Action planning online with 15 participants in 75 minutes. Magical!

Model Merging, World Café, Zoom, Jamboard, and a phenomenal group of participants combined for a fantastic 1¼ hour session. Model Merging is one of my favourite discussion activities and it transfers well to the online space. When I combined it with a World Cafe, the results are, as one participant said, “awesome and magical”. Recently, I facilitated these two methods to help the group develop tangible actions for the next year.

Model Merging template on a Jamboard

Overview: 5 days’ notice, a 1¼ hour session, fifteen members of a committee who hadn’t met for six months, and the desired results of tangible actions for 2021. We did it!

  • Purpose: Develop tangible actions for 2021 to start to achieve the group’s vision and mission
  • Participants: 15 members of a community committee who had last met six months ago
  • Place: Zoom
  • Products: Action plan with designated roles
  • Process: World Cafe and Model Merging with results written on a Jamboard

Opening Conversation: We opened with introductions and answered this question on a Jamboard: “What excites you about the committee’s work over the upcoming year?” This activity introduced participants to Jamboard and helped them to focus on the purpose of the session.

World Cafe and Jamboard: We then used three rounds in a World Café method, using the breakout rooms in Zoom, to discuss the question: What do you think the Committee could do to achieve the vision and mandate, focusing on tangible actions in 2021? The four participants in each small group talked about their ideas without recording them. We randomly mixed the participants in each group for each round of conversation. For the last round, we asked each group to decide upon two to six main ideas and they wrote them on one section of the Jamboard. I chose Jamboard since it is easily learned by participants and the time available did not allow training and practice on spaces such as Mural and Miro.

Theming: In the main group, we read the ideas from each of the groups and then clustered them into themes.

Next Actions: Lastly, I asked for the Next Actions: What, Who, When. I recorded them on a Jamboard as the participants readily and willingly identified actions and took charge of doing them.

Summary: I always design the process and choose methods based on the purpose, participants, products, place, and available time. World Cafe, Model Merging, and Jamboard worked perfectly – all in 1 1/4 hours.

If your organization or team or volunteer group is interested in carrying out strategic and action planning and if you want help with meetings, training, workshops – online and in-person – please contact me.

Action planning online with 15 participants in 75 minutes. Magical!