NCDI Financial Industry Workshop

Financial Industry Workshop Facilitator Instructions

You've been asked to serve as a facilitator. This means that you should lead the discussion session for one of the prime topics (prevention, detection and reconstitution).

Being a facilitator isn't very hard, but it does require a bit of 'gentle aggression' to keep the discussion on target and to achieve the primary goals of the meeting. You want to net really good new ideas to secure the FI infrastructure. Keep the goal in mind.

First, tell everyone how the session will operate: each person is required to provide at least one idea, to explain it if it isn't clear, and that general discussion will occur after everyone has provided an idea. Brainstorming rules apply to this phase: (1) the more ideas, the better, even seemingly silly ones, (2) no criticism or discussion of the ideas when they are introduced, (3) build off each other’s ideas.

Spend the first few minutes of the session defining important terms so there is no misunderstanding. What is meant by "prevention", for example, might be interpreted differently. So, provide a straw man definition, and spend a little time getting the group to agree to the term.

Have poster paper up on the walls in the room to record ideas as you hear them. Keep a running list of the ideas, and a count of the times the same idea was proposed by different people. (The scribes should capture any nuances of the idea.) The scribe in the room will record on their laptop details of what the idea is. (Prod the scribes to make sure they capture important statements you hear.) They should also capture the idea in ppt form to facilitate the breakout report out session.

Then, it's time for the real meat of the session. Randomly choose a person to provide an idea. Point out a person around the room. Mix it up. Let no one escape scrutiny and let no one dominate the discussion by taking control of the floor and offering lots of ideas. You can cycle back to a person after everyone else has had a chance to speak. If someone says they have no idea, please tell them they have to provide some idea, any idea, to engage them in the discussion.

At the conclusion of that period, a general discussion of the best ideas should be held as time permits. Enumerate each idea and ask for a vote of the idea they heard that they like the best. The votes will provide a rank ordering for the scribes and for the brief-out. We want to focus on the best ideas, but not ignore those other ideas offered by the group, so delete nothing.

Do not fear interrupting someone if they are taking too much time. As you know well, dominant personalities are hard to manage and at times you have to be a little heavy handed to control the flow of the discussions.

The important goal: you want to develop a short list of really good ideas to serve as the keystone of the report to guide government R&D investments in securing our financial infrastructure from large-scale attack. That is job number one.