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Great Pre-Conference Sessions @ Frontiers of Democracy

Tufts-logoWe recently mentioned here on the blog that the pivotal Frontiers of Democracy conference is happening in Boston this June 25th – 27th, and the conference itself is reason enough to make the trip. But with the announcement of two pre-conference workshop, both headed by NCDD members, there’s even more reason to attend.

Both of these pre-conference sessions will happen on Thursday, June 25th from 1-4pm, so unfortunately, you have to choose one, but both promise to be excellent learning opporutinities.

NCDD Supporting Member Cornell Woolridge, founder of CivicSolve, will be hosting a pre-conference session called “Civic Engagement & Disability Advocacy: The Peril & Promise of Bursting Bubbles.” Here’s how Cornell describes the workshop:

Once one of the most ignored and abused populations in the nation, the disability community received long overdue recognition and protections through the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. In the wake of the ADA, much of the disability advocacy community has created bubbles of protection and shared experience, but what happens when that bubble gets in the way of integration? What happens when the disability advocacy community shifts (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Research on Inclusive Engagement & Technology

We are cross-posting an interesting study that we found on NCDD member Tiago Peixoto‘s blog, DemocracySpot. The post details some of the findings from a recent study on the effect of technology on public participation in Brazil. You can check it out below or find his post here.

Unusual Suspects? Effects of Technology on Citizen Engagement

(Originally posted on the World Bank’s Let’s Talk Development blog)

democracy spot logoWhat is the effect of technology on citizen engagement? On the one hand, enthusiasts praise the prospects offered by technology: from real-time beneficiary feedback to collaborative policymaking, the possibilities for listening at scale seem endless. Skeptics, on the other, fear that unequal access to technologies will do nothing but favor the “usual suspects”, empowering the already empowered and reinforcing existing inequalities. While the debate sometimes gets heated, a common feature unites both sides: there is limited evidence to support both views.

Providing evidence to better inform practice at the intersection of technology and citizen engagement is one of the core goals of the Bank’s Digital Engagement Evaluation Team (DEET). And, to contribute empirical data to the debate on the effects of technology on participatory processes, the team has been carrying out a number of studies, some of them covering as many as 132 countries.

The results of one of these studies have just been published, looking at the effects of Internet voting on the world’s largest (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Can Gamification Help Fight Civic Apathy?

We wanted to share this post about a fun project called the CivCity Initiative that we found on the Gov 2.0 Watch blog, which is run by NCDD organizational member,the Davenport Institute. You can read it below or find the original here.


The Engagement Game

We have written a fair amount about gamifying civic engagement. Mary Morgan and Dave Askins, publishers of the local Ann Arbor Chronicle in Ann Arbor Michigan have partnered with existing programs to gamify local storytelling and are now looking for ways to do more:

CivCity’s website and Twitter feed refer to the mission of “cracking the nut of civic apathy.” CivCity stakeholders say disinterest in governance has intensified in recent years due to increased demands on people’s time, and it’s especially bad at the local level–even in a well-educated town like Ann Arbor.

“I think we take a lot for granted,” says CivCity board member Linh Song. “The lifestyle here can be pretty comfortable… I think a lot of folks just kind of check out and think, ‘Well, you know, Ann Arbor kind of takes care of itself. We don’t have to pay attention.’ But I’m hoping that’s changing.”

Morgan and Askins have ideas for a wide variety of programs to help effect that change, but their fledgling organization is taking it one step at a time. One of CivCity’s first projects is an online game called CivCity Quest, expanding upon the way the Chronicle “gamified” election results last summer. CivCity Quest would use the AADL’s Summer Game template to create a “playful” online competition for players to participate in various civic activities, from doing neighborhood cleanup to attending public meetings.

You can read more here.

You can find the original version of this Gov 2.0 Watch post at http://gov20watch.pepperdine.edu/2015/04/the-engagement-game.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Can Participatory Budgeting Democratize School Budgets?

We encourage you to check out what promises to be a fascinating webinar that the Participatory Budgeting Project, an NCDD member organization, is hosting on Thursday, June 4th from 2-3pm EST / 11am-12pm PST. 

The webinar is titled PBP-logoDemocratizing Schools with Participatory Budgeting” and will be an in-depth discussion of the nation’s first school-based participatory budgeting (PB) processes, featuring representatives from PB projects at schools in San Jose, CA and Chicago, IL. The webinar will seek to use insights from these cases studies to explore the impact that democratic processes like PB can have on young people, schools, and neighborhoods.

Here’s how PBP describes the webinar:

Schools and school districts operate large and complex budgets – often with minimal participation from the community members and youth they work to serve. But it doesn’t have to be this way!

Join the Participatory Budgeting Project to learn about how participatory budgeting (PB) can encourage transparency in school budgets, reveal the most pressing needs of students, and promote democratic decisions that result in better schools and neighborhoods…

The webinar will include (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Newest Issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation

We want to encourage our members to take a look at the newest issue of the Journal of Public Deliberationwhich is not just a great resource for our field, but also features the work of some of our great NCDD members.

The JPD itself is a joint effort between two NCDD organizations – the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and the International Association of Public Participation. You can find the list of articles in this issue below with links to their abstracts and full PDF downloads. We encourage you to learn more at about the Journal of Public Deliberation at www.publicdeliberation.net/jpd.

DDC logoIAP2 logo

Current Issue: Volume 11, Issue 1 (2015)


Journal of Public Deliberation is a peer reviewed, open access journal with the principal objective of synthesizing the research, opinion, projects, experiments and experiences of academics and practitioners in the multi-disciplinary field of “deliberative democracy.”

Context and Medium Matter: Expressing Disagreements Online and Face-to-Face in Political Deliberations by Jennifer Stromer-Galley, Lauren Bryant, and Bruce Bimber


NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Announcing June’s Tech Tuesday with Bang The Table

Registration is now open for June’s Tech Tuesday event featuring Bang the Table, creator of online engagement platforms EngagementHQ and the Budget Allocator. Join us for this FREE event Tuesday, June 9th from 2-3pm Eastern/11am-12pm Pacific.

Bang the TableTech_Tuesday_Badge began as a place online where people could gather to discuss public policy at a grassroots level, named in recognition of the frustration that many people feel with the traditional policy and decision making processes of government. Today, Bang the Table provides online engagement platform EngagementHQ to over 150 clients as well as the Budget Allocator,  a participatory budgeting tool.  Over 50 new online engagement projects are launched using EngagementHQ nearly every week.

On this call we’ll be joined by NCDD Member Matthew Crozier, CEO and Co-Founder of Bang the Table. Matthew will talk about his experience of engaging communities online including a number of case studies.  This is a great opportunity to learn about how online engagement practice has evolved in Australia, to discuss management of risk in the online space, tool selection and the management of online engagement with scarce resources, as well as the future of engaging communities online.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to talk with Matthew and learn more about these tools offered by Bang the Table – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Kettering Video on “The Creation of Politics”

We were impressed by the very cool video that the Kettering Foundation – one of NCDD’s key organizational members – recently released. It can be an easy and fun tool for introducing deliberative politics to your audiences, so we encourage you to read more about it below or find KF’s original post about it here.

kfThose of you who have participated in Kettering’s annual summer Deliberative Democracy Exchange have probably heard Kettering Foundation president David Mathews tell a story about a small village that faces a recurring flood. It is a fable of sorts. In spite of the villagers’ many efforts to stop the flood, the waters return again and again.

So the people in the story had to make a decision: should they move across the river, where another band of people already live? Should they stay in their homeland? Or, should they move to higher ground? And in coming together and making a collective decision, the people create politics.

The story is designed to be universal – one that belongs to all times, all people, all cultures. People in communities everywhere face (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Announcing New Online Courses from Amy Lenzo

We are happy to share the announcement below from NCDD Supporting Member Amy Lenzo of weDialogue. Amy’s announcement 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’m excited to be offering four online courses over the next three months – each a short series packed with learning and inspiration. Two are official “World Cafe Signature Learning Programs” co-hosted by Amy Lenzo and Samantha Tan, and two are original, long-requested offerings from Amy Lenzo, and co-host FireHawk Hulin:

1) Introduction to the World Cafe
May 13/14, 19/20, & 22/23
5:30 – 7:30pm Pacific Time / 8:30 – 10:30am Hong Kong Time
Details & Registration

2) Hosting in the Digital Realm
Wednesdays, May 27, June 3, 10, & 17th
Details & Registration

3) Introduction to the World Cafe
July 8, 15, & 22 9:00 – 11:00am Pacific Time
Details & Registration

4) Sacred Habits: Reconnecting to (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Review of the Consider.it Tech Tuesday Presentation

NCDD hosted another great Tech Tuesday event this week on May 5th where over 50 of our members participated in a webinar presentation and discussion with Kevin Miniter, the co-founder of the deliberative online tool, Consider.it. Kevin gave an in-depth look at the many versatile functions and uses that Consider.it has, as well as a how-to on moderating your group’s Tech_Tuesday_Badgedecision-making process. We wrapped it all up with a great Q&A session – we all got a great perspective on this useful new tool!

If you missed the Consider.it discussion, you can find the recording of the presentation by clicking here. Consider.it also created a link on their website to give feedback on the presentation for those of you who were present or watch it afterwards to let them know what you thought. You can find that feedback page here.

We encourage you to learn more and try it out for yourself by visiting www.consider.it.

You can look back at all of our past Tech Tuesday calls by checking out the archive ww.ncdd.org/tag/confab-archives.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

How Stories Can Change Minds Across Difference

We recently read an insightful piece from the Public Conversations Project, an NCDD member organization, reflecting on a recent radio show on how hard it is to change our minds, and we wanted to share it with our members. We encourage you to read the PCP post below or find the original one here.

Conversations that Open Doors: Reflecting on This American Life

PCP new logoThrough dialogue, Public Conversations Project fosters greater understanding between opposing sides of divisive issues, shifting attitudes and building relationships. This Sunday’s “This American Life” focused on a question that resonates deeply across the schisms of our polarized society: what’s the real likelihood that, on the issues you care most deeply about – be it abortion or same-sex marriage – you’re open to shifting your attitude, or even changing your mind?

The Incredible Rarity of Changing Your Mind

While we typically consider ourselves open to reason, the program reiterated a key lesson of Public Conversations’ training: we consume information mainly that reaffirms our own beliefs. Those beliefs may be inherited from our parents, our education, or our community leaders, but they emanate from our gut, an emotional core to which arguments or debates rarely appeal.

“Even when we receive information that conflicts with our worldview,” said host Ira Glass, “we tend to (more…)