A nice simple video with good general tips about Facilitating

the e-book to go with this video

Conflict Resolution

PREVENTION is usually a more resource-effective way to 'solve' problems, and this is where good design comes in: a well-designed system works optimally, provides for everyone's needs and so destructive conflicts will not happen (not all conflict is destructive, much is in fact  creative).

But when a conflict has arisen, that is always an invitation to re-design, and the more stressed the situation, the more skill has to be applied to the re-design.  

Here are some resources from brilliant thinkers and activists who have worked a long time in the area of conflict resolution, and have some important wisdom to share.

The Eighteenth Camel

A story told by William Ury.   A man passed away and left as inheritance his 17 camels to his 3 sons.  To the eldest son he left half of the camels, to the second son one third of the camels and to the youngest son, one ninth of the camels. 

The sons tried to divide 17 by two, three & nine, found it doesn't, started arguing, then tempers started to flare, fraternal relations started to strain...   An impossible situation.

So in desperation they consulted a wise old woman.  And the wise old woman ("the third side") thought about their problem for a long time, then came back and said:  "I don't know if I can solve your problem, but if you like you can have my camel" - and she gave them her camel.    

Then the brothers had 18 camels.
And 18 does divide by 2 -  so the eldest brother could have 9 camels,
and 18 divides by 3 - so the middle brother took 6 camels,
and 18 also divides by 9 - which meant the youngest could have 2 camels.
But 9 + 6 + 2 is 17, so there was a camel left over, which the brothers returned to the wise old woman.

"The third side" is whatever or whoever can generate some creative 'lateral thinking' that un-glue a seemingly impossible problem by re-framing the positions into a wider context.   

That is the main task of a facilitator in a conflict situation: to come up with the 18th camel.


This is a well-studied subject and here is an introduction in the form of two videos from the Emory School of Law:

Advanced Negotiations pt.1

Advanced Negotiations pt. 2

There are a lot of tools that facilitators use, here are some:

All Integral Permaculture designers are Facilitators, because any design in some way is attempting to increase Collective Intelligence.

We are Facilitators especially if we work with groups of people regularly, ej. coordinating Study Groups or Support Groups, Transition Communities or any group permaculture design.

From Option D of the Integral Permaculture Academy courses, action-learning facilitators are supported actively.

Here are some additional materials specifically on 'facilitation', although since 'facilitating' = 'designing', then in actual fact all of this manual is full of resources for facilitators of the transition toward sustainability (integral permaculture designers).

Subpages (1): Communications
Stella Ne,
26 Mar 2011, 18:44