Content and Collaboration (3)

Facilitator with flipchart and groupWe are masters of collaboration, working with groups, and bringing people to consensus. 

  • We have facilitated and supported ongoing working groups of people in management and operational roles across the country, using in person meetings and via conferencing, supported by online document sharing, website action registers, e-mail discussion lists, and other mechanisms.
  • We have assembled panels of industy experts to identify best practices, develop positions, and formulate approaches, including development of a major transformational policy proposal for a National Employment Investment Policy. We shared documents online.
  • We have assembled groups of facilitators with domain specialties such as acquisition / procurement and healthcare, for diverse groups of participants.
  • We have planned and facilitated a Beneficiary Summit representing diversity of age, race, gender, and disability from every state and territory, and brought them to consensus on their recommendations to Congress, the Social Security Administration. We used online action planning tools as well as conferencing.
  • We planned the first JoomlaDay in the Washington, DC area, working with a group of Joomla! experts who for the most part had not planned such a conference before. We used collaboration tools such as Google Docs and Project Fork to share planning documents and milestones in real time and virtual space. We used Google Forms to virtually instantaneously develop and share a survey of participants, collecting their responses into a Google Docs spreadsheet we shared.
Monday, 28 October 2013 16:53

Content Management

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Busy woman in office with messy filesContent management systems empower ordinary people to update websites and add content. This means that changes and updates can be made and reviewed immediately by those people who understand their own domain -- without needing extensive knowledge of html and web coding.  However,  the sticking point that delays websites is often getting the content together.

It's all about content, isn't it? The message, the meaning, communicating with the appropriate audience, and accomplishing the mission, without delay or aggravation?  There's still sometimes a catch. The content isn't sitting there on a shelf ready to go.

Ursa Major Consulting straddles the line between technology and business savvy. We work with you to set up not just a pretty shell of your website, but to support you in making it a tool to meet your objectives. That means we get inside your head and learn your domain and help you get that content and communication flowing.

We interview your people, read your documents, help get your content structured and recast the material for your approval, accelerating the process you would otherwise have to go through. We not only get your content to your website, we get out your electronic newsletters and other communications as appropriate to your audiences, we plan and facilitate your working groups and your off-site meetings.

We are expert in the Joomla! open source content management system and are also fluent in WordPress. In addition, with our significant Government contracting background, we are expert in writing proposals and a broad range of analytical reports and deliverables.  Let us help you with your content!

Joomla button: It's all about content

Sunday, 27 October 2013 03:45

Facilitation Techniques

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Facilitation is the art of tapping into the knowledge and experience that clients already have, and working with them to help them achieve their objectives.  We clarify the strategic intent, and then specifically design both the process and the agenda to achieve the objectives of the event, whether they be purely business oriented, interpersonal or team oriented, or a combination of the two. 

We plan for the personality and needs of the group.  We carefully orchestrate the desired atmosphere, to create an environment conducive to open communication and creativity.  As appropriate, we develop processes to reach out to and involve diverse stakeholders, whether that participation is directly at a facilitated in-person meeting or via other methods such as teleconference, survey, or web collaboration. We have facilitated groups that range in size from a few people to hundreds of people, and know how to tailor the agenda and facilitation plan to meet the needs of groups of various sizes.

Working with diverse stakeholders requires a wider range of skills than does facilitating a group of people from a single organization structure.  We have been successful on many projects that involve cross-organizational input and participation from Congress, Federal agencies, State and local agencies, policy makers, political appointees, scientists, academia, national nonprofit organizations, local nonprofit agencies, industry representatives from large and small firms, and private citizens. 

Facilitation-wayne-charlie-50pctWe use a variety of group facilitation techniques and tools including icebreakers, brainstorming, breakout groups, flipcharts, etc. We use specific techniques to move a group toward consensus, for example, dot-polls for rough prioritization.   We use tools such as sticky walls (rip-stop nylon sprayed with an adhesive) to flexibly place and re-arrange items recorded on pieces of paper when the ability to reorganize is important. We use laptops to project text in large fonts and make changes the entire group can see when the changes are not extensive.  We also take copious notes and provide meeting minutes or a draft and final report following each meeting. We support planning and coordination of meeting logistics, development of background or read-ahead materials, note taking and/or transcription, and publishing of reports, including graphics and printing where appropriate.

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