ICA’s largest network is comprised of nearly 100 trainers around the U.S. who train over 2000 people a year on ICA’s Technology of Participation (ToP)(R) Facilitation Methods. ToP trainers are either A.) entrepreneurs who provide ToP courses publically as a business venture or B.) individuals who train ToP courses inside of an organization they are employed at, known as ‘in-house’ trainers. Currently, 92 licensed trainers offer around 175 public courses and approximately 50 in-house courses annually. There are currently 11 different course types offered in over 30 states.
Prior to the August convening, it had been several years since trainers came together to the take stock of the training program overall. The meeting design bridged the past and present, encouraged new and innovative ideas, and supported a national, collaborative approach to ToP training.
Trainers gathered into five working groups to discuss and create action plans for the following training related arenas:
One idea that gained momentum during the convening was to change the way that ToP courses are priced. Because ToP courses and facilitation methods are applicable in a wide variety of arenas from on-the-ground community organizers to corporate board rooms, ToP Facilitation Methods serves a diverse array of clients. Therefore, the current static pricing of the course was proving problematic for some trainers; some of their clients expressed that course prices were too high while other clients found the courses to be below market rate.
Trainers at the convening agreed that a value-based pricing system would help deal with these concerns. Value-based pricing means that the price point of the product is based on the value of the product to the customer. This means that ToP courses will now be offered at a ‘tiered’ rate; corporations and large non-profits will pay a higher price point than students and grassroots organizations. The new model has 4 unique price points across 7 different customer bases. The goal of the new pricing system was to balance accessibility of courses and ensure financial feasibility for trainers.
This convening is just one of the many positive changes happening in the national ToP community. Continued explorations with the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), organizations that offer continuing education credits, new course content and materials, and continued collaboration amongst trainers are all ongoing. This momentum will continue at the ToP Network Annual Gathering in Omaha, Nebraska from January 5th through 8th.
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