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Join Tech Tuesday Call on Common Ground for Action, 12/1

As we recently announced, we are inviting you to register to join us this Tuesday, December 1st from 2-3pm Eastern/11am-12pm Pacific for our next Tech Tuesday call. This time, the call will feature a demonstration of Common Ground for Action (CGA), Tech_Tuesday_Badgea new online platform designed to create deliberative public forums online that allow participants to examine options for dealing with the problem, weigh tradeoffs, and find common ground.

CGA was developed in collaboration by the Kettering Foundation and Conteneo, so we’re pleased to be joined by Kettering’s Amy Lee and Conteneo’s Luke Homann – both NCDD members – to tell us more about their tool. Amy and Luke will walk us through the CGA’s features and functions and tell us more about the partnership that developed it. And you won’t want to miss the chance to hear about upcoming chances to use the tool yourself and to learn how you or your organization can utilize this FREE tool!

Don’t let the turkey haze or Black Friday rush make you forget – register today and make sure you don’t miss this great Tech Tuesday call! We can’t wait to have you all join us!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

4th Int’l Conference on PB in N. America Opens Call for Proposals

Before you check out for the holiday this week, we encourage our members to consider responding to the call for proposals for the 4th International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in North America, which will be hosted in Boston, MA from May 20th – 22nd, 2016 by the Participatory Budgeting Project, one of our great NCDD member organizations.

The deadline to submit for the conference is December 18th, 2015, so don’t wait too long! You can read the full call for proposals here.

This year’s conference will coincide with the voting phase of the Boston’s youth participatory budgeting process, which adds an exciting focus on young people’s participation in deliberative processes to the gathering. Here is how PBP describes the conference:

The 4th International Conference on Participatory Budgeting in North America, organized by the Participatory Budgeting Project (PBP), will take place in Boston, Massachusetts, USA during the voting phase of their award-winning, city-wide, youth PB process.

The conference is a space for participants and organizers of PB processes to share and reflect on their experiences so far, alongside interested activists, practitioners, scholars, elected officials, and civic designers.

The PB Conference will be organized around three themes this year: (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Laura Chasin: A Loss for the Field and for Humanity

We are so sorry to be sharing the heartbreaking news that Laura R. Chasin – co-founder of the Public Conversations Project and a pillar of the D&D field – passed away on November 17th. Many of us knew and loved Laura Chasin, and greatly admired her work at PCP.  She was a great supporter of NCDD, and a dear friend of mine. Please take a minute to read PCP’s message about Laura below, and if you knew Laura, I encourage you to click the link at the bottom of the message and share a reflection about Laura.

Remembering Laura R. Chasin


With heavy hearts and deep sadness, we share the news that our founder and greatest supporter Laura R. Chasin died unexpectedly on the evening of Tuesday, November 17th.

A graduate of Bryn Mawr College, with masters degrees in Government from Harvard and social work from Simmons College, Laura’s interests spanned political science, social work, psychodrama, family systems therapy, dialogue, and transpartisanship.

Public Conversations Project began as a question that Laura, a family therapist, asked herself – and her colleagues at the Family Institute of Cambridge – after watching a televised debate progress from disrespectful to angry to chaotic. Essentially: could the same methods that help families have safe, constructive conversations in counseling sessions also help people talk with each other in situations where there are (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Public Agenda & WNYC Release NY Opinion Survey Results

Last month, another great D&D-public radio partnership came to fruition – this time between Public Agenda, an NCDD member organization, and WNYC. PA conducted a survey of metro NYC residents’ opinions on key public issues and released its results in an in-depth report and a series stories on The Brian Leher Show all accompanied by PA blog posts. We encourage you to check out the results of their partnership in the PA announcement below or find the original here.

PublicAgenda-logoNew York Metropolitan Area State of Mind

Over the past year, we’ve been working with WNYC to survey residents of the New York metropolitan region. We wanted to know how area residents are thinking about public issues like education, income inequality, housing costs, taxes, crime and police-community relations.

Throughout the fall, we’ll be releasing results from that survey in coordination with WNYC. Starting Monday, October 15, tune in each day to The Brian Lehrer Show at 10 a.m. ET to hear about what we found. Will Friedman and Carolin Hagelskamp, our president and director of research, respectively, will be talking with Brian about a different story each day. If you’re not in the area, you can listen online, live or after the show.

The segments will be accompanied by blog posts from us, which we’ll post below, and reporting from WNYC’s newsroom and data viz team. Don’t miss out on any of it: follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where we’ll be providing links in real time.

In November, we’ll release (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Sign Up for December’s Tech Tuesday on Common Ground for Action

Registration is now open for December’s Tech Tuesday event featuring Common Ground for Action. Join us for this FREE event Tuesday, December 1st from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern/11:00am-12:00pm Pacific.

NIFI-CGA_Branded_LogoIn 2013, Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums collaborated with Conteneo, the developer of the San Jose Budget Games, to produce a platform that could allow truly deliberative online public forums. The result is Common Ground for Action, a simple, intuitive tool that allows participants to examine options for dealing with the problem, weigh tradeoffs, and find common ground, with beautiful visuals that let you actually see the shape of your conversation as it evolves. And because CGA works in any browser, there’s nothing to download, nothing to update – no technical mumbo jumbo.

CGA works not only for National Issues Forums issue guides, but also for localized adaptations of those guides, or in fact, any deliberative framework on any wicked problem.

On this call we will be joined by NCDD Members Amy Lee from the Kettering Foundation and Luke Homann from Conteneo, who will tell us more about how this tool was developed and demonstrate how it works. Amy will also tell us more about the current schedule of forums, and how you or your organization can utilize this FREE tool!

Don’t miss out on this opportunity – register today!

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeTech 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.


More about Common Ground for Action…

CGA can be helpful for any conversation where you need:

  • the ability to convene people from diverse locations
  • the ability to convene people who may not be able or willing to participate
  • the ability to let people talk together about an issue
  • visuals showing the group’s evolution in judgment
  • an easy-to-analyze record of the entire forum.

Other important facts about CGA:

  • It’s free!
  • It’s easy to become a moderator – 2 simple online sessions!
  • It can be used to augment in-person deliberations as well.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

PCP Guide Offers Help for Red-Blue Holiday Conversations

As we approach the holidays and the difficult conversations with relatives from opposite sides of the political spectrum, we could all use some support keeping the discussion civil. Thankfully the Public Conversations Project, an NCDD member organization, has produced a useful red-blue conversation guide along with the piece below that offer frameworks and starter questions to help those holiday dinner discussions – or any discussion – tend more toward dialogue than discord. We encourage you to check out the guide and the post below or to find the original piece here.

A Better Question: Dialogue Across Political Differences

PCP new logoElection Day: when we cast our voice on matters of public concern and celebrate democracy. It’s also when partisan bickering rears its ugly head, and we are reminded of the lack of civil conversation in politics, without knowing how to shift the dynamic. We exist in a world so starkly polarized that there are few models of dialogue between liberals and conservatives, and a void of nuance, uncertainty, or voices more centrist on the ideological spectrum. Instead, we overwhelmed by the extremes talking (loudly) past or over one another and refusing to acknowledge one another’s humanity, let alone consider collaboration or collective responsibility.

This trend is most visible (and perhaps most dire) in our civic spaces, from acrimonious policy debates in Congress that quickly devolve into mischaracterizations or to the petty partisan bickering of presidential candidates. But we also often experience the red/blue tension closer to home: we’ve all sat through at least one dinner where differences in political leanings have been a source of discord. Many people have an important relationship that has been frayed by painful conversations about political differences or constrained due to (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Is Local Engagement Weakening National Engagement?

The team at the Davenport Institute, one of or NCDD member organizations, recently shared what some might see as a provocative interview by NCDD Supporting Member Caroline Lee on the pitfalls of what she calls the public engagement industry. Caroline’s new book worries that wider spread public participation may encourage average citizens to focus solely on local politics while leaving larger scale politics to big organizations and institutions.
Are there negative impacts of public participation work that we need to pay more attention to? If so, what are they? Let us know what you think – read the Davenport piece and the interview linked below, and share your reactions in the comments section.

On The Public Engagement Industry

DavenportInst-logoCaroline Lee, a sociologist at Lafayette College, has a thoughtful and critical view of what she’s dubbed the “Public Engagement Industry.” In her book Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry, she considers the successes of the rise of public engagement and poses worthwhile questions about its future. On the one hand, public engagement efforts generate a sense of tangible involvement, lacking from traditional public hearings:

A public hearing where everyone gets three minutes at a microphone is really unsatisfying. This new kind of public engagement involves people talking in small groups, telling their stories, giving reasons for their ideas and maybe even changing their minds.

On the other hand, she argues, “some problems are too big for individuals to fix.”  She argues that if citizens focus too much on the local level, important national issues will take a backseat:

These processes have short-term impacts on people’s attitudes towards politics and their sense that individuals are key to social change, but this new kind of public engagement shifts (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Featured D&D Story: Affording Johnson County

Today we’re pleased to be featuring another example of dialogue and deliberation in action. This mini case study was submitted by NCDD member David Supp-Montgomerie of the University of Iowa’s Program for Public Life via NCDD’s new Dialogue Storytelling Tool. Do you have a dialogue story that our network could learn from? Add your dialogue story today!

ShareYourStory-sidebarimageTitle of Project

Affording Johnson County


Johnson County has the highest portion of residents paying over 50% of their income on housing costs in the entire state of Iowa – and the number for its renters is far higher than the national average. In partnership with several community organizations, this year-long public conversation project began with local discussions in several communities and culminates this April in a County Wide Deliberative Summit.

We have held our first meeting so far and it drew business owners, faith leaders (local churches, the synagogue, and the mosque), elected officials at the state and local level, community organizers, and ordinary folks passionate about the topic. City council members were sitting across from refugees and graduate students – this is (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Portland Gathering Catalyzes D&D-Journalism Connections

We recently shared an invitation to join the Experience Engagement gathering on journalism and public engagement last month in Portland, which was supported by NCDD Board member Marla Crockett and NCDD Sustaining Member Peggy Holman. Well apparently it was quite the transformational gathering, and the team at Axiom News did a great write up on a few definitive experiences folks had there, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original Axiom piece here.

Renewed Hope for Journalism Creates Shifts

An energy for discovering and bringing to life journalism’s deeper promise is still pulsing days after a gathering in Portland, Oregon, inspiring participants to new connections and possibilities.

“My hope has been renewed,” says Renee Mitchell, admitting she had long bought into the pessimist view that journalism was basically a dying industry, gasping for its last breath, which “deeply saddened her.”

“But I now recognize that what is bubbling up in the void between what was and what is coming is not new journalism but next journalism, where the possibilities are endless on how to use technology to tell stories that build, empower and inspire community. That’s what’s so exciting for me.”

Hosted by Journalism That Matters and UO SOJC’s Agora Journalism Center, the gathering drew more than 100 journalists, community activists and others representing a diversity of professions. Called Experience Engagement, the highly participatory gathering or “unconference,” as it was called, centered on the question: What is possible when (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI to Host 3 Online Health Care Deliberations in Nov.

Our friends at the National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD member organization – recently launched a great online deliberation tool call Common Ground for Action, and you’re invited to check it out for yourself in 3 forums this month about health care issues. The forums are part of NIFI’s larger project that will yield a report to federal policymakers, so we encourage you to join in! Read more below or find the original NIFI post on the forums here.

NIF logoHave you tried a Common Ground for Action forum yet? We’ve got 3 exciting opportunities coming up in November for you to try National Issues Forums’ (NIF) new platform for online deliberation – and to be part of a national report that the Kettering Foundation will be making to policymakers about the results!

The three November CGA forums will all be using the NIF issue guide Health Care: How Can We Reduce Costs and Still Get the Care We Need?, which will become part of the forum data that Kettering will report to federal policymakers on in 2016.

If you’d like to participate in any of these forums, all you have to do is click the link below to register (so we’ll know how many moderators we need). Then, the day before the forum you sign up for, you’ll receive an email with a unique URL for your forum – all you do to join the forum is click that link no more than 10 minutes before the forum start time. That’s it!

Of course, in the meantime, you can check out the issue guide – which is FREE to download! Go for it now, and we’ll see you online!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email cga@nifi.org.

You can find the original version of this NIFI post at www.nifi.org/en/groups/do-you-want-try-online-forum-three-chances-november-deliberate-about-health-care-costs.