Convenor

Isabel is an experienced but always learning facilitator who enjoys and thinks deeply about how to make the most of an opportunity to bring space and deep discussion to a group. She will provide tailored and thoughtful strategies on how to get the most out of any setting, group, audience or subject.

Isabel tries to apply the 7 principles of resilience in natural systems to convening:

  1. Promote diversity & accept redundancy
  2. Manage connectivity
  3. Manage (slow) variables & feedback
  4. Foster complex adaptive systems thinking
  5. Encourage learning
  6. Broaden participation
  7. Promote polycentricity (no one source of authority)

These principles stand as wise guidance and counsel on how natural systems maintain their flexibility to adapt and their capacity to coexist. Examples and simple models of "biomimicry" are often woven into Isabel's facilitation.

Isabel manifests these principles of resilience by making use of carefully chosen and vetted settings, visual facilitation through large pieces of paper on the walls and not too much textual presentation or processing, delicious food to bring people together informally and a combination of personal and group work which cuts across hierarchies and official speak.

She has facilitated diverse groups of internationals, dignitaries, multiple generations within one group and people from across multiple sectors. She has also done basic coaching with individuals in their professional and personal capacities which can provide useful personalised and private check-ins that benefit the group settings. A recent addition to the individualised coaching is using the 'The Needs Work' deck of cards, to explore what people are missing, in need of or perhaps can't put their finger on quite yet.

This convening work is particularly supported by being an Associate of Reos Partners.

Turbulence cover photo

November 2016 - May 2017

As a new student of Futures Studies at Turku University in Finland, I was interested to make the discussions from classes available to the public in an informal setting, possibly exploring more depth and variety away from the academic focus of the Masters Course. We invite speakers and discussants to the monthly talk, hosted in the cosy informal setting of the Koulu Brewery’s ‘History Room’.

Topics covered in 2016 included Artificial Intelligence, climate change and how Finns can take practical action. In 2017 we will be hosting talks on ‘what will we do when there’s nothing to do?’ with a focus on the Finnish trial of basic income; The Future of Sex; and the future of borders and international human rights, co-hosted with Abo Academy’s Institute for Human Rights. Turbulence is organised through social media and using #TurkuTurbulence .

Brum wellbeing service

Networking Wellbeing Services at Birmingham City Council

June 2016

Commissioned by the Wellbeing Services of Birmingham City Council to develop a 3 day workshop for their lead service delivery managers from the Wellbeing Service to explore how they can be better networked amongst each other and externally.

The workshop combined group and personal coaching sessions with Isabel, developing their understanding of each other’s projects and problems, the capacity and opportunity gaps, possible solutions, collective swarming on ways forward and areas of future collaboration. The workshop was followed up by a group call 4 months later to follow up on personal and group goals set in the workshop.

COP22 Event: Building energy scenarios in North Africa for regional cooperation

November 2016

Co-convened and hosted by Heinrich Boll Foundation’s Rabat and Tunis offices, I pitched, organised and facilitated an event to bring people together during the Moroccan COP for the UN Climate Negotiations. The aim was to gather North African policy makers and organisations working in the field for an informative event that also had an equal focus on facilitating networking between countries, experts and government officials. The event was hosted in the beautiful surroundings of the Riyad, with food, drink, music and great conversations. I facilitated the panel that brought together modelling of a 100% renewable energy grid for the MENA region from Professor Christian Breyer, Moroccan energy scenario building insights from Thomas Fink of the Wuppertal Institute and Dr Jamea, Amena Sharaf from the Egyptian Centre for Economic and Social Rights on participatory energy scenarios inclusive of the affected people, Mahmoud El Refai on 80GW of Change, and Annalena Baerbock, a German MP who is spokesperson on climate policy for the Green Party, she spoke extensively on the lessons from the German Energiewende.

Download the full event invitation & description here: HBS Event North African Scenarios

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The Cairo Climate Talks

Contracted by the German Embassy as Facilitator for the Cairo Climate Talks high-level public events hosted by the German Embassy and the German Science Centre Cairo, Isabel has facilitated high-level panel events on eco-tourism in Egypt and food waste issues in Egypt and Europe. She has also participated as a discussant and presenter on environmental justice in Egypt, and worked with the CCT to co-organise a day's workshop on the 80GW of Change report in 2016.

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Envisioning a new forestry policy for England and Wales

In October 2015 Isabel worked with the Green Party forestry and woodlands working group to develop a vision and comprehensive set of policies that would serve the forestry estate of the UK as a whole - both public and private.

To do this they convened a group of 10 people with forestry expertise across multiple fields, including academia, industry, policy, the forestry commission (UK public forest manager), small and medium enterprises, community and voluntary groups and networks.

The end result is still working through the Green Party's internal policy-making processes but represents the most forward-looking, united and resilient forestry policy of any party or entity in the UK at the moment. It is entirely in-keeping with a zero carbon Britain and the land use requirements that entails.