This exercise enables the participants to create the content of the workshop. During the previous day, tell the participants to think about a topic or issue they want to discuss, how they would approach it and have them make some notes if necessary. Also, point out that not everyone has to come up with an idea. It is useful to tell people how much time they will have beforehand so they don’t show up with ideas that are too ambitious and cannot be completed in the given time. The duration of the exercise should be no less than 60 minutes.
At the start of the exercise, invite all those with an idea for discussion to briefly present what their group would discuss. Each topic or memorable keyword should be written on a separate sheet of paper. These should be put up on the wall. Then do a quick survey to see how many participants are interested in each topic. Write the number of participants on each paper, but note that each person should only select three or four topics.
Those who initiated and presented the ideas are the “topic leaders” and are responsible for organising the discussion as they had planned it (other participants may help in facilitating and implementing the exercise in general). They cannot leave the group until the discussion is completed or the time runs out. The other participants can decide to participate in the work of one working group from beginning to end or to go and see what is being done in other groups whenever they choose.
If there is enough time to do two consecutive rounds, it should be announced that there will be two rounds with each lasting 60 minutes. The first round will start as soon as the groups are set up and the second after the first finishes and a short break is taken. Divide up the topics so that one set is done in the first round and the other in the second round. It is best to split the two topics for which there is most interest into the two rounds. Once the topics are divided among the first and second round, invite the participants to write their names on the papers of the discussions they want to participate in. Once people have selected the topics, check whether it might be a good idea to swap places for some topics (from the first to the second round or vice versa). Topics that no one selects need not be implemented and their leaders can join any of the other groups.
It would be useful to have two separate rooms or a larger room so that the groups can work without disturbing each other.