A workshop can help farmers adopt new farming practices. But what kind of workshop is best at overcoming fears and sparking those first steps towards new innovations or technologies?

I hope this one-pager is useful. It was co-developed with the help of extension officers from across Queensland.

Here’s the full-sized PDF version.

All the best

– Les

P.S. ‘Practice change’ is extension-speak for ‘innovation adoption’, ‘action’, or ‘behaviour change’. This model is so general it could used for practically any kind of change or action.

Back story

In 2019 I was asked do a tour-de-Queensland delivering facilitation training to farm extension staff in regions across the state*. After the very first workshop it hit me that I needed to shift focus to facilitating ‘practice change’ workshops where the goal is for growers to move towards new farming techniques. So we roughed out a model and then iterated improvements as I went from town to town.

Here is a 2-page summary of the final model we developed. It was also wonderful to see how every team freely developed variations to suit their needs (see samples below).

It’s based on this simple theory of change: 

Practical inspiration + talking through fears with peers + a social environment = people open up to change

* Thank you 100+ extension staff in Mareeba, Innisfail, Ingham, Townsville, Mackay, Rockhampton and Gayndah. And thank you John James and the Enhanced Extension Program of the Department of Agriculture and Fisheries for making it all possible.

Examples of “variations on a theme” (thanks to participants in Rockhampton and Mackay).

Here are details of upcoming Facilitation Skills workshops: