The Headstand Technique – An experience report

Whenever we ask our clients for which moderation topic they want to get an update for, there’s one answer we always get: methods, methods, methods.

And no wonder, it’s all about standing in front of a crowd and use a technique, that one might have learned about weeks or months ago (and maybe for the first and only time). And now one has to pretend to be an expert in it.

Here, as quite about anywhere else, the golden rule is: „Practice makes the expert!“. But a little bit of extra support won’t hurt, no? 🙂

Therefore.. here’s a look back upon one of my favourite methods: the headstand technique.

And again we’ve invited a guest author to tell you a bit about her experiences with the use of this technique. Meet our dear ex FFG-colleague Astrid Hoebertz!

Guest Article Astrid Hoebertz

Trainer in the FFG Academy, seminar leader “Submitting proposals in Horizon 2020 – Focus on cooperation projects“ 

“I’ve used the headstand method a number of times successfully in our seminars – it’s always a bit puzzling to suddenly have a “negative“ question there, but in the end it always leads to very good results, and to “different” results, too, rather than the normal, positive questions or brainstorming methods!

In the FFG Academy I lead seminars on the topic “Submitting proposals in Horizon 2020 – Focus on cooperation projects“. These seminars last 2 days and the participants are people who, in the near future, want to submit a research proposal in Horizon 2020. Horizon 2020 is an EU research programme and promotes research projects in which several partners from different European countries cooperate in “researching” a topic. Usually these groups, or consortia, are quite large, between 5 and 20 different European organisations headed by one coordinator. One phase in our seminars therefore deals with the topic “European Project Team“ and this is where we use the headstand method 1x to start people thinking, and in the next step to reflect on experiences each of them might have already had. To kick off the topic, the participants are asked to write their thoughts on various questions, one of which is also a “headstand question” (meaning that a combination of techniques are used … brainwalk and headstand … Birgit Baumann would probably not approve 😉 (note by Birgit: Oh on the contrary, I do! I also sometimes combine methodes! But you do have to keep your goals in sight and know WHY you do combine these methods and if it really makes sense. Sounds trivial, but most of the time it isn’t! 🙂 )

Our headstand question is: “What makes a bad consortium?“. In hindsight, according to Birgit’s video, we could have phrased this question even more provocatively, but it still always delivers very good results nonetheless. A negative question seems to be more thought-provoking … (whether this is just human nature is another question…). I’m sure we would have had totally different, less useful results if we’d asked “What does a super consortium look like?”

The answers to our headstand question usually elicit some chuckles, but it sinks in when the whole thing is afterwards transformed into positive and concrete recommendations – definitely more than the other way round.

All in all, I warmly recommend this method!”

Thank you Astrid, for this super concrete and hands-on example!

Have you also tried the headstand-technique? Then, please share your experience with us!

Take care! Your BusinessMind team