Creative Facilitation – the Book!

January 9th, 2013

Exactly two years ago, I spent six weeks with my ankle in plaster after an operation. With nothing better to do, I wrote a book. This week, we’re releasing it into the wild.

Johnnie Moore wrote significant parts that I’d forgotten, edited my clumsy words, challenged my thinking and was there throughout the whole process, providing encouragement and support.

BJ Diamond did an amazing editing job, and Mary Campbell added design brilliance.

You can download a PDF version of the book here.

It’s taken so long to get to this point simply because a book like this can never be finished. It is always in ‘beta’, always a work in progress and no amount of requests for cookie-cutter approaches to facilitation can stand up in the face of the messy, unpredictable and ever-changing world of actual facilitation with living, breathing humans.

Nonetheless, experience might count for something. If our experiences resonate for you – or even if they don’t, and simply get you thinking – then this book will have been worth it. In fact, it’s been worth it simply to gather our own thoughts, to spark some rather interesting conversations and to make our thinking accessible to others.

We’re giving it away, with a liberal Creative Commons licence, because that sits well with our philosophy of collaboration and connecting with people. If you download the book, we like to think of you as a collaborator  and we’d like to hear from you. Indeed the whole process was a global collaboration – between Australia, the UK and USA – made possible by technology, particularly long Skype calls!

The linear format dictated by the book format gave us many sleepless nights. Facilitation is not linear. There may be some obscure logic in the format, but don’t take it too seriously. Start anywhere. Dive in.

The book is divided into five parts.

Part One: Why Facilitation? is about exploring the impact of facilitation and facilitators on groups, the qualities that make for good facilitators and some of the underlying philosophy that underpins our approach.

Part Two: Workshop Basics is about the necessary foundations of facilitating workshops.

Part Three: Beyond the Basics is about providing an understanding of how to engage people and use different approaches.

Part Four: Creative Facilitation explores some of the knowledge and understanding that helps facilitators step into complex, and sometimes difficult, situations. It also explores in more depth, elements of human behaviour and group dynamics.

Part Five: Resources provides suggestions for developing your own “toolkit” with what you learn from experience as well as useful links, resources and other information.

Stay tuned for some smaller companion eBooks that elaborate on our favourite topics.

11 Comments so far

  1. David Zinger on January 9, 2013 10:23 am

    Terrific resource. Color. Creative. Informative. iPad friendly. Thank you. I put it on my iPad to read on my next flight.

  2. Sunanda Brahma on January 9, 2013 5:42 pm

    Thank you so much for this book. It is a wonderful resource for learning as well as training a team of young budding facilitators. we would be very interested in knowing more about creative facilitation from any source that you can share with us.
    we are a small innovation boutique based in Bangalore , India.

  3. Beth Cregan on January 10, 2013 7:32 am

    Wow! this will be an amazing resource for me. Thanks so much. Love the format as well.

  4. Michelle Lambert on January 13, 2013 8:03 am

    Viv and Johnnie, what a great piece of work, thanks so much for the generosity you have shown in sharing this with your fellow facilitators.

  5. Geoff Brown on February 21, 2013 6:49 am

    Viv and Johnnie, reading through your book has been like re living my past 13 years of learning … since way back in Casuarina days Viv! Your insights, methods and ideas help me to re live little moments when co-facilitating with you … sitting having deep conversations about our practice … being wisely challenged by you and then realising days later why you said what you did.

    I’ve been a close (and at times distant) observer of your shared journey to craft this offering. You have been breaking through new edges in this facilitation game these past few years. I’ve been playing it pretty safe in comparison – your journey in bringing this book to life gives me inspiration to push my own approach further and stay true to all I have learned from you and others.


  6. Lan LEVY on March 12, 2013 1:03 am

    Dear Viv and Johnnie,

    Your book is really great: concise, comprehensive and inspiring. I’m a facilitator, I’m good at doing, not at speaking nor writing. I can communicate better with others using your book. Thank you very much!


  7. Viv McWaters on March 13, 2013 10:30 am

    Hi Lan

    Thanks for your feedback, and we’re very pleased that the book is helpful.

    Cheers, Viv and Johnnie

  8. Sarah Gill on March 22, 2013 2:25 am

    Thanks so much for a great resource. Your generosity is appreciated!

  9. Emily on June 5, 2013 12:35 am

    Hi Viv,

    A Work colleague referred to your site and I’m so amazed. Thanks a great deal for your heart of generosity.

  10. Leif Hansen on June 6, 2013 9:33 am

    Such a great resource Viv…I’m enjoying reading it in more detail today. Also passing it on to a few peers. Thanks!

  11. Helen Palmer on June 20, 2013 4:17 pm

    A brilliant example of wise and practical knowledge captured in application-ready ways that can be more easily shared to inspire the novice and the experienced. Great format and presentation too which made it a joy to read.

    I heartfully and mindfully accept the gift of knowledge shared! And your gift will keep giving as I let others know about it.

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