see-saw co-development

Stage 1: Reflection

The aims of this first stage of See-Saw Co-Development is for participants to be introduced to the process, helped to think over good ideas that they have had or heard about, to reflect on what they have to offer as individuals, to relate these to initiatives, and to prepare briefs for Stage 2: Conversation. The See-Saw process provides people, known as guides, who can help with these, if needed.

This stage centres around reflection of what is of value to the participant, and to relate this both to potential initiatives and to potential roles. What is of values may be apparent through several different routes, and guides needs to be sensitive and flexible to help find the most appropriate route for each different participant.

The main outcomes of Stage 1 should be, first, that the participant develops their understanding of what they would really value, are able to do, and like to do; and second, the participant prepares two “briefs” — one for the participant as individual, and one for the participant as the representative of an initiative.

Starting to reflect

Reflection could start around points such as these:

Stimulating reflection on values and aims

Several further questions may help the participant towards achieving the outcomes of Stage 1. Here are some suggestions for questions that could be asked. If guides are involved, they should remember that this is not a structured interview, but more like a coaching or counselling session, so what matters is what helps.

The first three questions introduce three main themes for exploring values.

The next set of questions, if they are needed, may help to clarify the division between what to do oneself, and what to ask others to do.

Helping to formulate the briefs

Each brief needs to be limited to 100 words, to ensure that it can be read meaningfully within a minute. A diagram or graphic can be added to any brief if it would help.

Because it is essential to have useful briefs for the conversation meeting, it is a pre-condition of participation in a conversation meeting that both briefs must be accepted by the meeting facilitator. A guide may be able to help with preparation. It is important to emphasise that the role of any guide is not to judge the ideas themselves, but only to advise on whether they will work well in the context of a Conversation meeting.

Each brief needs a short title, which can be used as a memory aid, for instance when writing down agreed roles. Titles should be kept within about 60 characters.

The individual brief

Has the participant created CVs or résumés recently? In this case, that could be a start on formulating an individual brief, though the focus of this brief should be on identifying the knowledge, skills and attitudes that the participant genuinely values, and which he or she will be most satisfied in using — this is in contrast to a CV, where the focus is on the abilities that are wanted by the prospective employer. The See-Saw process is not the same as the currently normal recruitment process, because the aim in See-Saw is to achieve authentic value for all concerned. Furthermore, See-Saw is explicitly open to the idea of participants developing. The participant may want to get some feedback about what roles might work in the future, were he or she to learn more in some chosen direction.

In See-Saw terms, the individual brief can be thought of as a "SAW" — a Summary of Ability and Willingness, with the emphasis on the willingness, as personal values are aligned with what someone is truly willing to do.

The individual brief title should be a name for the individual (any variant, as preferred), plus a phrase hinting at a core feature of what they offer. At simplest, this could take the form “Fred Bloggs: graphic artist”. Existing job roles or titles may however not be so useful.

The initiative brief

It may be best not to use the word “I” at all in the initiative brief, but to write it just from the perspective of the initiative itself. Participants may think of themselves as being at the heart of the initiative, or not. It is perfectly OK to write a brief about a initiative in which one would play no personal role, beyond envisaging it.

The initiative may, on the one hand, be already up and running. In this case, the brief needs to express what that initiative is already doing, and emphasise the values promoted or represented by the initiative.

On the other hand, the initiative may be just an idea — a dream of something that would be a good idea to do. In this case, the brief may be best focused on the purpose and values of the imagined initiative.

In See-Saw terms, this brief can be called the "SEE" — the Summary of an Engaging Enterprise. It needs to be written to engage the enthusiasm of people who share the values that are at the core of the initiative or enterprise.

The initiative brief title should have a name for the initiative, however tentative, and, if the name is not already clear enough, a strapline or subtitle giving a hint of the aim, mission or values of the initiative.

Challenges in writing briefs

There is more discussion of difficulties and challenges in brief writing in the notes for guides.