

By now the project members felt secure and safe within the group and we all shared the same goal for the project. We knew each other’s core competences and respected the diversity within the group. In order to further explore the group thinking and drive creativity we now worked with Open Space. A 3 day session that resulted in a mutual action planning defining various areas for working and also addressing the responsibility for the actions.

The different stages in Open Space process can also be described as a continuously monitoring of the learning process and quality assurance.















Our fourth meeting in Berlin, Germany - Evaluation and learning

Our focus at this last meeting was to support by means of facilitation the summing up of the project. What conclusions can be drawn? What are the lessons learned?

Collaborative methods and tools for recapitulating what has happened, what conclusions can be drawn and what have we learned created a deeper insight for the participants. It also helps the group to be more exact and concrete in what has been the strengths in the project enabling the process of monitoring and quality assuring the ongoing project as well as doing differently in the next project.

Karolina Evaluation












Last changed by Sabrina Tschiche on 20/10/2010

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