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Organic methods – Doing or Deciding Together

These are a less structured way of gathering views from more people than a focus group might permit. They can allow participants to set their agendas from within the group and take the lead on topics. These methods can creatively involve people and enable processes to evolve organically. It can work well for people who are unfamiliar or uncomfortable with formal group structures.

The World Café

World Café is an effective and flexible format for hosting an event that facilitates dialogue within larger groups. It is helpful as a starting point for participation, as it gives an idea of what issues need exploring further or more in-depth. Discussions occur in small groups around tables set up to resemble a café. Each table focuses on a different topic or set of questions. People are free to discuss these and move to other tables during the event.

If you want to know more about this method, please download our World Café resource and watch the video below.

World Café

For more information about World Cafe, watch this video.

Open Space

“Open Space” is a technique for running meetings where the participants create and manage the agenda themselves. Sessions can be for between five to 2000 plus people (providing you have a big enough venue). This method is ideal if you want participants to gain ownership of an issue and develop solutions. Participants agree on the areas of discussion that have importance for them and then take responsibility for facilitating the sessions. Many deliberations can occur at once, and you can prioritise items for discussion by the whole group. Open space meetings can take place over several hours or days.

If you would like to know more about this method, please download our OpenSpace resource.

Things to consider:

  • Do you have the time and resources you will need?
  • Are you able to get input from people who can’t access this type of setting or those who aren’t suited to their informal nature?
  • How will you analyse the findings? Remember – they may be anecdotal.
  • Are you confident that the hosting organisation has the right level of experience to manage the participants and topics without the structure of other methods?


Facilitation Plan

This tool helps ensure your activity/event runs as smoothly as possible. From how you present questions to participants to identifying what resources you will need.

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Managing Risks

Use this tool so that you can be five steps ahead of yourself and plan any risks that might present themselves.

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Other ways to get involved

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