I’m still at SPA. Marc Evers and I co-facilitated the ‘these are just some of my favourite tools workshop yesterday. We go to SPA to meet our peers, and each year we take something with us we hadn’t seen before. With a group of ten people we spent a quiet afternoon sharing the tools that help us kick ass.
Interesting tools that were new for me:
Soft Systems Methodology, Most Generous Interpretation (if someone says something during a meeting that makes you angry, find the most generous interpretation and use that to create a response) and Moo Cow (a cow toy, that makes a moo noise when you twist it, can be used to stop discussions when they go nowhere, or when someone feels uncomfortable. It can also be used as an ‘integration token’ in a software development team)
Most puzzling for people that were only looking at the session output: Moo Cow and Mandala.
We had a variety of high-tech, low-tech and ‘people and process’ tools, some high-tech (digital cameras and scanners) supporting low-tech (index cards, mindmaps and mandalas).
Marc Evers demonstrating Watir
As often we didn’t follow the process we had set out to use. We let the workshop self-organize around a form of discussion that gave us most energy. We went round the table with introductions, each stating what brought us to SPA (since this was the first session) and our favourite tool. Then we did another round, which took most of the afternoon, where everyone talked about their favourite tools in-depth, the others asking questions (‘how does that work, why is it valuable, oh, that reminds me of this … I’m using). As we went round, more and more tools made their way onto indexcards. We ended by speeding up the rounds (three minutes per tool) and then an affinity grouping, yielding a sort of thematic (mind)map of the tools we discussed.