Design Role: Facilitating: an introduction…

Facilitating regards design activities that in different ways promotes diverse stakeholders (such as citizens, NGO:s) to get involved in Framework Project and/or Local project with different aims depending on the stage of the project in which occur.
Basically it seems that facilitating is always devoted to the action of making people, stakeholder, users to express their opinion and to include their vision as project requirements and project drivers.
It seems possible to distinguish two main kinds of facilitation:
- to engage various stakeholders in the design process, collecting data and exploring ideas,
- ‘doing’ and ‘seeing’ things differently or together, generating interest and engagement in the communities.

Tentative guidelines:
• Use participatory approaches and co-design processes to engage strategic conversation between stakeholders, to build trust, mutual understanding and convergence…
• Bridge the gaps within a large and heterogeneous social fabric using project visions as brokering process to overcome language, cultural and professional divide…
• Increase exchange, mutual learning, collective engagement towards acknowledgement of a shared agenda, common interests and potential partnerships…

Detailed analysis:
Local projects and collaborative design processes acknowledge not only the traditional experts as valuable contributors but welcoming all kinds of perspectives and skilful people, it also rides on the driving forces within creative communities. Inspired from participatory design it supports interaction and convergence between stakeholders, as well as explores how to reinforce everyday activities and agendas among them. Central for facilitating is how to overcome language issues among participants with diverse backgrounds and different habits of communication. Essential is also to be able to negotiate what matters of concern that should be highlighted, to build trust and common visions, to establish mutual learning processes and capacity building. Involvement can be done with higher engagement through participation in design activities or workshops. It can also be more indirect through exhibitions. Promoting involvement and active participation is central to guarantee success and a sustainable continuation of a local project.

What are the main characteristics/aspects/dimensions of the activity? How to start/develop/disseminate it?
Facilitating concerns the driving forces and everyday activities among stakeholders, how they can be supported and synchronized.
In Chong-Ming Island the mutual understanding of stakeholders was something that really oriented the direction of the project.  It provided a role for design to act as mediator by designing different co-design activities to make communication among people as clear as possible.
In Nord-pas-de-Calais Sustainable Periurban facilitating consisted of the collective identification of areas of common interests between all the stakeholders as well as a participative exploration of the social fabric inside and outside the hosting institution where they mapped official and implicit relationships and identified the potential of on-going initiatives and projects.
During Dott07 a variety of forms and levels of engagements has been provided such as design camps, explorer clubs, co-design sessions, design into schools, community awards, events, activities (urban farming) and installations.
In Malmö social innovation living lab the approach has been to build long term trust with the stakeholders through collaborative hands on activities and by doing experiments that match and make sense from the perspective of the stakeholders everyday activities. Also starting early on to investigate the key qualities and resources among stakeholders and then highlighting and reinforce them. Dissemination is done by a collaborative effort including all stakeholders’ perspective and how they have been affected by the project.

What are the expected results/outputs/benefits?
Expected results include a sustainable network of stakeholders that trust each other and have a common work language. It also consists of a capacity to mobilize interdisciplinary resources and promote mutual learning among diverse stakeholders.

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