Skip to main content

Global Flipchart #11



April 2018

What’s in your toolbox for process design?

By Zena-Gabrielle Hailu

Every facilitator has their favourite tool - the one they come back to over and over again, in many different contexts. We asked a few IAF members and fellow facilitators what approaches and methods they keep in their toolbox when it comes to process design. The answers are as different as our profession, ranging from philosophies to questions for preparation and hands-on methods.


Michael Schatzschneider

My favorite hands-on tool is called “5Ps”. I find that the 5Ps encompass all the issues that need to be considered when preparing a facilitation. It’s a holistic tool because it’s not about just one issue. The multiple perspectives offered by answering the 5Ps help me to keep my mind open to all the issues that could pop up when I facilitate. I found the 5Ps in Michael Wilkinson’s book “The Secrets of Facilitation”.

Here is what the 5Ps stand for, as well as the guiding questions for each P:

  • Purpose: Why is this facilitated session taking place? What’s the overall aim?
  • Product: What’s the outcome we want to have at the end of the workshop? Or, what are the things we need to produce to achieve the purpose?
  • Participants: Who needs to be involved and what perspectives will they bring into the workshop?
  • Probable issues: What issues will people bring into the workshop and/or may arise in the workshop?
  • Process: How should we proceed to produce our product, while keeping our purpose, participants and probable issues in mind? What steps should we take?

Having lived in 7 and worked in 48 countries, Michael has acquired an innate sense of intercultural sensitivity. He's studied social science, HR, organisational development and systemic management. He is now a certified systemic coach and change manager, as well as an intercultural coach. More info is available at

Emotional intelligence

Seow Bee Leng

In the facilitation space, emotional intelligence (EQ) plays an enabling role to make sharing and participation frictionless. One dimension of process design is to introduce  simple social gestures that allow participants to speak with gentle curiosity and receive comments with humility. With the many iteration steps and providing real-time comments to the group, everyone will hear and be heard. In a positive emotional state, it is a safe communication space where the more we get together. The more emotional intelligence we include in the process design, the more we reduce sharing friction, provide instant feedback, optimise the expertise for every participant to drive the process design everyone owns and embraces. Emotional intelligence, deployed with finesse, is the key to process design.


Veronika Wieland

Vernissage is quite a versatile tool. I prefer to use it in workshops or in developmental processes. Vernissage saves a lot of time because it allows for groups to evaluate the results of group work in rotation instead of presenting those results one after the other.

Vernissage is action-focused and helps to energise participants and ensure that timeframes are respected.

Aim: To visualise the results of group work as well as to evaluate and select solutions.

Time: Elaboration, evaluation and clarification - about 45-90 minutes.


  1. Create a structured template (e.g. Problems, Solutions, Conditions) for each topic that should be worked out.
  2. Clearly explain the template to the team.
  3. Form working groups based on participant preferences (What topic attracts/involves you most?).
  4. Allow each group to work on their topic. Set a time limit (e.g. 15 minutes).
  5. Rotate the groups around other topics and encourage them to evaluate and complete other topics with their ideas.
  6. Explain and visualise evaluation rules:
    • Y: same opinion (“I agree”)
    • ?: questions (“I don’t understand”)
    • ~: different opinion, objection (“I don’t agree”)
    • Cards or light bulb symbol for additions
  1. Help to clarify:
    • ?: What’s the question? What’s the answer? - Visualise answers
    • ~: What’s the objection? What’s the answer? How can we rewrite it to have both parties’ acceptance/ endorsement? - Visualise objections and agreements
    • Cards or light bulb symbols: Ask and visualize additional information

Material needed:

  • flipchart paper
  • markers
  • evaluation symbols
  • cards or post-its

Find out more about Veronika on her IAF profile or contact her at