Pause & Reflect Workshops are a tried and true approach to support learning, adaptive management, and strategic planning. In USAID’s Collaborating, Learning, and Adapting (CLA) Framework, Pause & Reflect falls as a sub-component under the Adapting sphere with the goal of getting a team to step back and reflect on what they have learned as a result of implementation. Our Pause & Reflect Workshop Guide provides a quick overview of the rationale, timing considerations, potential agenda and structure, facilitation techniques, resources, and other tips to plan and implement a successful Pause & Reflect workshop. Holding these workshops regularly creates space for teams to connect, consolidate learnings, and adjust workplans and programs based on evidence and in response to often shifting and complex contexts in which we work.
The Pause & Reflect Workshop Guide is built on Headlight’s experience successfully conducting these types of workshops that lead to adaptive actions and improved participant buy-in to implementing strategic plans. For example, Headlight supports regular Pause & Reflect workshops for the Digital Finance Team in the U.S. Global Development Lab and various Digital Strategy Initiative teams at USAID. Headlight also supported a recent Pause & Reflect workshop for USAID/Ethiopia’s Highlands team. This workshop was the first of its kind at the Mission and had cross-Mission representation, support from USAID/Washington, and robust implementing partner participation. As a result of the workshop, the Mission has shared a follow-up CLA Action Plan with attending stakeholders to commit to adaptations and outline next steps and responsibilities to address CLA barriers and opportunities identified at the workshop. Staff will continue to be able to ground themselves in the shared vision and respond to a variety of emerging challenges in their programmatic work more effectively, including the effects of COVID and other contextual issues. The Highlands team has committed to holding Pause & Reflect Workshops triannually.