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Results of NCDD’s awesome Codigital experiment

We wanted to share the full results of our 10-day engagement project, where we invited members of the NCDD community to share what they would like to see happen when our field comes together at the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation this fall in the DC area.

The level and quality of participation in this activity were amazing! It was exciting for me, and for the whole planning team for NCDD 2014, to see the great ideas that were shared, and to be able to watch as you honed and prioritized each other’s ideas.

Codigital-screenshot

As you can see from the image above, 122 of you participated, 95 ideas were submitted, 174 edits were made, and a whopping 5290 votes (or ratings) were cast.

Props go to James Carr and Codigital for one of the smoothest, most addicting, and most intuitive engagement experiments we’ve conducted for our community.  Codigital was kind enough to donate their services to NCDD for this project, and we are so grateful they did.

Check out the full results of the project here.  The project report contains all the ideas submitted (in the order the group ranked them) and overall engagement statistics. Planning team member Phil Neisser is working on theming the results, and we are open to others’ interpretations and reactions to the results — and to the process.  Please share your thoughts in the comments here.

The results of this project will be extremely useful to the planning team as we move forward in the planning process. Hopefully it is also getting many of you thinking about the most valuable ways YOU can contribute to the conference (our call for workshop proposals will be issued soon).

If you are interested in using Codigital’s co-creation tool, feel free to contact James at james@codigital.com. He can also be reached by phone at 303-884-1260 (Mountain time; he’s based in Colorado). In addition to online activities like the one we just ran, Codigital’s tool is used by groups before and during conferences to improve engagement through participation in interactive projects that gather ideas and perspectives, and co-create solutions reflecting the collective intelligence of the group. They are happy to partner with facilitators and conference organizers.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher is the Founding Director of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). Sandy has an M.A. in International Management from SIT Graduate Institute, and also serves as a Research Deputy for the Kettering Foundation. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. One of the things that strikes me as I look through the results is that our community seems ready to break out of its constraints. Many of the top ranked ideas are about busting out of silos, breaking down barriers to this work being used, scaling up through media and the use of online technology, spreading this work through classrooms and into the mainstream. This is very exciting! Do others see this same pattern?

    • John Backman says:

      Sandy, I was JUST about to post about this pattern: based on 10 seconds of reviewing the top 5, I was struck by how “outward-facing” we’ve become. Very interesting.

  2. Also, some of you may be interested to know that we “seeded” the Codigital space with a small number of ideas that emerged at previous conferences as priorities for our attendees (some of which were focused on at subsequent conferences as well). Since nobody likes to post to an empty forum, you always need to “seed” an online space with a little content — and we thought this was a safe way to do it without biasing the process.

    It was interesting to see those ideas move further down on the list. To me, that means our community has new priorities and is ready to tackle new challenges. I noticed this happen with perennial issues in our field like “moving the needle on assessment and evaluation” (#23), framing D&D to be more accessible and compelling (#33), and focusing on our community’s most critical issues related to inclusion (#78).

    Our 2012 theme of working together to build civic infrastructure ended at #17, while the ongoing challenge of “moving from D&D to action and policy change” ranked pretty high at #12.

  3. Thanks for this recap, Sandy.

    How to interpret the results is an interesting question, of course.

    The invitation to contribute was framed as “What would you like to see happen…?” That left it open for participants to suggest specific session ideas, more general themes or focus areas (something that might span the entire conference) as well as logistical details that weren’t content related. Comparing ideas from these different buckets had a bit of an apples/oranges feel.

    The more logistical items (e.g. offer scholarships, recruit a diversity of attendees) seem to have performed worst. Ideas whose scope went beyond a single session or workshop (e.g. focus on assessment/evaluation, focus on improving our language as something to be done throughout the conference) didn’t really score that high either.

    23 out of the top 25 ideas, on the other hand, could be seen as concrete session proposals. So maybe that’s where people’s main focus was or where the tool and the process led them.

    • Yes – it could be that when faced with a choice, people tended to choose concrete ideas that sounded like session proposals over broader goals or strategies for the conference. Rest assured we won’t dismiss the lower ranked ideas; there are a lot of gems in there, and a lot of ideas we know are important.

    • Also, I agree that it is sometimes tough to rank different types of ideas against each other (e.g. a workshop idea vs. a general theme or goal vs. an outreach strategy). But the point of the project was to keep the question very broad so we’d get a sense of what people wanted to see overall. It definitely helped us get a better sense of where our community stands and what is likely to draw them to the conference and meet their needs while they’re there.

    • James Carr says:

      Your comment about some types of ideas being difficult to compare was similar to a comment I got directly from Adrian Segar. In this project, as Sandy has commented, the aim was to have a broad question such that the community had maximum creative freedom to give input. The range of ideas submitted was impressive and definitely benefitted from the question not being specific (e.g. if the question had only asked for session ideas), but as a consequence it did pose a challenge with some of the vote choices. The project report keeps all the ideas so the planning team can assess an idea even if it didn’t do well in the ranking process.

  4. Also, I noticed in the report that the top 55 ideas all show the same high level of support (the blue bar in the right column). Does that mean they should be considered equally popular? If not, what other metrics determine the final ranking order that aren’t shown in the report?

    • James Carr says:

      Actually there is a steady decline in the level of support though in this instance the blue bars in the report don’t clearly show this. I can email you a separate report that shows the underlying numerical score (generated from the pair-wise voting process) as against the blue bar representing the score. Would you like that?

    • James Carr says:

      OK – I just emailed you the report.

  5. Lisa Stiller says:

    Some themes I’ve put together from Codigital:
    1 Exploring barriers to engagement by public and government/elected officials and how to remove these barriers to make D@D more accessible to the public..ie, increasing public and govt buy in
    2. Role of media in D@D…as partners, as facilitators, as reporters of events
    3. D@D use in education: helping promote civil discourse in the classroom and school, and with mediation
    4. Explore ways to bring D@D into the community, making it a more mainstream, accepted part of community culture
    5. D@D that leads to positive change in communities, institution, etc
    6 Best uses of technology and digital platforms with D@D
    7 Assessment techniques to measure D@D effectiveness
    8 Fostering intergovernment agency dialogue
    9 How to enhance D@D participation and effectiveness across diverse populations
    10. Exploring participant driven D@D models

  6. One of our planning team members, Lisa Stiller, made a list of themes she noticed in the Codigital results:

    1 Exploring barriers to engagement by public and government/elected officials and how to remove these barriers to make D&D more accessible to the public. ie, increasing public and govt buy in
    2. Role of media in D&D…as partners, as facilitators, as reporters of events
    3. D&D use in education: helping promote civil discourse in the classroom and school, and with mediation
    4. Explore ways to bring D&D into the community, making it a more mainstream, accepted part of community culture
    5. D&D that leads to positive change in communities, institution, etc
    6 Best uses of technology and digital platforms with D&D
    7 Assessment techniques to measure D&D effectiveness
    8 Fostering intergovernment agency dialogue
    9 How to enhance D&D participation and effectiveness across diverse populations
    10. Exploring participant driven D&D models

  7. The overall themes I saw in the Codigital results were…

    – Working with public administrators and government agencies (or working within gov to improve citizen engagement efforts — some respondents were pubic administrators themselves) (13 ideas in top 60)
    – Strengthening the practice of individuals or the collective field (through more effective evaluation, crafting questions, sharing best practices, etc.) (11 ideas)
    – Culture change efforts, or big picture ideas (bringing D&D into the mainstream, working across boundaries, questions of national culture and civic infrastructure, etc.) (7 ideas)
    – Meeting the needs of young people and new practitioners (6 ideas)
    – Harnessing technology to strengthen public engagement (5 ideas)

    I also saw 12 ideas in the top 60 (some of which also fall in the above categories) as showing our community’s readiness to break out of its real or perceived constraints. I mentioned this in a previous comment, but many of the top ranked ideas seemed to be focused on busting out of silos, breaking down barriers to this work being used, scaling up through media and the use of online technology, spreading this work through classrooms and into the mainstream.

  8. Lisa Stiller says:

    Maybe a theme for the conference is here…..
    Crossing boundaries
    D@D :.Going mainstream
    Creating a culture of Dialogue. and deliberation

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