SDG Toolkit Facilitated Workshop - Guide for Facilitators

Facilitators guide & content to deliver the 1.5 day workshop Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals applying systems thinking and collaborative responses.

Congratulations on deciding to facilitate this workshop – we look forward to supporting you. In this section we help you prepare in 3 ways:

  • Preparing yourself – getting across the design and content of the workshop
  • Getting all the workshop logistics in place
  • Providing you materials to start promoting your workshop

The workshop is run over 1.5 days covering 14 learning sessions. This online resource:

  • Describes each learning session in detail – see table below
  • Provides resources including videos to play, power point packs to use, and template for group exercises
  • Includes facilitator notes and tips
Session #PurposeLengthResources
Day One
1Welcome and purpose30 minutes10 minute video for playing to participants and facilitator notes
2Who is in the room?30 minutesIce breaker exercise with power point slide and detailed instructions
3What is complexity35 minutes20 minute video and exercise for application
4What is systems change?25 minutes12 minute video and exercise for application
5Learning how to diagnose systems15 minutes10 minute video
6Case Study: the Kokoda Trail25 minutes18 minute video
7Application: Using the system assessment tool75 minutes60 minute video and exercise for application
8Facilitated reflection20 minutesFacilitator notes
9How do you design a collaborative response?40 minutes20 minute video and exercise for application
10Debrief and Reflection40 minutesFacilitation Notes
Day Two
11Welcome and reflections15 minutesFacilitator notes
12How do you start a collaborative response?30 minutes15 minute video and exercise for application
13How do you build a common agenda?30 minutes15 minute video and exercise for application
14Key learnings and next steps35 minutesFacilitator notes and exercises

Preparing yourself

As a facilitator you can become more competent and confident in the content in two ways:

  • Undertake ACFID's Individual Online course. This will introduce you to the content as a learner.
  • Work your way through this online facilitators resource, which will introduce you to the content as facilitator. As a facilitator you have the choice to:
    • Use the videos provided to deliver the content (quicker and easier)
    • Become sufficiently familiar with the content to present the content yourself.

Register to deliver this workshop

Please complete this quick (5 minute) survey which will register you to deliver the workshop. As a free resource this survey provides ACFID a way to see who is using the Toolkit and Facilitator materials.

Getting the logistics all lined up

As with all group work, the following things will need to be in place before you can start promoting the workshop:

  • Registration with ACFID as a course facilitator
  • Determining the size of the course (we recommend between 15 – 30 participants)
  • Determining the date
  • Booking a venue – we recommend cabaret style seating
  • Establishing a registration process that captures participants names, contact details and dietary requirements
  • Determining the cost of the course, if any

With these things in place you are ready to start promoting the workshop.

Promoting the workshop to participants

Below is some text for you to use and adapt in your promotional communications and materials. We also provide an example ACFID flyer for inspiration.

Workshop - Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals: applying systems thinking and collaborative responses.

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) have the potential to be transformational if we embrace them in all their complexity. They are an agenda for change. Transformation, by definition, cannot be achieved through existing ways of working. New ways of working need to be explored, tested and adopted.

ACFID is focusing its work on the SDGs around four elements which we see as essential for transformational change.

  • Thinking systemically
  • Working collaboratively
  • Reporting on impact, and
  • Going beyond business as usual.

<Insert your organisation name> has partnered with ACFID to offer this workshop. The workshop will allow participants to explore and test systems change and collaborative responses as a way of working differently. ACFID believes that these approaches are essential to achieving the SDGs.

Covering 15 modules in 1.5 days in this workshop will increase your:

  • Understanding of systems thinking and collaboration as approaches to achieve large-scale impact
  • Skills and confidence to apply systems thinking by practicing using systems assessment tools.
  • Skills and confidence to apply collaborative responses to achieve systems change through practical frameworks and tools to start, design and sustain a strategic and structured collaborative response.

Insert course details:

  • Location
  • Facilitators
  • Date
  • Cost
  • Number of participants (if applicable)
  • Registration details

Participants will be required to read the 3 articles below before attending the training

As an example, here is the flyer ACFID used when the course was being piloted.

Resources you will need

A sample run sheet - This downloadable run sheet is provided in word so you can add the specific details of your workshop and use it to make preparatory notes. You can cut and paste any parts of this online resource into your sample run sheet.

The power point slides - The downloadable slides are provided in power point so you can add your logo/s and make any changes.


Learning session 1: Welcome and purpose

Purpose:

To introduce workshop participants to the Sustainable Development Goals and why ACFID believes systems thinking and collaboration are needed to achieve the goals.

Estimated session time

30 minutes:

  • 5 minutes: Acknowledgment / Welcome to country
  • 10 minutes: Workshop purpose and introduction of facilitators
  • 10 minutes: Play video 1 of Marc Purcell, ACFID CEO
  • 5 mins: Q&A

Resources

Video 1: Why are system thinking and collaborative responses important to achieving the SDGs? 

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips

The content of this workshop will challenge the way participants lead and design their social impact work. It is possible that some may find the experience uncomfortable. As such, it will be important to open the workshop by:

  • Connecting the workshop to purpose. People are participating in the workshop because they are curious about or driven to more impactful change. As facilitators, you must strongly ground the workshop in this purpose. Participants will tolerate higher levels of discomfort if they feel the learning experience is anchored in their purpose.
  • Establishing a strong narrative about learning together and exploring new ways of working. New ways of working generally do not happen by default - the current way of working is too dominant. If people, organisations and systems want to adopt new ways of working that change needs to be intentional – which requires learning and experimentation.

Learning session 2: Who is in the room?

Purpose:

A fun ice-breaker exercise that allows participants to introduce themselves, start to engage with the workshop content, get relaxed in the room and tell stories. 

Estimated session time

20 minutes:

  • 3 minutes explaining the Collaboration Continuum and setting up the exercise
  • 17 minutes of workshop participants introducing themselves and telling stories

Resources

Facilitator notes and tips

  • Explain that we are going to get to know a bit about each other through an exercise called the collaboration continuum. This will require you to get up on your feet, engaging with some content, and introduce yourself by telling stories.
  • Start by using the power point slide to introduce people to the collaborative continuum. Have the stages of the continuum laid down on the ground over 6 – 10 meters.
  • Important framing messages

o The purpose is for us to develop a shared understanding of all the different ways we can work with others – what all the ‘co’ words mean. Importantly for our workshop today, it will help us understand what collaboration is and what it isn’t.

o Explain the continuum step by step – bringing it to life through examples. As you are explaining each step, move yourself along the words on the ground.

o The continuum is not judgmental. It doesn’t say that competition is bad and that we should all be aiming for collective impact. In fact, competition is present within collective impact and only some situations warrant a collective impact response. Rather, the continuum helps understand that there are a lot of different ways of working with others, each suited to different contexts. Some people prefer to see the continuum as a ladder, meaning you can step up a ‘rung’ or you can take two rungs at a time, but the point is to find the rung that best suits the work to be done.

o Ask workshop participants to get up and stand on the continuum in the place that represents their or their organisation’s DOMINANT way of working. Acknowledge that people will work at different stages of the continuum all the time – but what is their dominant way.

o When people have settled, start interviewing participants. It is a good idea to start at the fringes, asking them to introduce themselves (name and where they are from) and then explain why they are standing where they are. Once you have heard some stories from the fringes, interview some others along the continuum, encouraging interaction between participants.

o Next ask them, where they think they need to be standing in order to contribute to the SGDs. Most people will move up the continuum. First interview those that don’t move or only move a little. Next, ask those who moved up to collaboration and collective impact to talk about the things that are stopping them working this way now. Each time someone speaks, ask them to introduce themselves.

o Once everyone has said something, ask the group to take their seats.


Learning session 3: What is complexity?

Purpose:

To introduce workshop participants to complex challenges – what are they? How are they different from other problem types? And what is the most appropriate response?

Estimated session time:

35 mins:

  • 18 minute content (Video 2 or facilitators presenting)
  • 15 minute facilitated discussion

Resources:

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips

This content generally resonates with people as it reflects their experiences of the world. The most valuable part of this content is that it provides a shared language to describe different problem types and the most appropriate response type.

To embed the content and get people to start using the framework and language you can do a few things:

  • Facilitate a discussion about the insights people have had. Ask them to ground their insights in their work (ie not theory). Encourage dialogue by asking participants to build on and extend each other insights or examples.
     
  • Facilitate a short small group activity using the template below. Once groups have completed the template, facilitate a sharing of key insights from the activity.
     

List two complex challenges you or your organisation are grappling with. Briefly explain why you think they are complex and the type of response you/your organisation is currently bringing to address them.

Complex challenges

Why they are complex?

Current type of response:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Additional learning resources:


Learning session 4: What is system change?

Purpose:

To introduce workshop participants to systems change – what is it? How does systems change happen? What types of strategies or interventions change systems?

Estimated session time

25 mins:

  • 12 minute content (Video 3 or facilitators presenting)
  • 12 minute facilitated discussion

Resources

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips

This content can be challenging for participants. Often participants are learning about systems change for the first time. It will be important to allow participants to cement some key points being:

  • Programs alone can’t achieve large-scale impact (eg population level change) as they generally only impact on those who engage with the programs
  • Systems change seeks to change the conditions so that the problems being experienced by people are averted or lessened
  • A combination of program AND systemic interventions is needed to drive large scale impact
  • Systems change is an accessible and learnable approach to driving impact and achieving the SDGs

Some suggested questions for the facilitated discussion are:

  • In what ways is systems change different from creating social impact through programs?
  • What key insights emerged for you about systems change?
  • What might this mean for your current practice?

Additional learning resources:


Learning session 5: Learning how to diagnose systems

Purpose:

To introduce workshop participants to system thinking – how do you assess systems and determine where to intervene?

Estimated session time

15 mins:

  • 10 minute content (Video 4 or facilitators presenting)
  • 5 minute facilitated discussion

Resources

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips:

This session is straight forward and will cement the concepts and language introduced so far. Ideally, it will start to make participants feels more comfortable with systems change as they will see credible organisations implementing it using accessible frameworks and approaches.


Learning session 6: Case Study: the Kokoda Trail

Purpose:

To introduce workshop participants to a live case study – the Kokoda Trail. The content in this case study will allow participants to apply the RAPTA system assessment tool in the Learning Session 7.

Estimated session time:

25 mins:

  • 18 minute content (play video 5)
  • 7 minute small group discussion

Resources

Video 5: Kodoka case study - 18 minute video of Mark Webster, ADRA CEO

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips:

This session is also straight forward. Play the video and encourage participants to take notes as the video is the only input they will receive for the next exercise.

After the video, give small groups some time to talk about the key things that struck them about the Kokoda case.


Learning session 7: Application: Using the system assessment tool

Purpose:

To provide workshop participants with instructions on how to use the RAPTA system assessment tool.

Estimated session time:

75 mins:

  • 9 minute content (Video 6 or facilitators presenting)
  • 65 minute small group exercise

Resources:

Video 6: Instructions on how to use the RAPTA system assessment tool - 9 minute video of Micahela Cosijn, CSIRO.

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips

Introduce the activity by framing it as experimenting with a new way of working. Explain that in small groups participants will have the opportunity to apply the system assessment tool to the Kokoda case study. It will be important to share that this activity is not about getting the system assessment of Kokoda correct – a comprehensive assessment would need more time. This exercise is about ‘trying system assessment on for size’ - having an experience of systems thinking.

Provide small groups with the following materials:

  • A large piece of paper, preferably A3 or A2.
  • Two different coloured small post-it note pads
  • A dark coloured texta

It is best to break the activity into movements, providing instructions at each stage:

Instructions for Movement 1 (10 mins)

  • Ask the small groups to draw the system assessment tool template on a large piece of paper. [NB: Facilitators –show the slide of the system assessment tool as you are talking]

o Put an oval in the middle of the page for the key issue. 

o At the top of the page, on the left of the key issue oval, write ‘indirect causes’ and ‘direct causes’

o At the top of the page, on the right of the key issue oval write ‘direct impacts’ and ‘indirect impacts’.

  • Ask the small groups to talk together about the issues presented in the Kakoda case study and decide on the one the most want to work on.
  • Ask them to write the agreed issue in the oval at the centre of the page.

Instructions for Movement 2 (45 mins)

  • Ask small groups to use one colour of post-it notes for causes and another colour for impacts and start placing post-it notes on the paper. 
  • Explain that groups will likely move between adding causes and impact. It might also happen that something is written as an impact and later changes to be a cause, and vice versa.
  • Once groups are comfortable with the causes and impacts you have generated, draw in arrows showing:

o which indirect causes contribute to direct causes

o which direct impacts contribute to indirect impacts.

  • Once groups are comfortable with the linkages they have made, ask them start looking for feedback loops. Explain that they are looking for relationships between impacts and causes – where a direct/indirect impact contributes to a direct/indirect cause. Explain that in the first instance, groups are likely to identify feedback loops that are positive – meaning they amplify the cause or impact (make it worse). Encourage them to take more time to find feedback loops that dampen the cause or impact (make it lesser).
  • Lastly, once groups are comfortable with the feedback loops you have identified and drawn, ask them to consider the interventions required and mark it with a star. If possible, prioritise the intervention points in order of significance where 1 is most significant.
  • Facilitators note – It is common that the groups move through the activity at different paces so you will need to move regularly between the small groups to help them make progress. Some groups often take some time to get started and will need help. Almost all groups need prompting to move:

o  from mapping causes and impacts to start doing the causal linkage arrows.

o From doing causal linkage arrows to feedback loops

o From mapping feedback loops to identifying and prioritising interventions points.

Instructions for Movement 3 (10 mins)

  • Once all groups have determined and prioritised their interventions points, ask them to list the stakeholders that they need to engage in order to implement the interventions points.
  • And finally, ask them what SDGs are being progressed through the intervention points that have been identified and prioritised.

Learning session 8: Facilitated reflection

Purpose:

To support workshop participants to reflect on the application of systems thinking into their own context. How does it feel? What are the anticipated barriers?

Estimated session time:

20 minutes

Facilitator notes and tips:

By now participants will likely have been:

  • Introduced to new content and frameworks
  • Introduced to new language
  • Able to apply the new content, frameworks and language through the experimenting with the system assessment tool.

The purpose of this facilitated reflection is to:

  • Debrief the experience of using the system assessment tool. Note – it will be important to reinforce that the exercise was about experimentation, not getting the system assessment ‘right’. 
  • Allow participants to step back and reflect on the morning and examine what is arising for them
  • Close off the content on systems thinking and open up the content on collaborative responses.

Suggested reflective questions;

  • How was that experience for you / your group?
  • How is this approach and content sitting with you? What interests you about it? What makes you feel uncomfortable?
  • What key insights emerged for you about systems thinking and system change?
  • What might this mean for your current practice?

Learning session 9: How do you design collaborative responses?

Purpose:

To introduce workshop participants to frameworks for convening collaborative responses that create system change.

Estimated session time

40 mins:

  • 15 minute content (Video 7 or facilitators presenting)
  • 25 minute facilitated discussion

Resources

Video 7: How do you design collaborative responses? 15 minute video of Kerry Graham, Collaboration for Impact Director.

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips:

It will be important to ‘mark’ for participants that the workshop focus is changing. The day so far as been spent on system thinking and we are now moving to learn and explore collaborative responses.

The framing for the change in content is:

  • At the end of our system assessment we have identified and prioritied the key systemic intervention points and the stakeholders required to make impact. 
  • We need to understand how we might engage these stakeholders in an effective collaborative process that achieves the intended impact of system change. Change will not be possible without stakeholders collaborating to implement the interventions. So how do we do that?
  • Then play the video or present the same content

After the video, participants will be in a similar position as they were in the morning. It is likely that they will heard new content, new frameworks and new language. It will be important to provide some time and processes for them to become more familiar with these and start applying them to their own context.

Suggested facilitation reflection:

  • In small groups, discuss what is arising for you from the content on collaborative responses? What interests you? What makes you uncomfortable? As a group share your key questions and prioritise 2 to share with the whole group
  • Bring the attention of the small groups back to the front and first ask participants if they have experiences of working in collaborations to address complexity and drive systems change. Encourage some participants to briefly share their story about a collaboration they were involved with.
  • When 2 -3 stories are in the room, return to questions prioritised by small groups. When addressing these questions, leverage the experiences of those in the room who have shared an experience of collaboration. What insights would they share around these questions?
     

Learning session 10: Debrief and Reflection

Purpose:

To support workshop participants to reflect on the day’s content – share their key insights/aha moments and where they were challenged.

Estimated session time:

40 minutes

Facilitator notes and tips:

The session is to close the first day of the workshop.

Begin by framing it as the closing session. Provide an overview of the workshop and the sessions covered:

Revisit and re-ground the content in purpose – that new ways of working are needed if we are to achieve the SDGs

Remind participants that systems thinking and collaborative responses are not the ‘dominant’ way of working so it is normal and natural that it may feel clunky, overwhelming and removed from how we work now

Walk through each session, taking time to draw in key insights that participants have shared.

Then ask participants as a whole or in small groups to talk about:

  • What is arising for them?
  • What might be some of the barriers for working this way?
  • What might be some of the enablers for working this way?
  • What might this way of working mean for their own practice as social impact leaders?
  • What might this way of working mean for their organisation?

Encourage participants to dialogue by building off and expanding points made by their colleagues.

At a natural point, draw the conversation to a close and start framing Day 2 of the workshop:

  • Confirm the logistics – start time, finish time etc
  • Provide an overview of the content to be covered on Day 2
  • Encourage participants to jot down any thoughts or insights that emerge overnight.
  • Thank them for the day.

Learning session 11: Welcome and reflections on Day 1

Purpose:

To set the scene for Day 2 and surface any thoughts or reactions that have emerged overnight

Estimated session time

15 minutes

Facilitator notes and tips

Welcome participants back to Day 2. Facilitate a brief discussion that ‘lands’ people back in the room, in the content and frames Day 2.

Suggested framing and questions:

What thoughts or insights emerged for you overnight?

What is sitting with you this morning?

At a natural point – ideally when people start asking how to start a collaborative response - move from facilitated discussion to overviewing the content for the day.


Learning session 12: How do you start a collaborative response?

Purpose:

To share and explore the pre-conditions and mindset needed for collaborative responses.

Estimated session time

30 mins:

  • 15 minute content (Video 8 or facilitators presenting)
  • 15 minute facilitated discussion

Resources

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips

Facilitate a whole group discussion around the work required to start a collaborative process.

Suggested questions:

  • Do you think the required mindset exists in you/your organisation/your collaborators to start a collaborative approach to tackle a complex challenge? 
  • If yes, why? 
  • If no, what action might need to be taken to intentionally strengthen and grow this required mindset?
  • What key insights emerged for you about what is required to start working collaboratively to address a complex problem?

Additional resources

Tamarack Institute – getting started

Collective Impact Forum – getting started


Learning session 13: How do you build a common agenda?

Purpose:

To share and explore a process to build a common agenda across diverse stakeholders.

Estimated session time

30 mins:

  • 15 minute content (Video 9 or facilitators presenting)
  • 15 minute facilitated discussion

Resources

View the Powerpoint that accompanies this presentation.

 

Facilitator notes and tips

This session will work best if you present this content yourself. Consider watching the video a few times to become familiar with the content and confident enough to do it yourself on the white board.

This session also works best if you are interacting with participants as you are drawing the process for developing a common agenda. Pause for questions at natural places and encourage people to ask questions as you go.

Suggested facilitated discussion questions:

  • What insights and reactions arise in you when thinking about developing a common agenda in this way? What are the implications for your practice or your organisation or existing collaboration?

Additional resources


Learning session 14: Key learnings and next steps

Purpose:

To reflect on systems thinking and collaborative responses as an approach to achieving the SDGs.

Estimated session time

35 minutes

Facilitator notes and tips

The session is to close the workshop.

Begin by framing it as the closing session. Again, provide an overview of the workshop and the sessions covered:

  • Revisit and re-ground the content in purpose – that new ways of working are needed if we are to achieve the SDGs
  • Remind participants that systems thinking and collaborative responses are not the ‘dominant’ way of working so it is normal and natural that it may feel clunky, overwhelming and removed from how we work now
  • Walk through each session, taking time to draw in key insights that participants have shared.

Then ask participants to take 5 minutes on their own and answer the question:

  • What are three things you will take away and do differently as a result of this workshop.

Invite those who are comfortable to share what they will do differently. Encourage participants to dialog by building off and expanding points made by their colleagues.

At a natural point, change focus and ask participants to share their feedback on the workshop experience. In small groups, ask them to draw on a piece of butchers paper a large ‘T’ with:

  • ‘WWW’ – what worked well on the left-hand side of the T
  • ‘EBI” – even better if…. on the right-hand side of the T
     

Give small groups 8 – 10 minutes to complete this exercise. At the end of the workshop, collect all the butchers paper and stick them to the wall near the exit so people can read them on the way out.

And lastly, let participants know:

  • You will email participants:
    • All the workshop resources via a link to the ACFID website
    • A survey monkey link from ACFID so they can understand whether the learning objectives were met and what participant’s future learning needs are.
  • Share some of your experiences from the perspective of facilitating the workshop. Ideally share some perspectives that land the workshop back in the purpose of learning new ways of working required to achieve the SDGs.
  • Thank participants for their active engagement and commitment to learning and wish them well.

Communications with participants and ACFID after the course

Communication with workshop participants

Within three days of the workshop concluding, send an email to all participants. Suggested text is provided below but please modify as you see fit.

Thank you for participating in the <insert organisation name> and ACFID workshop on system thinking and collaborative responses to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. We hope the workshop content provided you with enough content and confidence to start applying systems thinking and collaborative responses in your development work.

To support your application of the content, all the workshop materials can be found here. The link is to ACFID’s online version of this workshop.

Both <insert organisation name> and ACFID are keen to ensure that the learning we provide is enabling people and organisations to improve their development practice in a way that will achieve the SDGs. We will only know what is working and what needs improving if we have your feedback. Please take a moment to complete this survey. The survey is only 13 questions and will take approximately 10 minutes.

With thanks again,

<insert facilitator name & org>

Thanks to the Facilitator

Thank you for demonstrating your commitment to the SDGs and facilitating this course. We hope the facilitator resources enabled your delivery of learning that stimulated and challenged participants to apply systems thinking and collaborative approaches to their development work. 

ACFID would like to support you and your organisation to continue to develop your understanding, skills and confidence to work in this way. Please keep an eye out for other relevant learning opportunities that ACFID provides at https://acfid.asn.au/learning/learning-opportunities.

You can also subscribe to Collaboration for Impact’s database http://www.collaborationforimpact.com/register/ for regular newsletters.

Contact us if you would like to comment or engage with us via [email protected]

Feedback to ACFID

Within three days of the workshop concluding, please complete this Facilitator Reflection and Feedback form . It will take 5-10 minutes. Completing this survey will assist ACFID to improve this facilitator resource and others like it.

 

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