The word “facilitation” refers to the process of helping a group to attain its goal by designing and using engagement methods. It is the key to building and sustaining the participatory activities of effective experience capitalization. The facilitator is concerned with process rather than content. Because capitalization is a diverse, stakeholder-driven process, facilitation helps to bring in multiple perspectives, rather than having to agree on one particular vision. This involves skillful use of the diversity in the room. The group gives the facilitator authority, and the facilitator must use that authority in as neutral a manner as possible.
The main role of the facilitator is to help the group to achieve its goals. The primary use of facilitation in the experience capitalization process is to support discussions to help capture experiences and draw specific lessons from them. This support should help the discussions to be effective, goal-oriented and time-efficient. The facilitator role can be taken on by staff, a skilled stakeholder or an outsider. The facilitators bring skills to create a conducive environment for the different contexts, needs and communication preferences within a group. They may work with groups face-to-face and online. There are some special skills for facilitating online that take into account this very different environment.
Facilitation tasks cover preparation for a capitalization activity, general meeting facilitation and the specific selection of facilitation methods for each step of the capitalization process. The preparation can be achieved by focusing upon the purpose, participants, process and expected “pay off” or objective.