Training Course Overview Group Facilitation Methods
Participatory Startigic Planning
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How We Work (ToP) We develop, demonstrate and train people in effective approaches to facilitating participation and partnership.

Our approach enables people to actively create, and participate in, the changes that affect them - in their own lives, in their groups, teams and organisations, and in their communities and societies.

The 'Technology of Participation' (ToP)

We specialise in a methodology developed by ICA over its 50 year history working with people, communities and organisations in South Africa and worldwide. This is known as the 'Technology of Participation' (ToP).
The Technology of Participation provides a structured approach to facilitation – a system of practical methods that can enable you, as a facilitator, to:

  • actively involve all members of a group in decision making
  • maximise individuals' commitment and engagement
  • build a team spirit that lasts
  • achieve consensus
  • articulate a shared vision
  • make plans that really happen

ToP is our speciality and informs all of our work. However, in our tailored facilitation work our experienced people use a wide range of methodologies and approaches.

Elements of the ToP approach

ToP comprises two basic group facilitation methods and a system of techniques for planning and organising events. These tools can be combined to design processes that enable people to effectively accomplish a wide variety of tasks.
The basic methods are known as the  Focused Conversation Method and the Concensus Workshop method. Common applications include the Action Planning, the Participatory Strategic Planning process, the Historical Scan (or Wall of Wonder), and many more.

Biases & origins of the ToP approach

Compared to other approaches to facilitation, ToP methods are biased toward:

  • participation – our approach enables everyone to have a say and influence the decision of the group
  • teamwork & collaboration – our approach builds a deep sense of team spirit and achievement
  • creativity – our approach brings out new and creative ideas that people never knew they had
  • action – our approach ensures that your meetings are not just talk: individuals’ sense of ownership of the group’s decisions means that they are actually implemented
  • reflection and learning – our approach enables people to learn more about themselves and each other from the process of working together

Excellent reasons to choose the ToP® Series for your training

An Effective Approach... The ToP® courses will aid those who are creating a climate of involvement in the workplace. You will experience the methods, talk about the theory behind them, practice them in small groups, and then get feedback on your style and skills. You'll leave these courses ready to immediately apply what you've learned.

An Exceptionally Qualified Faculty... Each faculty team brings a wealth of both up front facilitation and training experience coming from work with large and small businesses, nonprofits, community agencies, governmental and educational institutions and neighborhoods. They are skilled at both transferring these methods and answering your questions about how these methods work. The faculty provides an interdisciplinary and multicultural approach to organizational change and development..

Documented Success... The ToP® methods use innovative approaches which have been extensively researched and field tested. ToP® methods are supported by practical results that have proven sustainable over time. Participants and leaders gain a renewed confidence in their capability to support participative approaches and strategies in their organization.

Take-Home References... Our comprehensive participant workbook, which clearly outlines the steps for each method, is a practical tool for your future use.

Limited Course Size... Programs are all presented in a relaxed and interactive small group learning environment. Courses are intentionally limited in size and are taught by at least two trainers to insure the highest levels of participation and learning.

Using the Technology of Participation® series, you will learn to:

  • Capture the power of diversity and harvest it for a shared vision.
  • Focus group energy by utilizing individual insight.
  • Build commitment by using a process that assures effective action.

ToP® courses are also available in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Egypt, Germany, Ghana, Guatemala, India, The Netherlands, Nigeria, Peru, Spain, Taiwan, Tajikistan, Tanzania, Uganda, The United Kingdom, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

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