As a companion to the MSP Guide, this Tool Guide offers you 60 process tools serving
different purposes. Even this large number, is just a sample of the hundreds of tools available. We have chosen these because they are the ones we find especially useful to support MSP processes.
We have grouped the tools by six purposes – connection, issue exploration and shared language, divergence, co-creation, convergence, and commitment – inspired by the work of Sam Kaner (2014) and the Rockefeller Foundation’s GATHER guide.
These purposes often coincide with a particular stage of an MSP: connecting, for example, will usually happen at the start. The six purposes are consistent with Kolb’s experiential learning cycle (Section 4, Principle 7 of the MSP Guide). The learning styles developed by Kolb indicate that some people are competent in divergent learning and others in convergent learning. Different types of learners flourish at different stages of a process.
Using the Tools
You can use the tools as described or adapt them to suit your purpose. And you can use them to clarify your own thinking and prepare for your work with stakeholders, as well as in the MSP itself.
Many tools can be used for multiple purposes. For example, Six Thinking Hats can be used both for the divergence stage and during the convergence stage. We have placed them under the purpose where they are most commonly used.
There are no hard and fast rules for how to structure the blank slate of your MSP agenda. But most well-designed MSP processes are structured around a particular series of stages. The event begins with connection, establishes a shared language, and then present a divergent set of views on the topic. Depending on the MSP’s purpose, that divergence may be followed by the co-creation of new ideas, convergence on a certain set of answers, and commitment to take action.