I have delivered bespoke training sessions focussing on how DeBono Six Thinking Hats could be used in Strategic Community Safety, Decision Making, Leadership Communication, Change Management, Developing Strategy, Negotiating and Influencing skills, Team Building and Chairing Meetings. Although it was never the intention of these training inputs I was often approached by one or some of the attendees following them to ask if I could help them with a specific issue/problem/challenge they were facing. At the end of a half day input on effectively chairing meetings leading to outcomes I was approached by a senior officer attendee who was heading up a Scottish Government initiative for Protecting Adults from Financial Harm. Initially I was unsure if the approach would be feasible as the key messages and expected outcomes he needed to deliver for were significantly more complex than I would normally have considered feasible. However I was keen to support him as this was an issue I was passionate about, my elderly mother had recently been the victim of a crime which came under this category. I had to consider an innovative approach to creative thinking!
Over the years I have been asked to apply the technique in challenging ways, which has driven me to develop different facilitation skills and ways of encouraging contribution and breaking down barriers with different sized groups. Financial crime is a complex set of circumstances which needs to be dealt with using robust partnership working, this was not a police specific issue. The events he wanted to plan involved the majority of the partner organisations, these were not going to be small groups.
The initial national workshop we developed was attended by senior decision makers from nearly 30 major organisations from the public, private and third sector. Individuals were challenged through the activities to consider the barriers to working effectively together and encouraged to develop solutions through creative thinking exercises. Two further local workshops in Angus and Argyll and Bute were also delivered to develop the solutions further into actions.
With the numbers attending I had to develop a focussed process using the various tools to ensure that everyone attending had to opportunity to contribute and be heard and that we had methods to capture solutions and actions. This was the beginning of me considering synthesising my own approach to facilitation.