Facilitation is an emerging industry to perform the specialized role of assisting groups to collaborate, explore ideas or solve problems.
It is technically demanding as it requires a very specific suite of competencies which were not traditionally practised in education or the workplace.
The demand for facilitation is increasing as we move away from a command and control model of organising labour.
Ordinarily, dialogue around most social interaction (including business) is structured around learned and accepted patterns of interaction. These patterns include turn taking, voice intonation and socially appropriate topics. This means that without intervention, a collaborative discussion will automatically 'fall back' into this highly stereotyped dialogue.
A professional facilitator will craft sessions of interaction which relieve participants from strict adherence to these expected stereotyped behaviours.
This in turn allows group participants to imagine and enact novel flows of information sharing and sorting. This process then enables an (implicit) critical appreciation of how any cultural norms are not optimized for creative problem solving.
As the critical appreciation of normalized behaviours move from implicit to explicit, participants can start to articulate suggested changes in the way they conduct dialogue back in their original setting. In this way, the effect of facilitation could lead to improved flexibility in the group culture of creative responses to changes and challenges.