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From the CommunityAuthor Archives: Tom Atlee

Blogger Bio:  Awed by the evolutionary challenges and opportunities we face as a civilization, Tom Atlee researches and promotes dialogue, deliberation, and other resources for collective intelligence and conscious evolution. Tom founded The Co-Intelligence Institute in 1996 and wrote The Tao of Democracy in 2003.

Review of Rosa Zubizarreta’s New Book, “From Conflict to Creative Collaboration”

We are happy to share the post below from NCDD organizational member Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute, which came via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog! I just finished reading NCDD member Rosa Zubizarreta’s new book From Conflict to Creative Collaboration: A User’s Guide to Dynamic Facilitation. I’m quite excited. I’ve known about “DF” for fifteen years, and I’ve never seen it described as clearly and compellingly […] (continue)

Journalism to enhance citizen-based deliberative democracy

Practitioners and advocates involved with group process, dialogue and deliberation, public engagement, and deliberative democracy are aware that ordinary people, under the right conditions, are capable of generating public policy guidance that is at least as wise—and often far wiser—than what we typically see produced by government bodies. Such forums facilitate productive reflection and interaction among diverse citizens—often informed by fair briefings and diverse experts—to come up with creative responses to major public issues that make sense to a very wide spectrum of their fellow […] (continue)

Bias warps reason. Does deliberation ameliorate that?

Summary: Research shows that individuals bend facts and math to align with their existing views. But does this happen when they’re in high quality interactive deliberative forums? A recent Salon article “Study Proves That Politics and Math Are Incompatible“ reports that research led by Yale law professor Dan Kahan demonstrates that “it’s easier than we think for reasonable people to trick themselves into reaching unreasonable conclusions. Kahan and his team found that, when it comes to controversial issues, people’s ability to do math is impacted by […] (continue)

Collective Thinking About Public Affairs

In this essay I intentionally subsume the thinking processes of official decision-makers into the thinking processes of the citizenry as a whole. I realize that official decision-makers can and do make decisions independently of the will of the people, unless that public will is united and organized. But elite decisions made independently of the public do not qualify as “public thinking” – at least in any democratic sense – and in this essay I am attempting to explore the nature of public thinking so that […] (continue)

Five Doors into the Power of Conversation and Group Work

In several interactions today with colleagues I began to see a pattern of modes of engagement with dialogue and deliberation work that seemed to me more usefully complex than merely “theory” and “practice.” The insight was triggered primarily by hearing about “liberating structures” for the first time and learning more about The Art of Hosting. I found my thinking expanding to cover five broad categories of mediums or doorways through which we can engage with this work. These five mediums/doorways are briefly articulated below. I’m […] (continue)

Generations and Justice

Here is a thoughtful commentary submitted yesterday by NCDD blogger Tom Atlee, president of the Co-Intelligence Institute… Among the most important qualities of a just society is that we are able to meet our needs without undermining the ability of others to meet their needs. Among the many needs we humans have is our need to be seen, heard and taken seriously. The only way we can have a just democracy is to truly see and hear each other, and to take each other seriously. […] (continue)

Citizen deliberators generate well-considered recommendations

The process and mandate of panelists in citizen deliberative councils tend to make randomly selected people act much more responsibly as citizens while on the council. A recent article in the New York Times Magazine notes that randomly selected panelists in Oregon’s Citizens’ Initiative Review — organized by NCDD members Ty Reitman and Elliot Shuford and studied by NCDD member John Gastil – knew they were “expected to base their opinions on hard evidence” and “felt obligated to consider the measure more carefully than they otherwise […] (continue)

Conflict and the Varied Gifts of Powerful Conversation

The power of conversation is real but not total. People sometimes take an oversimplified perspective of the power of dialogue, deliberation, and choice-creating to deal with tensions between people. EIther they think “just talk” can’t do much to resolve serious conflicts or they think talking can resolve any and every conflict. I think both perspectives fail to appreciate the specific gifts powerful conversation brings to the table in times of conflict. I’ll share here how I think about these potential gifts. It is important to […] (continue)

Public Opinion, Public Judgment, and Public Wisdom

Pollsters, politicians and pundits quote public opinion polls to tell us what the public thinks. Deliberative democracy advocates promote public judgment to deepen public opinion. Few people talk about public wisdom – what it could be and what it could do. I think we need all three forms of public sensibility. I think we can make useful distinctions between them. I believe we need to be particularly clear and creative about public wisdom. We need real wisdom to guide us through the unprecedented challenges of […] (continue)

New Crowdfunded Project in Eugene — Let’s Talk: Our New Economy

In Eugene, Oregon, the Co-Intelligence Institute is engineering a community-focused process to increase local capacity for healthy, creative group dialogue. By combining trainings and workshops with a series of dialogues around a substantive issue — in this case, the economy — we plan to demonstrate the generative power of group process even as we stimulate conversations that strengthen the Eugene community. We’re calling the project “Let’s Talk: Our New Economy,” and we’re holding the opening events early next month. The people of Eugene are no […] (continue)