Where does Dynamic Facilitation come from?

Dynamic Facilitation was developed in the early 1980s by Jim Rough, an American. At that time, Jim was employed as a personnel developer and quality consultant in the Northwest of the USA. In the course of his work, he experimented with creativity techniques because he was repeatedly confronted with complex questions and problems as well as seemingly unsolvable conflicts.

He experienced the employees as aggressive and destructive on the job, while in his private life he knew them to be quite loving and creative. He wanted to overcome this separation. He thought about how he could bring these seemingly wonderful people with their unique potential to co-create and reorganize an organization.

He quickly realized that all the content he knew about facilitation at the time did not work well in this context. Inspired by a seminar on C.G. Jung and the original creativity inherent in every human being, he developed his own approach to bring this source to bear and make it usable: Dynamic Facilitation!

Jim followed the observation that our thinking is generally not linear or sequential, but rather erratic and irregular. From this, as a core element of his Dynamic Facilitation, he developed a procedure in which all conceivable formulations in a group regarding questions and problems, solutions and ideas, concerns and additional information are recorded simultaneously, just as they are alive in the respective person.

This opens a space in which each participant comes into deep contact with personal truth and the individual source. Through the integration of emotions and needs, everyone feels heard, accepted and understood. As the process progresses, the whole, big picture gradually becomes apparent, like putting together a puzzle. The core of a problem is transformed through Dynamic Facilitation into a – usually unanimous – solution by all participants.

Entirely new choices emerge that were not known, tangible or conceivable in this form before the dialogue. What happens is an expansion or shift in consciousness about a problem or issue that you want to get to the bottom of. Jim calls this “choice-creating.

When this happens, so-called creative breakthroughs can occur in an entire group. First, the problem/topic changes, then the people involved change (for example, by distancing themselves from their previous point of view), and then new creative possibilities are born. This phenomenon is described by Jim as “Dynamic Quality”, i.e. the quality and values that change in the process.

This is how the idea of the Wisdom Council Process was born

Almost 20 years later, in the late 1990s, and after many DF seminars, Jim found that most of the participants had really “big issues” to work on and could solve with DF. In order to enable the connection and further development of the resulting solutions to other people in the system, he conceived the one-and-a-half-day Wisdom Council Process, which today is also used worldwide as a Citizen’s Council to bring the wisdom of the many to bear and to support people in creating a new togetherness.


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