Consultant/Facilitation Practice

September 30, 2010 § Leave a comment

Acting as a consultant to a classmate, I helped her devise a solution to small problem in her life through facilitation of a team of 4 peers through the Simplex creative problem solving process.

I had a pre-consulting session with my client and then prepared over the next 3 days for the event. At the group session I had 2 hours to complete 6 or 7 of the 8 steps in the process, which would provide the client with a new strategy for tackling her problem. I think both the individual and group sessions went very well and the solution provided to her problem was very fitting. 😉

Our challenge statement for the client arrived at “How might we help her enjoy shopping?” We determined that she did not enjoy shopping for a variety of reasons, but largely due to allergies. The lack of enjoyment resulted in her having a wardrobe unapproved by her boyfriend and family members.

We developed a number of solutions and eventually used a “criteria grid” to select an appropriate strategy. And what was that strategy? The client will search online for clothes WITH her boyfriend BEFORE going to the store to fit and purchase. This allows her to find clothes appealing to her BF and lessen her time at and odds of allergy attacks at random shopping venues. We also created an interesting concept that might have potential as a service offered by stores or hustling individuals – body doubles modeling clothes. The models could be bossed around via Skype – “Try that on. No, THAT one!” – or take still pictures in clothes of the “shopper’s” choice. I like the idea even better after typing it out…

Reflecting on the process I jotted down a few notes on the session:

  • I had a great pre-consult. The client was open to sharing and to the process. This allowed me to be very well prepped for the big event.
  • We challenged map at the pre-consult, allowing me to have a feel how this process in the meeting might turn out.
  • I recorded her key facts and displayed them at the group meeting. This saved time and provided a nice foundation for fact finding as a group.
  • I also identified ideation prompts that felt like they would be appropriate to our context and referred to them to draw out more ideas from the participants.
  • I was surprised, as were other attendees, at the amount of content that was generated in less than 2 hours by 5 focused people.
  • Having a group of trained facilitators and participants sure makes the process smooth. On occasion the group directed or corrected itself due to their process skills. The real world will be much different – imagine a group new or averse to the process and how tricky things immediately become.
  • I received good feedback from those in the session and they seemed to have enjoyed themselves and impressed with the efficiency and focus of the process as well as the large amount of ideas we generated.
  • Being critical, I feel that I need to practice my evaluation criteria and criteria application skills but I was pretty happy with how I managed most other aspects of the process. Continued practice should improve my performance in all areas.
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