Complex Facilitation

When the issues are complex, the methods and processes used for people to make sense, make meaning, take action, and monitor the impact also need to be different.

 Complex facilitation is concerned with congruence and coherence between

  • the principles of complexity that are embedded in the complexity based tools and methods and
  • the role and behaviour of facilitators, what they do and do not do and
  • the experience of participants in engaging in the social construction of their own meaning.

The outcomes of a complex facilitation process is creating and sustaining the environment

  • where participants with multiple perspectives
  • engage in a series of activities that enable the social construction of sense making and meaning 
  • and the development of a sufficiently shared understanding of the complex issues ​
  • to emerge as the basis for
  • enough agreement to take action.

There are many differences between traditional and complex facilitation, for example

  • ambiguous instructions are intentional,
  • not assisting participants to find the ‘right’ answers is fundamental,
  • any interventions into group process happen at a system, not the individual level.

Traditionally facilitators have been expected to in control, in charge and responsible for the outcome, with identified capabilities including

  • achieving the outcome identified beforehand.
  • A helper and enabler whose goal is to support others as they pursue their objectives
  • Applying group problem solving and decision making techniques to reach consensus

Complex facilitation is a highly disruptive methodology, challenging patterns of expectations of participants.

skilled and capable facilitator is a critical success factor in the process.

Whether it is a group of 6, 60 – or even 600, Complexability facilitators can design and facilitate with an extremely light footprint, ensuring that they have no influence in content or outcome.   Programs can also be delivered in house.

Capacity building in complex facilitation methods and processes is available through Complexability

Let’s Talk