Photo: A moment of calm along the river Marne.
I ran a series of remote workshops for an international aid organization with my collaborator Alex; bridging six countries, two languages and many levels of hierarchy to help bring about more structure in how they coordinate among themselves. Our eyes had been opened to the possibilities of remote workshop-ing with the Full Circle Leadership workshop last year, and Alex had recruited me to this project so that we could build upon that experience. The common advice for remote facilitation focuses on tools and the practicalities of being remote – in the vein of “yes, it’s possible!” – but what I find most interesting are the considerations for emotional engagement, and what we as facilitators need to do to strengthen the sense of being present. I find that the energy needed to hold space for people to come together is intensified by the lack of physical interaction. It’s a fine dance between control and letting go. There are half a dozen articles we’ve loosely mapped out to document what we learned… let’s see how far we get 😛
Many of those new skills were applied immediately to the ResearchOps Town Hall that Dave Hora, Judith Mühlenhoff and I organized on Wednesday. This is a public online event that the ResearchOps community runs each month, rotating hosts and topics, and it was time to start talking publicly about the Researcher Skills Workshop!
The call for folks to organize workshops in their own cities is now live, which you can read about in this article below. We’ve been quite open and inclusive about the process in the last 4mo, working out loud in public Slack channels and running a few trial workshops, but having 50 people listening in and interacting real-time brought the conversations to a different level.
My work with Design Research Tokyo continues at an uneven and frenetic clip, as I alternate between feeding the fire and fanning the flames.
Here’s the one that we announced mid-week, which garnered 143 sign-ups for 120 seats in a couple of days.
We have three upcoming events, which sounds crazy, but feasible because the programming for two of them are done by other people. I really like being in a showrunner role, charting the course for the “season”, without having to be MC.
I’m also trying to be more conscious about inviting people in to get involved in the organizing side of things, too. Whenever someone is feeling overwhelmed, instead of working harder, I turn it around and say “Let’s see if someone can help”. Or if someone comes along with suggestions, I try to draw it out and then hand back the ownership of the idea.
No workshops or big meetings next week, and I’m looking forward to some solo working time. A chunk of it will be dedicated to preparing my talk for this Google Design Sprint event.