This year, my first book about facilitation was published, “Facilitating Collaboration.” (available as a Kindle book now) In the first few pages though, I was forced to confront the impending obsolescence of most of its content, as in, our facilitation work of recent past, is about to be significantly augmented by data and computers.
Shortly after publishing, with input from consulting companies that I’ve worked with and in partnership with the consulting company that I am currently a part of, a new software company spin off was born.
This organization is focused on the importance of relationships between people, and helping team members understand that the Future of Work is simply a “complex pattern of communicative interactions between interdependent individuals.” @EskoKilpi — a pattern that can be seen and improved with lots of data, processing power and the right design integration.
That said, I am guilty of failing to facilitate the importance of connections in the room for the past 20 years. Sure I have been hyper-focused on ensuring clients get what they want, usually by well-crafted design and facilitation focused on achieving 9 months worth of work in 3 days. And I have been a part of teams between 2 and 80 people, facilitating 15 to 50,000 person events that achieve these goals. But, I have spent less than 1% of the time with an intentional focus on the participants truly understanding and leveraging their connected intelligence: building relationships with the ‘right’ people in the room to ensure proven networked performance and agility in the future.
"Now, more and more, I am spending upwards of 50% of facilitation time focused on people and their networks, as well as their ability to solve problems based on how well they share information, knowledge, connections, talent, resources, etc. — including ‘how’ they communicate."
My hypothesis is that over time, focusing on intelligent relationships and the way and speed
"I am not giving up on the facilitation I have honed, but rather empowering it with data and relationships in ways I never used to think possible."
I believe we are at the beginning of a new facilitation/collaboration transformation.
- Just as expertise in Adobe Photoshop was kept to a tiny niche of people — today those same skills are in the hands of billions of people with Snapchat and Instagram
- Just as targeted marketing to the masses used to be only in the hands of Coke and GE, one person can now market to every micro industry worldwide with 2 clicks — thank you Google Adwords
- Just as facilitators listened to sponsors/leaders and their objectives, now a narrow Artificial Intelligent agent will supply the nuanced modules/activities for the facilitator to choose from
- Just as corporate leaders formerly chose who and why people were placed together on project teams and breakouts… now, massive simulations of similarly profiled executives will continuously move people around real time to maximize impact
The facilitation and collaboration industry is in for a big shift. We are the leaders in complex collaboration, but to improve our work, our jobs, our world, we MUST democratize, empower and re-think how we share facilitation and collaboration.
Our consulting network and the more progressive facilitators have been embracing new approaches and technology for years. In noticing the market gap for data-driven, unbiased team creation, we have built two software products that launched earlier this year — highlights below (contact me is you would like to know the other awesome tools we are using!):
1) Mobile Teams, aka Quick Connectors: A simple way to make sure the right people in a room (or online) meet each other. Using everything from artificial intelligence to real-time social graphs, the real beauty of this software though is that it allows everyone to see the hidden communication patterns, the hidden power, and bottlenecks of people… and the way in which it can all be improved. No app, just 90 seconds of engaged participant time to re-think how they might start taking this journey with you.
2) Pro Teams — a comprehensive approach utilizing all available data to create the highest performing teams based on your own business rules, objectives and our proven data outputs. Companies are using this to structure entire project teams and divisions… conferences are leveraging to engineer participants interactions over time for a stronger impact and all of this feeds back into our data models improving how people can best perform together.
Stay tuned for more demonstrations and case studies on how a variety of organizations and educational institutions are using this software to transform their work.
In the meantime, my network is the core driver of my work and I hope to hear from you on best practices, ideas, and improvements. Welcome to the Collaboration Revolution, I look forward to sharing this journey with you.
Please reach out to me on Twitter.