Innovation Facilitators

This project was completed in September 2015 and these resources are no longer updated.

About Innovation Facilitators

What is I.F.?

Innovation Facilitators (I.F.) is a network of experienced trainers and facilitators who have organized to support the evolution of person-centered planning by offering tools, processes, and structured experiences designed to exercise imagination and promote strategic thinking. Rather than concentrating on promotion of an innovative model or systemic change, I.F. is focused on building a foundation for innovation by helping individuals and groups develop greater capacity to plan, network, organize, and take intentional action at the grassroots level.


As a resource for training, process facilitation, and technical assistance, I.F. is dedicated to advancing the standards of excellence in person-centered planning through the support of practitioners, persons with disabilities, families, and personal support teams.


The vision of I.F. is to contribute to the ingenuity of individuals with disabilities and their families and supporters by constructing processes that enable creativity to flourish. We envision a future where all persons and families, regardless of age, disability, learning style, or socioeconomic background, are able to organize a unique network of personal supports making it possible for them to pursue the types of relationships, experiences, and opportunities they find most meaningful.


Traditionally, individuals and families have relied on human service agencies or representatives to guide them through the process of determining personal goals that services are designed to help them achieve as well as how service resources are allocated. As such, human service professionals have wielded tremendous influence over the range of possibilities and supports service recipients have been able to access. I.F. was established in 2004 by a small group of facilitators who joined forces with the University of New Hampshire’s Institute on Disability and Browne Center for Innovative Learning to provide an alternative to agency-directed facilitation of person-centered planning. I.F. operates as an entity that is independent of the human service system for the express purpose of supporting individuals and families to assume a leadership role in deciding:

  • Outcomes to focus on during planning
  • Who is involved in the planning process
  • The types of supports and services that they want and need
  • Who provides supports and expectations for how services are delivered, and
  • How available resources are allocated on their own behalf.

By turning the decision-making process over to individuals and families, I.F. strives to give them greater choice and control over their quality of life.

Technical Assistance

Although I.F. advocates expansion of the range of options available for facilitation through the establishment of a network of independent facilitators, it also recognizes the value in helping to advance the knowledge and skills of people facilitating planning as agency representatives. Agencies engaged in reform efforts related to person-centered planning and consumer-choice can purchase consultation, in-service training, and “external” process facilitation to help promote systemic-change.

Provider and funding organizations can also benefit from. I.F.’s services in several ways:

  1. Training and professional development services related to organizational change are available to area agencies and providers interested in focusing on skills involved in strategic visioning and managing change.
  2. Consumers and families can invite staff or agency representatives to participate in the educational processes that include person-centered teams.
  3. I.F. can link agencies to facilitators, trainers, and consultants available through its membership network with expertise in specified need areas related to person-centered change.

Trainings & Workshops

I.F.’s training programs are intentionally structured to combine content with practical learning and graphic facilitation in order to accommodate multiple learning styles and enable participants to digest material through active experimentation. Rather than being delivered through a lecture or presentation format, training is highly interactive, process-oriented, and experiential, providing a more intensive learning experience for participants and a more effective way of targeting the collaborative thinking skills involved in creative and strategic planning. Below are some of I.F.’s training opportunities:

Methods, Models & Tools for Facilitating Person-Center Planning

Methods, Models & Tools is an intensive five-day workshop offered nationally on person-centered planning. These workshops appeal to people interested in enhancing their skills in facilitating consumer-directed career, education, and life planning. Using the Elements of Design: Frameworks for Facilitating Person-centered Planning (Cotton, 2003) workbook, the series incorporates lecture, role-playing, experiential learning, and peer support to provide an interactive forum for participants to develop and practice new skills. Specific corporate training models for situational leadership, ream performance, and principled negotiation are translated to the context of person-centered planning.

SPECS: Specific Planning Encourages Creative Solutions

This six-part workshop provides parents with practical information and tools for supporting their son or daughter through person-centered planning. Contact areas include: individual/family-directed decision-making, navigating service delivery systems, mapping tools, community networking, and creative financing.

SPECS is a collaborative effort of the IOD and Gateways Community Services

Picture This! The Art of Graphic Facilitation

Graphic Facilitation is an interactive technique to enhance collaborative learning and problem solving by supporting verbal language with visual images. This one-day workshop helps participants develop graphic recording and facilitation skills.