I facilitated a workshop once, where everyone knew that they wanted to work together on something, but they didn't know what. They were all lawyers of one kind or another: barristers in private practice, in-house legal eagles for NGOs, members of the judiciary. They shared an interest in human rights and climate change. They shared a suspiscion that existing human rights legislation (including conventions) and existing courts which hear human rights cases (including some international ones) might be a good way to take forward cases which would catalyse action to reduce emissions and ensure victims of the impact of climate change get proper help.
During the workshop they shared information and stories, hoping that they would find one exciting thing to work on which had real potential. They discussed the detail of different legal approaches, what a perfect case would need to look like, the pros and cons of bringing cases in different jurisdictions.
As the workshop went on through its first day and towards lunch on the second day, they still hadn't found it.
And then suddenly they had!
How did that happen?
What did they do to find the focus? What did I do to help?
I don't know. Nothing different than we had been doing for a day and a half.
It was like that moment when you find the house keys. We had been looking and looking in all the right places and all the right ways. It wasn't that we started looking better just before we found them. It's just that we finally found them.
(It's funny how they're always in the last place you look.)