BCS Team Successfully Leads Virtual Facilitation Groups for Two Clients

Sep 28, 2020

Facilitated workshops are a proven tool used by federal programs to obtain insights and expertise from diverse stakeholders to inform program planning, analysis, and review activities. BCS has successfully facilitated hundreds of such workshops for federal and state clients over its 30-year history. To adapt to telework environments driven by COVID-19, BCS is facilitating virtual workshops to replace what would have been in-person workshops requiring nationwide travel.

BCS recently led multiple virtual facilitated sessions for the Algae Biomass Organization and the U.S. Department of Energy’s Bioenergy Technologies Office. Throughout these sessions, BCS leveraged the latest online facilitation platforms for groups using tools such as ThinkTank and MeetingSphere.

For the Algae Biomass Organization’s technical standards working group, BCS Lead Analyst Lauren Illing designed a facilitation plan and executed the remote workshop in March using the collaboration software to gather expert input and conduct polling for 25 participants.

In June, BCS supported its first full-scale, 3-day virtual workshop involving four breakout groups and over 150 attendees. BCS then facilitated a second full-scale, 3-day virtual workshop in July, hosting seven breakout sessions for 184 registrants.

The process for facilitating collaborative meetings involves assessing technical capabilities and determining which software platforms meet the needs of each individual workshop. BCS’ skilled facilitation team understands its clients’ needs and identifies the software best suited to each workshop, rather than trying to apply the same software in every instance.

BCS designs and executes collaborative sessions and delivers thorough summary reports that include the analysis of workshop results and actionable recommendations. Tools such as audio, breakout rooms, live voting, and presentation screens are particularly helpful to organizations as they become increasingly dependent on conducting business virtually.

Moreover, BCS has applied its custom Peer Review Tool for multiple web-based peer reviews of Department of Energy research and development programs. Originally designed to support in-person review meetings, the Peer Review Tool was immediately ready to provide uninterrupted support to clients in a telework environment due to its web-based functionality for file sharing and collecting/aggregating reviewer scores and comments. Since March 2020, the Peer Review Tool has been used to review more than $1.465 billion in federal research and development portfolios. BCS also recently added features to the Peer Review Tool to improve functionality when facilitating virtual events.

Email us to learn more about how our meeting facilitation services can help your organization conduct virtual or in-person events.