Ink Strategy’s most recent quest was to Ukraine, where we facilitated a two-day workshop with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). We worked intensively with the Operations Director and Country Director to facilitate one of the largest groups we have ever worked with. Just East of Kiev we joined their yearly retreat of around 230 people to bring in our concepts of visualisation to engage the participants and work together on the programme’s yearly objectives.
In a country with so much political turmoil it was a learning experience for us; the ongoing conflict has seen some 10,000 people killed, and over two million displaced inside and outside Ukraine. Understanding and accommodating the sensitivities of the participants and the impact the conflict has had on the national economy and social capital was key in ensuring a successful two days.
Facilitating with Energy
Our two day workshop helped participants gain an aligned vision on three key strategic concepts in line with the UNDP Sustainable Development goals: gender equality, innovative partnerships and office sustainability. Our visualisations and numerous engagement activities, or ‘energisers,’ created a welcoming space where participants could contribute their own thoughts and experiences which fed into the larger group. To ensure all participants involvement we employed several techniques to consider individuals’ learning approaches – a challenging yet fulfilling task with such a large group. Our four favourite energisers included:
- Concentric circles: a relaxed way for groups to get to know each other.
- Clap Snap Association: an ice breaker that can be used to get the juices flowing before a brainstorm.
- Pulse game: an icebreaker to get 40 people to work together using quick reflexes
- Marshmallow challenge: By far our favourite game to play with a large group encouraging everyone to access a creative frame of mind
We then gave all 230 people the know-how to draw and visualise the projects that were discussed, empowering everyone with a new skill to help them achieve the objectives.
The output of a visual thinking workshop
Facilitating for the Future
To sum it all up, the focus of this project was internal change of strategic initiatives; as we develop our relationship relationship with the UNDP in Ukraine we aim to work on a broader scale bringing us closer to our vision of creating a globally accepted cultural change process. We benefitted from working with such a large group, adding new skills to our current expertise and gaining insights into large group facilitation.