September 19, 2011

DFG Meeting Notes

Facilitator: Jen Young and Alison Heeres
Notes: Jacob Corvidae

Present: Alison, Sandra, Amit, Jess, Jen, Jacob, Sarah Coffey


1. Parameters for Participation
2. Exploring Collaboration
3. Discussion based on D4 case study
4. Wrap-up

1. Parameters for Participation

DFG – Membership Discussion
Sandra presented the idea of Seasonal or spin-off cohorts.

retain some trust/intimacy for safe space of the cohort
provide sufficient support and reduce barriers to creating new cohorts

The proposal is this:
For now, we will keep membership limited to those that are already part of the current email list. Our meetings will include a public portion (generally the first half, focused on introducing tools and techniques) and a member-only section (generally focused on working on a real-life case study and possibly providing feedback to facilitators of that evening actual meeting). Anyone may be invited to attend the public portion of the meetings.

Interests represented in the proposal:
a) provide a safe and trusted space for candid feedback and discussion on real-life case studies and among the facilitation cohort;
b) provide a way for people not currently involved to learn more about facilitation

Discussion also included some thoughts around whether/how new attendees might possibly meet others to join a facilitation cohort or start one their own cohort, what mentoring or support for creating new cohorts might look like, whether new cohorts would also be part of the “Detroit Facilitation Guild” and what that means. These items all need more thought and discussion. We also discussed the possibility that current membership might have some parameters set, such as minimum participation or attendance requirements.

DECISION: We’ll send this recommended proposal to the email list and inform folks that the proposal will become a decision if no one has any major objections. If there are no objections: this decision stands within one week (so that we can invite folks to next meeting). If there are objections, we’ll discuss further and make a decision at next month’s meeting.

TASK: Jacob will sound out that communication with the Meeting notes.

Shared values and norms will be tackled at the next DFG meeting.

2. Exploring Collaboration AND 3. Discussion based on D4 case study

Reviewed Collaboration outline and questions drafted by Ali and Jen – and available on google docs. This is really intended for the scenario of a multi-organization collaboration (as opposed to other collaborative settings).

Note distinction of 2 types of collaboratin:
a. full-scale collaboration
– actual sharing of resources, etc.
b. coordination
– many groups working together, but not requiring sharing of tasks, budgets, etc.

Mutually beneficial outcomes and goals doesn’t necessarily require shared values.
When should one be explicit about values that aren’t shared? Being transparent about the idea of not having shared values in the context of stating what the shared goals/values are may be helpful.

Before figuring out how to make a collaborative functional, how do we answer the question of when a collaborative is even the appropriate model?


Sandra gave an intro to D4 as a case study for running our exploration of some collaborative tools.
Group has been meeting for 18 months
has different topic-based workgroups
within those groups are different campaigns working on specific projects
Group has a working meeting scheduled this week to start hammering out shared systems.
Individual sector groups don’t have full agreement within their sector, much less with rest of group
Indifiduals are supposed to come to Thursday meeting with a pre-filled out brainstorm of values, “must haves” etc.

Some challenges:
1. Different groups have different goals and skillsets — group works to bring a broader set of interests to all of those individual efforts
2. Since they’ve been working to build this collaborative, they haven’t had to make some hard decisions about what the baseline is of the groups’ standards are. For example, labor has claimed success on several labor-benefit agreements, but these haven’t included community or environmental benefits which the D4 collaborative has endorsed as important goals.
3. Don’t have shared goals, norms etc. agreed upon yet, so it’s hard to enact these.


Ali, Jess and Amit presented several tools for possible use here:

A) Bridge Building
Group describes the desired future that a group is working toward
(if larger than 12 break out and report back)
Post desired future on R-hand of wall

Current reality – now have groups record existing state of the group
Post on L-hand of wall

Then have group list what activities are needed to bridge those two realities
post and write up this sheet between the other two sheets.

discussion: this might be too much for the D4 sectors – may need a more specific tool to start.

B) Rotating Sheets / Flipcharts
Each workgroup has a specific color marker they use (e.g labor uses blue, enviros use green)
Each workgroup gets a long while to create their priorities or brainstorm.
Then each workgroup rotates to the next workgroups’ flipchart, taking their colored marker with them. They then add their own priorities for that sector and check their agreement with the existing priorities already recorded. This portion gets less time that each workgroup got in their “native” flipchart. Suggested split: native interest one time, each other interest use half that time. E.g. get 10 minutes at “homebase”, then 5 minutes at each other base and then 5 minutes back at original “homebase”
Continued to rotate until each group has had input on each section.
A dedicated facilitator stays at each board through the whole process so they can explain previous entries.
Can also have people return to their original

C) Gradients of agreement
Jess will send info on this to group.
Start with a line with Veto at one end and Endorse at the other with three points on the line in between. The whole lines reads, in this order:
Disagree, won’t block
Agree with reservations
Write a question above this line.
Group decides a metric for what’s the standard for moving ahead (e.g. okay to move ahead with any vetos? Agee to move ahead as long as at least half of group is at agree with reservation, or… whatever).
People then vote for where they are on the gradient.
Results are tallied and compared to metric for moving ahead.
Anyone who voted “low” on the scale then stands up and states their objections. When changes or adjustments are possible, then the question is changed and people re-vote.
This can be done with a “standing line” where people actually stand where they “vote” on a line and then state their reasons.

D) Voting Commitments
Uses some voting mechanism (sticky dots or …), but votes are weighted on the level of commitment to actually enact what’s being voted on.
Be wary of using voting commitments with gradients of agreements

Do we need to address “must have” or “bottom line” issues at this meeting?
Discussion about a desire to know the deep needs of each sector without letting them lock into specific positions instead of the positive outcomes and values that they’re trying to achieve.

Sandra plans to use Rotating Sheets approach for their workgroup break-out session.


Other feedback on draft agenda:
a) For one-on-ones: make sure people pick someone they don’t know and someone from a different sector
b) for CBA overview have 5 minute scheduled to present, but already expect presenter will talk longer: have presenter provide a one-page overview that’s a hand-out and then 5 minute is just for clarifying questions.
c) Discussion section at end only has 5 minutes – won’t really discuss in that — make it “Summary” instead.

4. Wrap Up

Was the collaboration questions spreadsheet that Ali and Jen created useful? What do we do with this? We discussed some and will continue discussion off-line.

Next meeting:
Jess and Amit will present tools for 90 minutes hour, covering 2-3 different tools for creating shared norms and values for participation in the DFG.
last 30 minutes- ask for a volunteer ahead of time to provide a case study for discussion in the 2nd half. Jacob may have one, but will have to see where that other group is at within 2 weeks.

Amit might not be able to attend Monday, in which case Sandra will co-facilitate.
TASK: Amit will send out another poll to check on possibly rescheduling to later on monday, Oct. 17 or possibly to tuesday Oct. 18.

We had brief discussion about when to re-schedule meetings and when not.

post-meeting followup-discussion:
As we look for real-life case studies to discuss, we should make sure we don’t miss giving ourselves time to discuss and provide feedback on the actual facilitation of these meetings. Instead of just a 3 minute evaluation of the meeting, let’s plan on 15 minutes for discussion of the facilitation of the meeting. Great real-time learning opportunity.

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