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John James

Stop brainstorming… use the 6-3-5 method instead

What’s the best way to generate new ideas? Hopefully it won’t surprise you to know that it isn’t brainstorming, as we touched on that in an earlier episode. Having lots of people shouting out ideas over the top of each other may seem exciting, but brainstorming doesn’t generate the greatest number of useful ideas. In this episode we’re going to introduce you to a better way of generating ideas—the… Read more »Stop brainstorming… use the 6-3-5 method instead

How to better understand our target audience

We recently posted about designing an effective extension program and as part of that we talked about the need to understand our target audience. Today we thought it would be good to explore what that meant. Where would we start? In this post we are going back to basics and exploring what we can discover about our target audience, often without even needing to speak with them. Let’s start… Read more »How to better understand our target audience

What is a Theory of change?

In one of our recent episodes we covered designing an extension program. While putting that together, we realised that there were other important aspects to cover that complement the design of an extension program. One of these is developing a Theory of change. But that brings us to the questions—what is a Theory of change and how would we use one?  Theory of change has often been used in… Read more »What is a Theory of change?

Let’s do more experiments!

A quick poll: do you pull bandaids off slowly or rip them off quickly? Denise tends to go slowly on the bandaid front (although bear in mind that if there’s any blood, then it’s someone else’s job not hers!). And John says rip them off quickly! So then the question is: does it actually make any difference, and if so, which is less painful? Believe it or not, but… Read more »Let’s do more experiments!

Using adult learning principles in webinars

Do you think, like some others, that adult learning principles sound like an old, outdated approach – something that was dreamed up in the 1970s and 80s, and surely cannot still be relevant? In this episode we will explore how we can apply adult learning principles to super-charge our webinars.  As we discussed in an earlier episode, Malcolm Knowles identified six key adult learning principles back in 1970. For… Read more »Using adult learning principles in webinars

Designing an effective extension program

We need an extension program! For those of us working as enablers of change, this can be something we hear when our colleagues are designing a new project. In the past, we might have been asked to add this in once the R&D project components had been developed. But hopefully these days we would be contributing this at the beginning of the process, and ideally co-designing it with end-users… Read more »Designing an effective extension program

Five useful facilitation resources

Sometimes as Enablers of change we just need a few more ideas to help us plan, design and run our activities. Where do we go when we want more resources and ideas for facilitating? In previous episodes we’ve given you our top five journals, journal articles, blogs, and podcasts. These resources aren’t any of those and so are a bit of an eclectic mix around facilitation and running small… Read more »Five useful facilitation resources

Why hybrid events are often horrible!

Are you thinking of running a hybrid event where you have attendees both online and physically present in one or more venues? You might think it will give you the best of both worlds, but in this episode we will show you why it is often the worst of both worlds—and what you might be able to do about that!  In agriculture our perspective is often that hybrids are usually… Read more »Why hybrid events are often horrible!

One simple technique to improve online meetings

Thanks to COVID-19, the prevalence of online meetings has dramatically increased. But unfortunately these are often unsuccessful. In this episode we explore one simple technique to make online meetings more successful, which is strangely connected to people pulling on a rope! One aspect that is often overlooked with online meetings is the role that each attendee plays in ensuring the meeting’s success. Over a hundred years ago, Max Ringelmann,… Read more »One simple technique to improve online meetings

What is the ideal group size for a breakout room?

It is now relatively easy to create breakout rooms in several webinar platforms, but what is the ideal group size for them? In this episode we’re going to explore whether it is two or twenty-two, or somewhere in between.  John was recently in an online meeting where he was placed in a breakout room with about 20 other people, which was a rather unsatisfying experience for him and we assume… Read more »What is the ideal group size for a breakout room?