Saturday, 12 December 2009

The last chapter

8:11 am, Sinaia Hotel. My last entry before I leave at 10 am to catch my afternoon flight to Geneve for some R&R.

It did snow, while I was talking at the Plenary so I missed it. It snowed a teeny little bit again after dinner. But the bottomline is, no early white christmas.

Every single one has left, except Campbell, Mihaela and me. So we went to a Romanian restaurant last night. Embarrassingly I did not have any Lei to pay my share. They didn't accept credit cards either so Campbell footed the bill. And then we adjourned to an Irish Pub for beers and "black dog" (guinness stout) - which I paid with credit card, happily. And what did we talk about? Romanian politics. All it needed was a simple trigger. "So you guys have 2 Presidents now after the election?". And that launched Mihaela into a political analysis and commentary. We talked about the just concluded workshop, of course. We did a post-post workshop debriefing.

The workshop was high energy in the final run. The final presentations were excellent (especially my Panel, and I am NOT biased). But one young man stood up during the Q&A and said "don't be too happy with yourselves because you all did nothing extra-ordinary". Another member of the floor responded by saying that it is the process we should be proud of. What we have produced is only the tip (of the iceberg?) and much more work has to be done.

Would I have structured it differently? Yes, definitely. In particularly, I would have preferred that the participants had sufficient time and exposure to understanding scenario planning first. I would have also preferred that the trends and driving forces be addressed collectively before launching into creating the scenarios. But one thing you have to do when involved in a project is to go with the flow. Many things are not within your control. Many factors in the decision-making are not always obvious but nevertheless crucial for making the event a "success".

What was amazing was that we had six facilitators each doing it our way. We did not second guess each other. We didn't try to out do each. We did not intervene or interfere (too much). We kept the faith, so to speak.

After attending the debriefing and giving my inputs, and having a further understanding what the January 2010 session is all about, I have decided that I will most likely skip that event. But I am sure it is not the last chapter of my involvement with the Romanian foresight project. It has been a absolutely wonderful experience, making new friends. And being able to put into practice the constructivist paradigm during the panel workshop, and achieving resounding success, was really worth the trip.

 Panel One participants (many missing; it was a last minute spontaneous photo shoot), with facilitators, right after the final plenary. I believe I made all of them very happy. They will be on a natural high for at least the weekend.

The first slide of the WHWU (pronounced "Wow University"). Right up the the last minute, I wasn't sure how the presentation would turn out. They were still nitty picking on choice of words. And there was not idea whether the role-play would materialise. I left them to sort it out. In the end, it was a superb presentation.
Brave young man.
Philine, with mic, one of the international faci's.
 Adrian, the chief, responding to the floor at the final plenary.
Mihaela, right, at the debriefing.
 Me, Campbell and Riel at the debriefing.

Me and Ozcan, the MU winger, fellow faci. The headphones are for simultaneous translations.

 My Romanian lunch yesterday.

Peles Castle, built by the first Emperor of Romania. This formed the catalyst for the town of Sinaia. Took this photo on a walk yesterday afternoon. So far, have not encountered any bloodsucking creatures.


Anonymous said...

I think you did a very good job with us in Sinaia, Lik Meng. As you say, sometimes frustrating on both sides, but worth the effort. Thank you. I wish we didn't have interpreters. They very often confused things, though not because of lack of professionalism. They were very good, and most speakers, including myself, rather inconsiderate. However, creativity is tricky even within a shared native language. When you try to trigger it across languages (and cultures) you just let yourself into a lot of confusion and need for clarifications. And we were under time pressure (and not only).

I'm really glad your own feeling is that we did a good job together with you! And really thanks for posting the pictures. I do hope you'll come back in January. Not only for the project, but also for the snow! Your 73 year old student :)

Anonymous said...

Romania didn't have emperors, just kings. Transylvania - as part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire - had the privilege of having emperors! And bloodsucking creatures like bats (real) and Dracula - as you like him! :) We in the South of Romania, are more humble creatures. But your picture of Peles Castle is beautiful and sympathetic.

Cristian said...

Hello Lik Meng!
First of all, thanks for the guidance and insight during Sinaia workshop.
Second, since you missed the snow, here is what Peles castle looks on a sunny winter day:

(sorry, cant post images in comments)
PS: we have a "nice" snow storm now.