August 2022

Is it a cliché to say facilitation is an art? Even so, here at Innovation Network, it’s one we are always looking to practice, cultivate, and refine. When we facilitate, we want every participant to feel like they belong in the space and have a voice in the process. This month, we’re sharing resources on equitable and inclusive facilitation that we have found helpful to improve and reflect on our evaluation practice. 
Anti-Oppressive Facilitation for Democratic Processes
Words of wisdom from a seasoned facilitator
Autumn Brown has been facilitating spaces in social justice movements for over a decade, so it is fair to say she knows a thing or two about navigating decision-making processes and their power dynamics. In this Next Economy Now podcast, Brown discusses her experience facilitating for democratic processes using an anti-oppressive lens, while digging into some concrete facilitation advice. Even if you don’t identify as a facilitator per se, you may still find some valuable wisdom in the discussion. As Brown says, “Everyone benefits from learning how to listen, and how to recognize patterns, and how to support people to come to consensus.”
Guidance for mitigating oppressive behaviors
As evaluators, we can often be put in situations where we’re confronted with harmful behaviors in the spaces and meetings we’re facilitating; in some cases, we’re the ones perpetuating them. The RESULTS Guide to Equitable Spaces presents useful language and flags to help confront some of these behaviors and create spaces where people feel “welcome, safe, comfortable, and able to fully participate in the conversation.” In particular, the guide provides a great overview of calling people in or out along with examples of what each may look like in practice.
Facilitator's Guide to Making Meetings Accessible
Creating spaces for all
The pandemic highlighted some stark barriers to participation for many people with restricted access to technology or who were differently abled. Seeds for Change shares a concise, practical facilitation guide to help mitigate some of those barriers, especially for people with physical and sensory impairments. Much like creating equitable spaces, this guide helps facilitators curate spaces where all can engage to their fullest. 
We are becoming more equitable, both within our organization and through the way we work with our partners. In case you missed it, read the transformation letter from our Board and Consultant Team and our new Vision and Values. Follow our transformation in this blog series.
From the Innovation Network Team
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