Saturday, January 21, 2012

Online or f2f brainstorming?

'There is no better situation, than seeing each other's eyes  and use your brains while interacting at the same place at the same time'. This is what I hear regularly as feedback from my colleague facilitators and clients. However, nowadays there are free online applications available, which can be used while brainstorming at different places at the same time.
Recently I applied in one of my training courses about 'Facilitation Methods'.  Spiderscribe can be used in the combination with skype (teleconferencing) for doing:
  • a brainstorm workshop with postes
  • debates
  • creative brainstorming using mindmap applications
  • evaluations

Impressions of the Training Facilitation Methods with online tools at animoto:

Try our video maker at Animoto.

Advantages online brainstorming
Online brainstorming provides the following advantages:
  • You can do it at a distance with a group of people online at the same time;
  • The software of spiderscribe is user friendly, for free and easy applicable;
  • The lay-out is professional
  • Participants' ideas stay anonymous. Since the f2f handwriting and f2f interaction is not visible, participants are not hindered by hierarchy or pre-assumptions about people in the group;
  • By seeing ideas of other people at the virtual wall, participants are stimulated to gain insights for new ideas

Disadvantages are:
  • There is no f2f interaction, although there are possibilities to support the brainstorm with webcams connections through Bigmarker or Google+;
  • Participants can get blocked in their brainstorming process by seeing the ideas of others;
  • The facilitator does not have control at the participants. It is not clear if they participate or do other things during the brainstorming phase;
  • A group size of 5 - 8 participants is the optimal group size for doing online brainstorming sessions. In a f2f setting, brainstorming can be done with 5 - 50 participants.

Potential for online facilitation
Online brainstorming has great potential. More and more free software and user friendly brainstorm applications become available. Spiderscribe is excellent!
In the training Facilitation Methods which I conduced on behalf of the Hendrik Kreamer Institute on the 9th and 10th January, 2012  the participants (a group of Young Professional Researchers) responded enthousiastically.  'It is easy to learn',  'Intuitive and applicable for long distance communication'.
If you are interested on how to become an online facilitator, consult 

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Making a video about the future of the consultant in international development

'Follow your heart, use your brains!'  This was the title of the video that opened the 25th Anniversary of the Nedworc Association on the 6th January 2012 in Amsterdam.  Nedworc is a network of development consultants in international development co-operation.  In October 2011  Erica WortelJoke Oranje and Simon Koolwijk developed in partnership with the Nedworc Anniversary committee the scenario for a video about the future development in the sector of international development co-operation.  The future of the sector,  developments on the labor market for consultants,  professional development and the future of the consultant were the main discussion threads for the development of the video.

See video:  'Follow your heart, use your brains!' (in Dutch)

The process of video making
After developing the scenario  Erica Wortel and Joke Oranje selected member consultants with various backgrounds eg. livestock advisor, forestry researcher, director of a consultancy agency,  a  participatory research and game specialist and a professional coach/ organisational development advisor.   On the 4th November 2011   Helena Immiga-Berends, Lucy Maarse, Frank van Schoubroek, Rolf Posthouwer and Hilde van Hulst - Mooibroek shared their views about the developments in the international development co-operation sector.
Before filming the interviewees,  Erica and Joke conducted in-depth interviews, whereafter the video interviews were made.   The camera work was done by Simon Koolwijk.  Light, decor, acoustics were optimalized.  About 70 minutes of video was taped.  Normally the ration between video tapes taken and the actual finalized video has a ratio of 7:1.    It took about 3 working days to make the first draft of the video.  In early december 2011 feedback was collected from the interviewees followed by a 2nd and 3rd round of editting. This took in total 2 working days.  One of the big discoveries that was done on how to make the right video conversion in Adobe Premiere elements from images of ratio 4:3 to 16:9.   A search at google helped to solve the problem.  Watch video Video tutorial Adobe Premiera Elements.   Read more about how to make smart short video message at 'The art of making short video messages'

Video as a reference
The video production was shown at the beginning of the 25th Anniversary of the Nedworc Association.   It became a good reference. The key note speaker Louk de la Rive Box, former director of ISS,  stressed that team co-operation, innovation, professional development and using intercultural development experience will be the main factors that will make consultants in international development effective and successfull in the future.    Janneke Juffermans (author of Grenzeloos Gedreven), the conference speaker,  facilitated the plenary discussion between Louk de la Rive Box and the attendees of the 25th Anniversary.

Lessons,  team co-operation and co-creation
The process of video making with Erica Wortel and Joke Oranje was a useful experience. Through team co-operation  I was able to enlarge my knowledge and skills in:
  • How to make a successful video production in one day;
  • How to involve the interviewees in the feedback of the editing process;
  • Learning how to see things from a esthetic, journalistic and more challenging perspective in developing the video story;
  • Video-editing.  I discovered a lot of new ways on how to improve the editted video shots;
  • Discovering it gives a lot of energy if the process is a two-ways learning process while doing co-creation

It was a nice and useful experience!  Thanks for everybody who was involved in the video production.