FAQ

FAQ w

Who are you?

We are a team of professional facilitators and graphic designers with backgrounds in management consulting, graphic design, and health care and management. We are part of a large number of professionals sharing the same methodology and pattern language. We are members of The Value Web.

How do you measure your effectiveness?

Two ways.
First: Implementation. We follow-up with our clients following our engagements to check on their success in implementing the solutions that emerged. The outstanding feedback we typically receive is what perhaps distinguishes our work most from the implementation track record of most consultants.
Second: Repeat business. Our clients keep calling us back when they face big issues. Almost all our clients return to us within two years of an initial engagement with a new challenge. Most of our design work emerges from long-term relationships.

How much does it cost?

Our events cost much less than a comparable consulting assignment and much more than a traditional facilitated workshop. The factors that normally determine our fees are:

  • The number of people involved
  • The length of the engagement
  • Any special preparation
  • An unusually complicated work product or deliverable
  • The detailed follow-up support

Apart from our fees, the principal cost of working with Matter is the uninterrupted time of our team. Clients tell us that our fees represent excellent value-for-money and participants tell us that we demonstrate great respect for their time and issues. Our graphic projects are difficult to compare since our approach and our products are unique. Our pricing is transparent so you never risk losing control of your budget.

What does “Graphic Facilitation” mean?

Graphic Facilitation is the use of images to facilitate understanding and memory. Graphic Facilitation can be applied in real time (scribing) during conferences, workshops, meetings to draw a visual map of conversations; or it can be used to translate concepts and ideas into attractive illustrated compositions.

Do you provide coaching?

We sometimes provide collective coaching for leadership teams or boards. We do not do individual coaching, as this lies outside our core skills. Nevertheless, clients frequently ask us about coaching and we refer them, depending on their needs, to one of a small number of coaching firms with whom we work closely.

Where do you work?

We work wherever the client is and where our competences are needed. Our teams speak English, Italian, German, Spanish, Arabic, and French and our network has professionals across Europe and in China, Australia, and North America.

What does “design” mean for you?

Design is for us the skill in designing the path your team will take and the consequences. We know how to organize and manage actions and behavior in a rational way and translate them into a coherent result.

What does a typical engagement lifecycle look like?

We find that the effort we put into scoping our engagements is paid back many times in reduced time and risk. For event-based work, we normally start by working with a small Sponsor Team (5-8 people who ‘own’ the question to be answered or the project to be supported) and facilitate a 3-4 hour scoping session. This session builds alignment among the sponsors and between the sponsors and us. We establish the objectives and desired outcomes of the engagement at this time and we continuously go back to them to make sure they are right. On this basis, we develop an initial design brief and a proposed budget. Our engagement formally begins (and the meter starts running) when the Sponsors sign off on the brief and the budget. We usually require 4-6 weeks from that point to the ‘event’ itself, though this varies considerably. We typically produce the agreed deliverables within a few days of the event itself. Graphics projects follow a similar lifecycle, though more compressed in time.

What is special about the way you work?

Three attributes in particular come to mind: First, we make it easy. We think that people enjoy the challenge of solving problems and working together to discover what works. Second, we are not consultants and we do not have the answers. Our job is to provide a deeply collaborative experience to make the best use of what you already know and then to assure convergence around the solution you build. Our graphic products emerge from collaborative work rather than the genius artist locked in a garret. Third, our approach is highly scalable. Most facilitation techniques are less effective as more people are drawn in. We believe that all key stakeholders need to be involved in designing a solution and our approach can accommodate them. Likewise, for graphic projects, we are expert at making sure that all key stakeholders are listened to and that their concerns are reflected in the final product.

Who uses your services?

We generally hear from people who ‘own’ an opportunity or have an urgent challenge. Many of our clients are C-level people, or responsible for a business unit or a major project. About a third of our clients are non-profit or international organizations, such as the UN. We serve these clients through our social enterprise, The Value Web. Of the rest, we serve a good mix of industry sectors, including financial services, energy, health care, technology (services as well as manufacturing), consumer products and retail.

Is it risky?

We face each engagement without knowing how it will turn out. We work with our clients to develop insightful questions whose answers are genuinely unknown. The lack of pre-determined answers is unusual in this day and age. But, as we work with our clients, we discover together that the risks that cause the greatest concern are intrinsic to the problem at hand and that our collaborative approach actually reduces these intrinsic risks more effectively than other approach our clients have tried.