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Two Ways Learning and Doing

We recognise the importance of the range of different kinds of knowledges that we all have. These include:

·       what we know through our own lived experience

·       cultural knowledge

·       tacit knowledge – the things we don’t even realise we know and take for granted

·       learned knowledge through structured education and training

We establish cross cultural teams for much of the work that we do. This is because we believe that this approach means that we can tap into a wider range of knowledges and deliver better results. We establish cross cultural teams when we are partnering with clients on projects like planning, issues discovery, policy development and problem solving.

Through our Two Ways Learning and Doing approach we create safe environments that encourage people to recognise and share their knowledges and thinking about project issues. This means that organisational decision making is more likely to be effective because it is based on broader and deeper information.

Two Ways Issues Discovery

 In most of our work a lot of knowledge relevant to the project is held by staff and other stakeholders like community members, public servants and people working in other service agencies.

Yarning and understanding

Moreton has developed a Two Ways Issues Discovery process based on yarning – semi or unstructured ‘interviews’ between our team members and key stakeholders.

Our Aboriginal Moreton team member talks individually with Aboriginal stakeholders to explore and understand their thinking about the subject at hand. This way of working offers Aboriginal people a higher level of cultural safety as we able to work in a deeply culturally competent and authentic way.

We can quickly build trust and establish a level of mutual respect and understanding that is simply not possible for non-Aboriginal consultants to do. This means that the real and important conversations related to the project are more likely to happen – and happen earlier in the project.

The non-Aboriginal team member has similar conversations with other stakeholders – e.g. service providers, public servants etc. We also have a deep understanding of this world - of how government works, the pressure of managing programs and services in mainstream organisations with shrinking budgets and less staff and the relentless time lines and red tape. We also understand the uncertainty that many whitefellas feel about how best to work with Aboriginal people.

Working in this way allows us to drill down to the underlying issues quickly in an environment of safety and confidentiality. 

Sifting and anlaysing

When we come back together, the Moreton Team then processes what we have each heard and understood from our separate discussions. Together we work through the range of perspectives and issues raised with us. We then analyse and synthesise this information so that we can play it back to the client. This is usually done in the form of a group workshop, for example as part of a planning session. 

Play back

The issues playback process means that we are able to identify the real issues relevant to the project and get them on the table early on. We do this in a safe and respectful way and we ensure that we protect everyone’s confidentiality. Our issues discovery process is an investment in the front end of project work. It leads to deeper engagement and usually leap frogs the time wasted by not focussing on the real issues. 

Two Ways Facilitation

All of the organisations we work with are dependent on the knowledge of their staff, Board, stakeholders and usually community members to deliver.

Group issues discovery and decision processes are critical for organisations working in complexity. This is because we need to tap into the knowledge and experience of people working right across the system – no one person can ever have all of the answers.

Real dialogue and genuine collaborative thinking needs trust and relationship. This makes the role of a facilitator, no matter how skilled, very difficult if they are working with a group of people unknown to them, where trust and relationships have not had time to grow.

The Two Ways Issues Discovery process helps to build trust and relationships. In addition to this, Moreton also deliberately creates culturally safe and culturally competent workshop spaces for planning, consultation and other group processes.

Cross cultural team

Moreton usually establishes a cross cultural team to facilitate group processes, such as planning workshops, consultations, focus groups, strategy development sessions etc. This is because our Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal team members see and hear different things during group processes. It is also because we are able to create a higher level of cultural safety.

By co-facilitating workshops we are able to each draw on our own lived and professional experience to ensure that the workshop process and dialogue is nestled in the context of real understanding and mutual respect. By working together we are able to create a group process that responds to different communication styles and draws out the different knowledges across the group.

The Two Ways Learning and Doing processes are more expensive initially - because there are two people instead of one. However we quickly pay for ourselves through the value of getting the real issues on the table which enables organisations to make informed decisions which drive organisational strategy and effectiveness. 

 

 

 

Last updated 26 February 2015