Process Design & Hosting

Notes from the Co-creation of CSAW, the Climate and Sustainability Action Week at EPFL, Lausanne, Switzerland and online.

Map by Think N'Link, Agathe Loret. See map in higher resolution here

Keynote speech and other talks recorded on video
An article Reflecting on the pilot event in February 2021

Working notes

During the co-creation of the CSAW Pilot, FoAM conducted a series of training and mentoring sessions for the EPFL co-creation team. The purpose of these sessions is to learn some basics of participatory design and hosting/facilitation, as well as respond to specific questions and challenges.

SEP 2020 - FEB 2021

Other topics discussed during mentoring sessions

  • Designing, facilitating and coordinating co-creation sessions
  • Clarifying the purpose, core questions and theme for the event
  • Connecting the purpose, the theme and the formats of the event
  • How to avoid Solutionism and move towards systemic interventions (including methods from complexity, systems thinking, permaculture, cooperative games, etc.)
  • COVID planning and working with contingencies
  • Feedback on the detailed event flow, programme, session and atmosphere design
  • Selecting participants and forming teams
  • Balancing learning and doing, theory and practice
  • Possible outcomes and deliverables (including engaging a graphic recorder to produce a compelling visual output)
  • Care packages and gifts for participants and speakers that reflect the theme and purpose of the event
  • Challenges of co-ordination of heterogeneous groups and moderation of (online) plenary discussions
  • Check-in and Check-out practices, including pre-performance rituals from music and performing arts
  • Team facilitation over multiple days, juggling diversity of feedback and consistency of support
  • Engaging public presentation formats e.g. Pecha Kucha, Open Lab, Fuckup Nights, Role Playing / Prehearsals, etc.
  • Ongoing debriefing and feedback after co-creation and review meetings
  • The importance of clear and concise summaries / overviews at the beginning and end (of sessions, days, workshops), as reminders of what happened and what's about to happen. Synthesis as 'braiding' of the divergent threads and activities, a leitmotif and assurance that what the participants are doing is contributing to a collective purpose.
  • Engaging with (the role of) a disruptive participant
  • Differences between group facilitation and team coaching
  • The benefits and drawbacks of time pressure, finding time in seemingly full schedules, ad-hoc flow adaptation.
  • The art of giving instructions
  • Flow, rhythm and content of a closing session
  • Regenerative exercises for groups with dwindling energy
  • The challenges of changing group dynamics (e.g. closed and public sessions, feedback sessions with external guests, etc).
  • After the event: decompression, debrief, individual and collective feedback, integrating insights
  • The importance of collective celebration
  • Hosting training
  • How to make uncertainty useful, on how to transform assumptions on working hypothesis in the tech business.


Our approach to mentoring in CSAW is based on FoAM's experience with:

  • Process facilitation, in which we combine different participatory techniques to guide discussions and co-creation towards effective collaboration and long term thinking.
  • The Lab approach, which creates space for groups to investigate complex real world challenges and to collaboratively develop a range of experiments through iterative action research.
  • Futuring techniques that explore problems and solutions from the vantage point of multiple futures, encouraging the participants to imagine and prototype how things could develop otherwise.
  • csaw/start.txt
  • Last modified: 2021-09-23 07:53
  • by michka