December 2009 IAFMD Newsletter

Dear colleagues

Welcome to the IAF-Methods Database Newsletter. We hope your month was enjoyable.


This past month we past the 500 methods mark. We are pleased to achieve this hallmark in our efforts to serve the community of people who use facilitation methods.
For the last 10 weeks Sarah Altkruger, a student at the University of Groningen has been working on the database and much of the credit goes to her for reaching our 500th method.
We have also begin to shift our focus to method that deal with more complex issues such as Wicked Problems and Dynamic Complexity. If you have suggestions about methods that respond to these types of problems we would like some guidance.

New Method

Assumption Articulation


To bring to awareness assumption being made about the situation in a problem solving process and to check the validity of assumptions being made in a problems making process.


Flipchart, markers etc.


1. Bringing to awareness the assumptions about the problems and the situation in which the problem operates is an often overlooked but important process in the problem solving process.
2. Assumptions are always present and necessary.
-- a. They set limits on the problem and potential solutions.
-- b. They reflect operating values,
-- c. They simplify the problem.
3. Assumptions are self-imposed and not imposed by the situation.
4. Once assumptions are articulated then we can ask each assumption; “Is it necessary?” “Is it appropriate?”

Surfacing Assumptions
5. Write out a clear and as detailed as possible statement of the problem.
6. Write the focus question in the centre of a flipchart paper.
-- a. List all the aspects of the problem.
-- b. List all the constrains caused by the problem.
7. (1) Ask individuals to list 10 assumptions that we are making about the problem.
8. Put up all of the unique assumptions on a white board or flipchart paper.
9. (2) Put up a list of types of assumptions (or have the group make the list): time, finances, etc. and ask if this reminds us of any other assumptions that should be examined. Put these on the flipchart of assumptions.
10. (3) Look at the focused question, its aspects and constraints. List the assumptions being made with them.
Examining Assumptions
11. Assign groups to examine the assumptions:
-- a. Write out the assumption as a sentence.
-- b. Ask is this assumption needed to do the project?
-- c. Ask if it is not necessary is it suitable?
-- d. Prepare a report to he larger group.
12. Have groups report their conclusions.
13. Discuss particularly those that are being recommended to be changed.
There are 3 separate ways of surfacing assumptions in this workshop. Marked (1), (2), and (3).

Last Month's Poll

The results are now available for the November poll about “The per hour rate I charge my clients to facilitate a group (please convert your rate to US Dollars per hour) is:
< $100.00 per hour = 21.0%
$100.00 > $150.00 per hour = 29.0%
$150.00 > $200.00 per hour = 14.0%
$200.00 > $250.00 per hour = 7.0%
$250.00 > $300.00 per hour = 14.0%
$300.00 > $350.00 per hour = 7.0%
$350.00 > $400.00 per hour = 7.0%
$400.00 > $450.00 per hour = 0.0%
$450.00 > $500.00 per hour = 0.0%
$500.00 > $550.00 per hour = 0.0%
>$500.00 per hour = 0.0%

If you have a suggestion for a poll please contact us.


Occasionally we publish podcasts by facilitators. We hope to have more. If you would like to submit a podcast for the site please contact

To hear the Podcasts go to the Downloads Section and click on Podcasts. Click the name of the person you want ot listen to and download the file.

Add Methods

We encourage all of you suppliers to add methods to the database.

Imagine if of us each added one method a month!

If you have a method and would like us to add it for you, please send a description of it (see the query page for the information) along with your name and website.

Have you "Shared a Method" this month?