My name is Jara Dean-Coffey, and I am the principal and founder of jdcPartnerships (www.jdcpartnerships.com). We partner with our clients to build their adaptive, strategic and leadership capacity and do so by using an evaluative inquiry approach to strategy formation, evaluation and assessment, leadership development and technical assistance and training. Our clients are in all sectors with the unifying purpose of striving to affect positive social change. Because we work in the intersection of disciplines, a lot of our initial work is about helping our clients get clear.
Hot Tip: Developing and using group process and facilitation skills is a important part of our tool kit and we are constantly finding ways to enhance. Often when working with a full organization, across organizations or community wide, we use a graphic recorder. A graphic recorder is, in short, a visual practitioner. The use of color, spatial placement of words, images and concepts has been incredibly powerful in our work around strategy and evaluation. The bonus: Clients LOVE IT. Instead of getting a 20 page bulleted report of a retreat, we give them a graphic record reflecting their words and process and a cover memo summarizing themes, recommendations and next steps. And for those who could not be at the meeting, they get a sense of the flavor of the conversation and its spirit and soul. Because ultimately, we are people doing this work. If you’d like to see an example created for our firm during a 2-day retreat to develop a Theory of Change with the full staff of a mid-size social sector organization, I have uploaded one into the AEA eLibrary at http://bit.ly/jdcGraphicFacilitationExample.
Rad Resource: Check out the International Forum of Visual Practitioners Website (http://www.visualpractitioner.org/) for more information on the history and range of skill that they can bring to a process. Another key resource is Grove Consultants (www.grove.com). They not only provide graphic facilitation services but a great range of tools that you can integrate in to your practice. They also have an affiliate program where you can find a consultants to support your work.