Solutions Offered by FacilitatePro, Effective Group Collaboration Software

Solutions

Who Benefits from FacilitatePro?

  • A health organization integrates extensive online feedback into its high performance employee development initiative.
  • A global chemicals company brings sales and product experts together from around the world to solve customer issues without the need for travel.
  • A federal agency applies interest based bargaining to resolve labor management disputes more quickly.
  • A university professor teaches hands-on collaboration skills to future business leaders.
  • A global engineering firm engages in collaborative risk management, where instead of being audited, departments self assess and contribute to issue identification and resolution.

What do they all have in common? They engage people in high impact meetings that:

  • Build on an informed agenda
  • Involve participants who are prepared and ready to engage
  • Enable focused and productive interaction, with creative ideas and decisions that stick
  • Deliver documented actions that lead to sustained results

Getting the Most Out Of FacilitatePro Before the Meeting

FacilitatePro supports pre-and post meeting activities by providing an online meeting space where surveys and structured discussion topics enable participants to contribute their knowledge, issues and priorities. This helps the meeting owner define the problem and build a meaningful meeting agenda and at the same time creates a shared understanding, even before the meeting begins.

During the Meeting

FacilitatePro facilitates participation and creative thinking during the meeting by moving the group from idea generation to solution building to decision making. FacilitatePro's tools for anonymous brainstorming, idea building and prioritizing get difficult issues on the table and help shift negative group dynamics towards objective problem solving and consensus. Action-planning documents outcomes and sets the stage for implementation.

After the Meeting

FacilitatePro allows the group to continue to access the online meeting space, where they can monitor progress against action plans, continue contributing to key topics, evaluate next steps and prepare for the next high performance meeting.

In their own words: How real facilitators use FacilitatePro

Workshops

“With budget and travel constraints, our strategic planning workshop was cut from two days to one. This meant we had to get a lot of work done before our in-person event. We used FacilitatePro to conduct an online environmental assessment and SWOT analysis, which allowed us to hear directly from our 50 executives and managers. Essentially, we accomplished all the “current state” analysis before the workshop. This helped us focus our agenda on a defined set of strategic areas. During the workshop, we worked on detailed idea generation around our strategic areas. The anonymity had the desired effect of opening up the conversation and getting beyond organizational politics. We printed out the results at lunchtime and then split into small groups to discuss the large group input and prepare a set of recommendations. The sub-teams presented back to the big group who typed in comments and questions as they listened. I don’t think any of us have had a more productive workshop.”

Smart Web Conferencing

“We’ve been using a web-conferencing service for many years and it works very well for presentations, simple Q&As and quick polls. But for generating quality thinking, especially with all of the distractions that people have at their desks like cell phones, email and text messaging, it’s challenging to keep people’s attention. FacilitatePro helped us switch the emphasis from pushing information out to a group of listeners to pulling information and ideas in from participants. Now we tend to distribute information such as presentations and reports ahead of time. We may start out with a brief recap of the major elements and then jump in to interactive brainstorming or idea generation using FacilitatePro. Everyone’s ideas are captured on the shared electronic flip chart so that we can all see and discuss what is there. Sometimes we use anonymous brainstorming to open up discussion; other times we attribute contributions so that we know that everyone is engaged and participating. The voting tools allow us to understand group priorities and quickly come to consensus on issues that use to take an age. By concentrating conference time on interaction rather than presentations we keep calls short and people are more focused and engaged.”

Virtual Meetings

“I was asked to design a virtual meeting to replace our usual all day meeting of colleagues. My main concern was how to keep participants productively engaged without the usual visual cues. I chose to limit the amount of "speaker" time by requiring the group to review the presentations ahead of time and provide feedback asynchronously using FacilitatePro. This gave us a chance to identify some key issues ahead of the meeting. On the day of the meeting, we quickly reviewed the results of the pre-work, then the group was asked to brainstorm potential solutions, and I opted for anonymity so ideas could flow freely. After a few minutes, I led the group in a verbal discussion of the ideas and assigned them to categories that were displayed in real time on everyone’s screen. I turned the flip chart into a voting ballot and ask the group to rank the ideas according to impact and feasibility. The results were immediately displayed in numeric and graphic form. We moved through several topics, brainstorming ideas and categorizing and prioritizing as appropriate until a final set of key actions emerged. At the end of the meeting, each participant received a complete set of meeting notes. I honestly was amazed that we could accomplish what we needed to in two hours, and I felt that we achieved as much or more participation than we would have in a traditional setting.”

Focus Groups

“We scheduled back-to-back focus groups and had a lot of ground to cover. We wanted a way to build off one group's input as we moved into the next but managing all the usual post-it notes and flip charts seemed to make this impossible. FacilitatePro made this possible. We started of with some fun interactive activities to stimulate creative thinking. Then we switched to FacilitatePro and asked the group to respond to a series of brainstorming questions, each digging deeper and exploring issues and ideas further. While this was going on our client was monitoring our online flip charts from another room. She was able to prioritize items for us and let us know which ideas we should pursue further. The output from the first focus group was fully documented and categorized before the end of the session, allowing us to refocus our agenda as we moved into the next one. Next time we are going to expand participation with some virtual focus sessions.”

About FacilitatePro

FacilitatePro LogoFacilitatePro is a cloud based or self hosted application that helps groups brainstorm and evaluate ideas, from any device, anywhere, anytime. Ideas you can implement. Decisions that have buy-in. FacilitatePro collects and distills your rain of ideas into the highest quality, clearest output possible to make your brainstorm effective and productive.

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Case Studies

Large Group Collaboration: U.S. Department of Defense

Large Group Collaboration: U.S. Department of Defense

Large and small scale military “discovery” experiments and wargames conducted by several branches of the Department of Defense are bringing together key decision makers and subject matter experts from around the globe to develop the concepts, doctrine, and training that will form the U.S. Military of the 21st century and beyond. Looking for new ways to structure an experiment that fosters innovation as well as critical thinking, these military organizations selected FacilitatePro to enable large scale collaboration and concept development.

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Transforming Dispute Mediation Through Technology: FMCS

Transforming Dispute Mediation Through Technology: FMCS

In labor-management negotiations throughout the country, laptop computers linked to powerful servers allow negotiators to instantly capture ideas on FacilitatePro's virtual flipcharts, build on those ideas and rank – using the group’s own criteria– various options to achieve real consensus. “For collective bargaining, dispute mediation and conflict resolution," says FMCS Director Peter J. Hurtgen, "technology tools are the wave of the future.

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Expanding Higher Education's offerings: Luther College

Expanding Higher Education's offerings: Luther College

Combining a state of the art facility, FacilitatePro software and skilled facilitators, Luther College’s Round Table Services provides group facilitation services to assist in strategic planning, problem solving, assessment, policy-making, and consensus building. Its mission is to provide a collaborative environment for the college as well as the business and not for profit community.

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Innovating Large Conference Design

Innovating Large Conference Design

The Exploring Innovation in Community Development 2009 Conference in St Louis illustrates innovative ways to engage participants at a large group conference.The Innovation Cafe, an interactive extension of the conference web site, built the community amongst participants ahead of the actual event and helped shape the conference dialogue. The plenaries combined creative facilitation techniques with collaboration technology to engage conference participants in a dialogue full of inquiry and exploration.

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Broadening Public Engagement: State of Vermont

Broadening Public Engagement: State of Vermont

FacilitatePro powers public engagement in charting Vermont’s energy future. Vermont, known for its environmental sensibilities, Yankee frugality and town-hall democracy, was facing some tough decisions and planning for the future of their energy supply. The Governor wanted broad and deep public participation in the process. FacilitatePro provide Vermonters a web-based forum to help government chart their state’s energy future.

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Strategic Planning - Charting Your Course: Electrogrid Corporation

Strategic Planning - Charting Your Course: Electrogrid Corporation

FacilitatePro helps eliminate the static from strategic planning. Electrogrid, a pseudonym for the public benefit corporation charged with managing a large state's electrical power grid, used Facilitate.com software and services to overcome difficult organizational dynamics, enabling them to implement a successful strategic planning process and create a dynamic strategic plan to meet the challenges of maintaining the state's vital infrastructure.

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Capturing Stakeholder Voices: Norwegian Cruise Line

Capturing Stakeholder Voices: Norwegian Cruise Line

Rich idea exchange on iPod touches adds sizzle to Advisory Board meetings. The best Customer Advisory Board sessions are less about presentations and more about facilitated discussion between your board members, with your executive team quietly listening. The challenge is to create an unbiased atmosphere and a safe environment for board members to voice their views and experiences.

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