It has been strange times with lots of opportunities since March.
For circular Berlin we faced the same challenge, many of us had to face: „How might we bring our work into an online world, in order not to pause it?”
Circular Economy or not, as facilitators the idea of interacting only virtually with known and unknown people made me break down the question into specific aspects:
- Which „rules of good facilitation“ still work? Which have to be adapted?
- How can we create an appreciative space without being in the same physical one?
- How can we foster trust and collaboration – especially between people who have never met?
In and out of Circular Berlin we tried ourselves and challenged our participants likewise. If it was our Circular Economy Introduction training, our City Loops – Bauen für Morgen for the construction sector or the service design and design sprints workshops. There was always a learning and a feedback loop after each workshop and training that brought us further in understanding the mechanics of these encounters.
Here are some ideas that helped us bring circular economy knowledge online:
- Prepare as much as possible ahead of the workshops. I think I used at least a 70:30 ratio towards preparation time, especially when you use whiteboard tools like Miro or Mural.
- Get the maximum out of your computer and internet connection. Don’t underestimate the power of a clean desktop on your laptop and closed programs – for less distraction of yourself and the capacity.
- Use your best available microphone, have a second monitor and switch that extra light source on, so you can be seen. Make an effort in what you wear and look like – and leave the camera on even if everyone else is a black screen for you.
- Try to be two facilitators because unexpected things will happen. And there’s nothing better than not being alone in the fight against technology, disappearing participants, group work challenges and adjustments on the fly.
- Plan more time for breaks and as a time buffer to end punctually. You. Will. Need. It.
- Focus on exchange and discussions and keep presentations short, give participants more time to exchange, preferably in small groups. That’s a real value you create and can’t be replaced by a self-paced training.
- Never underestimate the power of a good, warm and welcoming check in with your participants. Let them show themselves, a blink of their personal life or just a small anecdote where they sit and work. Every time you come back together the group will feel more and more connected to the people behind the other screens.
After 5 months of online trainings’ facilitations in German and English we are confident that circular economy knowledge sharing should not have physical, geographical and any other borders, and we are ready to share it online. After all, working remotely gives us the great chance to find our best times, places and surroundings we need as individuals to be creative, focused, energized.
There are some formats easier for virtual collaboration than others. Maybe it makes more sense to wait a bit longer and meet in person? Or maybe you can shorten, split, readjust your idea for your workshop?
We plan our Circular Economy Tools training as an in person workshop. We believe this will create the best value for our participants. Check our educational topics here.