Date of Award

5-2011

Embargo Period

3-28-2012

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Design (MDes)

Department

Design

Advisor(s)

Dan Boyarski

Abstract

Facilitation is the use of dialogue as a strategic communication tool. It leverages the power of conversation to build shared understanding, generate new thinking, and affect an intended course of action. In the context of business communication, where complexity and change are mainstays, facilitation surfaces as a valuable communication tool for transforming unbridled complexity into meaningful knowledge.

As a case study, The China-US Business Leaders Round Table (CUSBLR) provided a unique platform to explore the use and impact of facilitation on improving the level of discussion and participant engagement in business communication. My goal was to remodel the round table conversation as a facilitator. The experience of learning how to facilitate uncovered a number of insights and connections between facilitation and other domains, including design, leadership, and improv. This project therefore documents a process of inquiry and offers a new framework for understanding facilitation.

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