Designing Participatory Events

Advance preparation and appropriate design are the keys to facilitating any participatory event. Partners associates hold a ‘design’ meeting with clients prior to any facilitation in order to gather the background, identify the objectives and choose the appropriate methods to achieve both the rational and experiential aims of the event. We can work with you, and core team, to design your upcoming conference, action planning, sharing rally, issue forum, town hall or other community and organizational events. We can help develop a clear focus, and participatory and effective procedures to ensure that people feel engaged and productive throughout the event. We can also work with you to train the session facilitators from your own team in advance of the event with those tailored facilitation procedures.


Illustrative examples of our work with past clients include:

    1. The Urban Land Institute. “Arizona One Reality Check” This event provided an opportunity for people in Central AZ to begin thinking strategically about dealing with the influx of 6 million additional people over the next 30-40 years—where they would live, where jobs would be concentrated and where transportation systems need to be established. The Urban Land Institute and other co-sponsors selected a diverse mix of 300 participants, organized them in tables of 10 around huge maps of the area divided into 1-mile squares, and provided them with 1258 legos representing people and jobs with different colors of yarn for modes of transportation. Each table had 3 hours to create a growth scenario based on their best wisdom.Partners in Participation associates were responsible for recruiting and training 30 volunteer facilitators for the tables and for facilitating a follow-up session to begin integrating the insights and values of the different scenarios
    2. The Central Council Tlingit and Haida Indian Tribes of Alaska invited Partners to design and facilitate the “Tribal Leaders Summit” in Juneau, Alaska. This 2-day Action Planning process took place with 120 participants in Environmental Protection Agency Region 10. The EPA and tribal leaders wanted more opportunities during the Tribal Leaders Summit to discuss issues and make mutual commitments. The group began by developing a shared response to the question, “How can region 10 interagencies and tribes work together effectively on climate change?” Each of the 8 key arenas of their response was then summarized in a proposal paragraph form and combined with one or two other arenas into 3 working groups. Participants self selected into the three groups and decided on one year outcomes they were committed to do.
    3. American Islamic Forum for Democracy. Designed an interactive and thought provoking conference agenda, and facilitated the proceedings of a series of workshops addressing sensitive issues of identity and mission for this fledgling organization. Resulted in an agenda for action and ongoing cohort that continues to engage virtually while taking positive action locally.
    4. University of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Nursing. The Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships (MAPP) is a strategic planning framework for improving community health. This project partners with the Southern Nevada Health District to enable completion of the Community Themes and Strengths Assessment phase of MAPP. A Partners Associate facilitated focus groups to provide information on how Southern Nevada residents perceive their health and quality of life, while tracking their knowledge of community assets. The results will be used to identify issues that will guide the planning, implementing, and evaluating of additional assessments and a strategic plan to improve public health.
    5. Urban Arts Movement Worked with local youth and key adult leaders to kick off the Urban Arts Movement in downtown Phoenix. Facilitated open space and informational workshops which cumulated in a history wall of Art influences in Phoenix and an action plan for youth and adults to work together in providing more art and dance opportunities for city youth.