“One day, not so long ago, a pair of co-facilitators had gotten themselves into trouble. Their three-day training was just one week away, and they learned their plan wouldn’t work and they didn’t have time to get the information they needed to make a new plan. (Oh no!) What were they going to do?
They would have to create the training as it happened, using each activity to plan the next. It was a big challenge.
To prepare, they thought hard about every activity and process they had ever facilitated or participated in. Then they wrote each one down on an index card. And they brought a whole stack with them to facilitate the training. It was a great success! (Hooray!)
For years, Meg & Sam continued remaking these cards, even when they weren’t in trouble. The cards helped them be creative and made planning new facilitations easy and fun.
Then Sam had an idea. What if these were real cards? What if we made them beautiful, indestructible, and reusable? Sam started researching what it would take, then got to designing the cards. Meg thought it was a great idea and was excited to help. And Facilitator Cards were born!”
– The Facilitator Cards Story
A Deck For You, Not Your Participants
This is another collaboration with Meg Bolger, with whom I co-created The Safe Zone Project, FacilitatingXYZ, and co-authored Unlocking the Magic of Facilitation. Like all of those projects, we made Facilitator Cards to fill a particular void in our work world, a tool that we found ourselves needing, that didn’t already exist.
There are lots of decks of cards out in the world for facilitators, and we love lots of them – We! Connect Cards, Ubuntu Cards, Climer Cards, to name a few. But none of the ones we love are actually for facilitators. They’re cards we use, but they’re really for our participants.
We pass them out, use them as props to make processes more powerful, to inspire ideas for them – for our participants. And they’re amazing tools for that!
Facilitator Cards depart from that norm. They’re a deck that your participants will never need to be touched, in order to be moved by them. As we say on the site, they’re cards for planning facilitations, responding to your group’s needs, improvising when the unexpected comes up, and getting on the same page with your co-facilitator.
A Little More Backstory
Facilitator Cards were the byproduct of a mishap, as detailed in the [true] story above, and a couple years of work: testing prototypes, talking with manufacturers & distributors, consulting environmental experts and researching humane work practices & ethical standards. We wanted to make an amazing product, and not have it be detrimental to humans or the planet.
In March 2020, amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we completed a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter to manufacture the cards, and they’ll be shipping to everyone by September.
To read all about that, and peek behind the curtain, read this post I wrote for patrons: Behind the Curtain of the Facilitator Cards Kickstarter (a COVID-19 story).
Some of My Fav Stats
Calculated using a mix of methods (and generally underrepresented due to limitations), here's what Facilitator Cards looks like by the numbers: