I created the Facilitation Canvas as a tool to help facilitators prepare to run a session. We use it as part of our ICAgile team facilitator course. The canvas is made up of 8 boxes, each with an associated set of prompt questions that I have found work well as a guide when filling it out.
- What are we looking to achieve?
- Are we trying to make a decision, brainstorm options, or align?
- What are the implications if we don’t achieve this purpose?
- Who needs to be part of this session and what is their role?
- Do we have all the right people to achieve our purpose?
- What is the size of the group? Will they know one another?
- Can you be the neutral facilitator?
- What inputs (e.g. data, SMEs, insights, prototypes) need to be brought along to the session for background and discussion?
How will we structure the session? consider the following 6 steps:
- Open (Set context, confirm and agree purpose)
- Background (establish data and facts)
- Discussion (focus on the group’s opinions and views)
- Ideas (what are the opportunities and options)
- Actions (agree decisions and next steps)
- How will you create the environment in which the participants can achieve their desired purpose?
- What techniques / exercises will help facilitate the session?
- How should the physical environment be set up?
- What materials will you need?
- What are the outcomes needed to make the session a success?
- What difference needs to be achieved to reach the agreed purpose (e.g. alignment, consensus, prioritisation)?
- How will you as the facilitator know if the outcomes have been met?
- What physical outputs / deliverables are expected to be produced in this session?
- What could hinder the session?
- What are potential problems with the group you are engaging?
- What could prevent them from achieving their purpose?
So how do you use it?
Here’s how I use it when I’m preparing to facilitate a session.
- Download a pdf copy of the Facilitation Canvas (alternatively Download a copy with transparent prompts for more space to make facilitation notes)
- Print in out in A3 (that’s Tabloid or Ledger for you people in the North of America!)
- Work through the canvas with your stakeholders as you prepare to facilitate your session – this is where the questions come in handy.
Downolad Facilitation Canvas with transparent prompts