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Date and time: Monday 25th February 2019, 9am to 5pm (registration from 8.30am)
Location: The Studio Room at Ibis Hotel, 27-35 Turbot Street, Brisbane QLD 4000
Facilitator: Dr Lewis Atkinson
Register online by: 19 February 2019
Fees (GST inclusive): Members $440, Non-members $605, Student member $220, Student non-member $302.50

Purpose of Workshop

"Well, that was a royal waste of time!" How many times have you left a meeting and either thought this yourself or heard another say it aloud? Evaluation meetings ARE a waste of time . . . IF they are not effectively guided through a series of important processes that ensure group input is focused and balanced on achieving the desired outcomes.

Unfortunately, facilitation skills are seldom taught intentionally, seldom studied and implemented with finesse, and usually ignored as a field of study for evaluation and transformational change. Yet, it is one of the most important and powerful tools leaders can use to lead and manage evaluation and strategy in a disruptive world.

How can an evaluator guide this critical work with a team if (a) when you are “speaking to power” (b) empowering the powerless (c) a single voice dominates the conversation, (d) hostility overtakes content, (e) the focus becomes blurred, or (f) there no is cohesive structure and process to ensure success?

This workshop will demonstrate how to apply the systems thinking approach to design and confidently facilitate group sessions within the context of evaluation practice within your workplace &/or on behalf of your clients.


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Workshop Content

The workshop will explore:

  • The history, rationale and definition of Group facilitation, using the Systems Thinking Approach based on a sequence of 5 simple steps: Envision, Evaluate, Examine, Engineer, & Execute.

  • Group facilitation, its concepts, approaches, limits, techniques, forms & parameters (what/why/who/how/ where)

  • The roles, skills, and techniques and tools to successfully facilitate groups, with a special emphasis on difficult people and situations.

  • We will break into small work groups to practice the application of these techniques and tools in small number of case study scenarios that represent typical group facilitation sessions within the implementation of evaluation project (e.g. co-design research questions in consultation with program customers and stakeholders).

Workshop Outcomes

Participants in this workshop will be:

  • More effective in any group or meeting or situation you find yourself, regardless of your role as an evaluator, a participant or a facilitator.
  • A more skilled facilitator in all groups, meetings, sessions, workshops, and consultant interventions in which you find yourself.
  • More effective in dealing with difficult people and situations.
  • More aware of your strengths and weaknesses- values and behavior and how they affect the group. Be able to consciously learn, and grow to be a more effective facilitator – and eventually a Master Facilitator.
  • Better understanding of the group - thinking and learning styles and personalities, diversity and difference, ensuring all voices are heard, dealing with conflicts.
  • Better understanding the facilitation process - developing a facilitation plan to achieve the group's objectives.
  • Able to facilitate meetings (for problem-solving and decision-making), learning, and/or change.
  • Able to choose and use the right facilitation tool for the situation - pros and cons.

Who should attend

This workshop is for BOTH beginner-level and intermediate-level evaluators.

This is a workshop for people who wish to improve their skills at facilitating group discussion, decision making, problem solving and other activities. It is for people who work with adults, teenagers or children in group settings.

We will assume that all people have experience of group activities. The workshop is designed to help you become more aware of what you already know, and add to the methods and processes you can use in group settings.

People who can benefit from the workshop include commissioners, evaluation managers, group leaders in all settings, teachers and trainers, beginning facilitators, internal evaluators and external consultants, program managers and policy officers.

Evaluators will be able to use the universal systems thinking model to enhance their ability to confidently lead, design & facilitate:

  • Consultations with customers and stakeholders;
  • Evaluation project or work teams;
  • Committee/decision-making groups;
  • Managing & commission evaluations;
  • Co-design/manage evaluation capacity building projects;
  • Lessons learned sessions


Dr Lewis Atkinson is certified in the systems thinking approach® to strategic management. He is Global Partner with the Haines Centre for Strategic Management LLC and has many government, private and non-profit clients in Australia and internationally. He is also a member of the Ian Potter Foundation Evaluation pool. He is also a senior associate with Impact Innovation which is specialist innovation and technology commercialisation consultancy.

During a long career at Meat and Livestock Australia, he held several executive positions over 16 years, most recently as Manager Knowledge & Program Evaluation where he led the evaluation technical working group on behalf of the Council of Rural Research and Development Corporations Chairs (CRRDCC) to report the collective impact of Rural R&D at multiple levels (project, program, industry sector) across 15 different agricultural industry sector organisations.

He has been an associate of the Melbourne University Consulting and Custom Programs team delivering post graduate programs in innovation and commercialisation, including design and facilitation of the Go8 Future Research Leaders Program (FRLP). He has been certified by the Australian Institute for Commercialisation to facilitate their Commercialisation Bootcamp for more than 400 entrepreneurs, inventors and researchers.


Please note that this workshop is designed to be delivered in a one-day format that will provide intermediate-level evaluators with sufficient capability to successful design & facilitate as session to achieve desired outcomes for their team &/or clients. However, a beginner-level evaluator may require optional one-on-one online coaching to successfully design & facilitate a session for their team &/or clients.


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