Author of abstract: Lucilla Borio

consensusConsensus decision making is a process to make decisions based on trust, honesty, respect, inclusiveness and equal sharing of power. It derives from ancient cultures (it was historically used by many native american  populations) and from the Religious Society of Friends, aka the Quakers. Consensus decision making is based on personal responsibility of all group members, and is aimed at preventing splits between majority and minority, that can undermine the group climate and ruin mutual trust. The first phase of the process is debate: every proposal is presented and openly discussed by all participants, who can bring changes and modifications, including substantial ones, until the proposal has the support of everyone in the group. In the decision making phase, one can hold three positions: giving consensus means that one approves of the proposal and is available to participate in the action directly; standing aside means that one agrees with the idea, but will not participate for personal reasons; blocking means that the proposal should not go forward. The block must be explained openly to the whole group, must be rooted in the superior interest of the group and not in personal preference. One block is enough to stop the proposal.

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facilitationAuthor of abstract: Lucilla Borio,  

IIFAC links:Bea Briggs

Facilitation is the art and practice to make meetings easier (from the latin root “facilis”), more effective, fun and productive for all the parties involved. The facilitator is an impartial guide of the group process, and is supported by active participants who help taking roles like time keeper, minutes taker, vibes watcher, and others. Essential elements are a clear and transparent Agenda, a shared and well-know decision making method and a solid plan for follow-up activities.

Facilitation methods

Short tips on the most common facilitation challenges


Author: Eva Stützel

fishbowlA Fishbowl discussion is a way of having all the advantages of a small-group discussion (possibility for spontaneous interaction, direct answers, no facilitation needed) within a bigger group. The fishbowl is a good format to discuss things. It can serve to prepare a decision, and maybe after the discussion, a proposal can be formulated by the facilitator, integrating all the aspects of the discussion.

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Author of abstract: Diana Leafe Christiansociocracy

Sociocracy (“governance by peers”) is a process for creating harmonious organizations, based on the values of equality, efficiency, and transparency. It is:

  1. A method for ongoing project management and governance, involving groups of people (circles) and double-links between two circles.
  2. A decision making method “Consent Decision Making”. A decision is only taken if there is no paramount reasoned objection against it.

Sociocratic decision making

Sociocratic election

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World Cafe

Author of abstract: Eva Stützel
world-cafeAn interesting method for groups of more than 20 people to explore a topic from different perspectives in small groups.
Discussions happen on several tables – each table has a different question related to the issue of the meeting – and are documented on the paper table cloth. After a time, people change tables and discuss on another table a related question.
There is one host for each table that doesn’t change tables. The host reports at the end what has been discussed.
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