Jenny Theolin shakes up creative management in daring new book

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Stockholm-based designer and educator Jenny Theolin encourages creatives to break free from routines and engage with meaningful learning experiences in her new book, Dare to Facilitate.

Jenny Theolin seems to enjoy a challenge. Her latest project, Dare to Facilitate, is the result of a six-month project she set herself to write, curate and design a book, and barring an unexpected printing hiccup, she achieved her goal.

Geared towards guiding and supporting groups of people in collaborative processes, Dare to Facilitate is all about managing group dynamics, promoting effective communication and empowering participants to achieve common objectives. Bursting with insights from contributors worldwide, plus 120 challenges for readers to brave, the 320-page book is all about kicking back against traditional facilitation methods.

“The book aims to provide facilitators with a creative collection of inspiration that motivates them to step up, enhance their skills, experiment, and explore facilitation from various angles,” Jenny tells Creative Boom.

She adds that the idea for the book came from her desire to create something that she would want to read herself. “I didn’t want to write about topics I already knew well; instead, I aimed to build an ecosystem of brilliant individuals and a brand that challenges the status quo,” she explains. “As you might have noticed, the ‘Dare to’ concept is quite playful and engaging.”

Split into 30 chapters, the book focuses on many different aspects of facilitation. These include sections about empowerment, inclusion, playfulness and design. Each chapter contains two truths: open-reflection questions for the reader to consider.

Alongside these are dares submitted by chapter contributors, including Johanna Olsson, Tash Willcocks and Kyle Soo. Even double and triple dares are in each chapter to keep pushing the facilitation envelope.

Speaking of the contributors, Jenny prides herself on gathering diverse voices with expertise in various facilitation-related fields. “I personally selected each contributor, and I’m proud of the international diversity they bring,” she says. “These contributors are based in Australia, Sweden, the USA, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Germany, Curacao, and Zimbabwe.

“I believe in collaboration, creativity, and the power of different viewpoints and experiences. By working together and sharing diverse perspectives, we can create something greater than the sum of its parts. I also emphasise exploring untapped creativity and experimenting with new
facilitation approaches.”

Creating the book was something of a personal dare for Jenny, but it taught her a lot along the way. “The process of creating Dare to Facilitate has taught me the value of collaboration and diversity in facilitation,” she says. “The curation process itself was a significant exploration in facilitation – and the book is a testament to the power of daring to challenge oneself and explore innovative approaches.

“I’ve also learned that I do NOT miss my previous career as a graphic designer for print. The anxiety of art-working a 320-page book that I’m personally financing 750 copies of was nerve-wracking, to say the least!”

Jenny’s vision for the book was to create a new and innovative format that breaks away from the look standardised by traditional textbooks. “The book’s creative and bite-sized format was designed to inspire readers on the go,” she says. “I aimed to provide a new way of learning about facilitation, making it more accessible and engaging.

“The design reflects the book’s core message of breaking free from the norm and embracing creativity, in line with the daring spirit advocated throughout the book. The book’s identity is based on the idea of facilitators being able to ‘juggle a lot of balls.’

“With the help of Midjourney, I created a series of balls made up of workshop materials like paper, post-its, and LEGO. The book’s layout also incorporates the iconic square, a nod to Post-its.”

Jenny’s enthusiasm for facilitation comes across in every aspect of her book. And it’s sure to infect the reader with its fun and creative vibes. And accompanying Dare to Facilitate, Jenny is also launching a masterclass called Dare to Master: Facilitative Leadership, plus she is currently sharing 100 Days of Facilitative Leadership on her Instagram.

Dare to Facilitate is due to be released in November, and you can pre-order your copy now.

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