Planning a participatory workshop

What is a participatory workshop?

At its most basic, a participatory workshop is an organised event which brings a group of people together to seek their opinions, extract their knowledge and to solve problems in a collaborative and creative environment.

Sound like common sense? Good! Because that is precisely what it is. But for some reason these are things which we all too often tend to pay lip service to, or just do badly. How often have you sat in on, or perhaps even run, a ‘brainstorming session’ where a reluctant group of bored, unengaged people sit listlessly around a table staring at a blank whiteboard desperately hoping someone will break the silence and come up with an idea, any idea? Or perhaps the other end of the spectrum with an over-animated group of people with everybody talking and nobody listening, desperately trying to push their point of view and trampling over everyone else in the process?

A successful participatory workshop will avoid both these scenarios. It provides the best possible environment to garner opinions and ideas from those present in a creative and collaborative fashion and to capture the outputs. And what is more – it’s great fun!

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Published: 21 September 2012 | Last updated: 8 November 2012