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NCDD 2014 Partner: League of Extraordinary Trainers

NCDD is proud to announce that The League of Extraordinary Trainers has signed on as a Partner of the 6th National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation…

The League of Extraordinary Trainers are seven highly seasoned practitioners who have designed and presented some of the most powerful and recognized training in public participation, collaboration, consensus, high stakes communication, and facilitation in the world today. The League (known initially as the US Trainers’ Consortium) are practice leaders, developers and founders of the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) and its spectrum, principles and ethics. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Community-Building Arts Project from Tamarack

We wanted to share a write up from Axiom News that featured a great initiative in Canada led by NCDD organizational member Tamarack. The lessons learned from this arts-based project to support community building are valuable for all of us, so we hope you’ll take a moment to read the Axiom piece below or find the original version here.

Massive, Main Street Photo Exhibit ‘Shifts Feelings’ in Alberta Community

The Village of Delburne, located halfway between Calgary and Edmonton, Alberta provides a model for communities looking to engage residents in setting priorities and making decisions on what matters.

Earlier this year the village engaged in the “1,000 Conversations Across Canada” initiative championed by Tamarack, the Institute for Community Engagement.

The intent of the 1,000 Conversations campaign is to help shape communities by promoting the idea that citizens can collaborate and communicate with one another to create positive change.

Close to half the village population of about 830 representing a broad cross-section of the community participated in (more…)

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NCDD 2014 Co-Sponsor: National Dialogue Network

NCDD is proud to announce that the National Dialogue Network is joining us as a Co-Sponsor of the 6th National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation…

One of the great pleasures of working with people in our community is watching their ideas take root and grow.  It’s even more gratifying to see ideas presented at our events take on a life of their own.  The National Dialogue Network got its start at our Seattle conference and was eventually chosen by our members as one of the winners of the NCDD’s 2012 Catalyst Awards.

National Dialogue Network introduction video from John Spady on Vimeo. (more…)

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Announcing the “D&D Showcase” at NCDD 2014

We’re excited to announce that we’ll once again be holding our popular “D&D Showcase” at this year’s National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. The Showcase is a high-energy networking activity that provides a way for about 25 people in our field to introduce their work and their ideas to the majority of conference participants. The Showcase takes place during the reception on the first night of the conference (Friday, October 17th, from 4:30 to 6:00 pm).

It’s a fun way for conference-goers to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in our field, and hear about some of their latest projects, programs and tools.

Here is a slideshow of images from our Showcase at NCDD 2012 in Seattle…

Here’s how the Showcase will work…

During this 90-minute session, conference participants will stroll around the ballroom, chatting with presenters, listening to their brief spiels, checking out their posters and picking up handouts. We’ll also have finger foods and beverages available (and a cash bar), adding to the social atmosphere of the session.

The conference planning team is selecting people to present during the D&D Showcase who are passionate about sharing tools and programs we know will interest our attendees. Contact conference manager Courtney Breese at courtney@ncdd.org if you are interested in being featured in the Showcase — but please note these slots are very competitive!

The presenters, who will be prepared to give short spiels on their Showcase topic, will strike up conversations with participants who are strolling around the room, perusing the “wares.” No timers or buzzers (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Featured D&D Story: Putting People at the Center in Public Health

Today we are happy to feature another great example of dialogue and deliberation in action. This mini case study was submitted by NCDD student member Megan Powers of Grassroots Solutions via NCDD’s Dialogue Storytelling Tool. Do you have a dialogue story that our network could learn from? Add YOUR dialogue story today! 

ShareYourStory-sidebarimageTitle of Project:

Putting People at the Center: A Fundamental Shift in Public Health Campaigns


One of the most pivotal developments in public health practice over the past 20 years is the attention that is now being paid to the wide range of factors that influence health, such as social connectedness, the built environment, and the characteristics of the places where people live, work, and play. As a result, the public health field not only educates people about individual behavioral changes people can make to improve their health, but also works to change the policies, systems, and environments that shape our world and our ability to make healthy choices.

We’ve seen this impact firsthand. Grassroots Solutions works extensively with public health entities at the local, state, and national levels to reduce tobacco use, mitigate obesity, and address other critical public health concerns.

This work has taught us that while facts and data are, of course, powerful tools, the most successful public health campaigns put people at the center. When you combine data and facts with real people’s passion (more…)

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NCDD 2014 All-Star Sponsor: Public Conversations Project

NCDD is proud to announce that the Public Conversations Project is stepping up as an All-Star Sponsor of the 6th National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation…

Public Conversations ProjectSince 1989, the Public Conversation Project has worked in the U.S. and around the world facilitating dialogues on a wide range of contentious issues including abortion, forest management, homosexuality and faith, biodiversity, the use of animals in research, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and many others. In a world bristling with tension, controversy, polarization, and war, PCP aims to reduce rancor in public squares and promote effective communication within organizations and communities. It also provides workshops and customized trainings that teach people how to use its dialogue methods.

PCP was founded by Corky Becker, Laura Chasin, Richard Chasin, Margaret Herzig, and Sallyann Roth. The founders plus recent additions Raye Rawls and Mary Jacksteit, along with program staff members Robert Stains, Jr., David Joseph, Meenakshi Chakraverti, and Alison Streit Baron make up PCP’s team of associates. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Issue Guide on Economy Choices from NIFI

NIF-logoWe wanted to make sure the NCDD members heard that our organizational partners at the National Issues Forums Institute have published their latest issue guide for deliberative conversations. Released earlier this month, the newest guide is called The Future of Work: How Should We Prepare for the New Economy? The guide is designed to walk participants through tough choices about what policy directions we should take in dealing with the broader national economy.

The following excerpt can help you get a better sense of the approach the guide is taking:

The nature of the work we do has changed in ways that few Americans a generation ago could have imagined, and it will undoubtedly be dramatically different in yet another generation. These changes will bring both opportunities and difficulties…

The stakes are high. Many Americans share concerns about the nation’s competitive edge, stagnant wages, and a sense that young people today will be worse off than previous generations.

We have choices to make together in shaping the future of work. Business, government, individuals, and communities all play a role in addressing this issue. This guide presents some of the options we might pursue, along with their drawbacks.

As with other NIFI issue guides, the new guide encourages forum participants to weigh three different courses of action on a controversial issue. The guide lays out the choices on dealing with the national budget in this way: (more…)

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NCDD 2014 All-Star Sponsor: The Interactivity Foundation

NCDD is proud to announce that the Interactivity Foundation is stepping up as an All-Star Sponsor of the 6th National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation…

The Interactivity Foundation (or IF) works to engage citizens in the exploration and development of possibilities for public policy through small group discussions.  With projects impacting policy discussions as close to home as Madison, Wisconsin and as far afield as Hungary, Kazakhstan and the far east, the Interactivity Foundation works on several levels of public discussions within three main focal areas:

Their Project Discussions are longer-term projects with selected panelists that develop our Discussion Reports with different possibilities for future public policy.  IF sponsors—and their Fellows manage—these discussions on broad, complex topics of social and political concern.  They often refer to these Project Discussions as “Sanctuary” discussions because they are designed to foster a protected space for truly collegial discussion and open and collaborative exploration of difficult issues. (more…)

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Join us for our July 29th Confab on Event Closings

Join us on Tuesday, July 29th from 2-3pm Eastern (11-12 Pacific) for NCDD’s next “Confab Call.” Register today to secure your spot!

Confab bubble imageThis will be a different kind of Confab. We’ll be tackling a very practical challenge that many dialogue and deliberation practitioners face, and that NCDD itself faces every time we plan an NCDD conference. The confab will dig into challenges and strategies for planning and managing effective closings at participatory events.

We have four great practitioners who will serve as conversation starters: Lisa Heft, Adrian Segar, Tim Merry and Susanna Haas Lyons. All have extensive experience closing large-scale events using approaches such as Open Space, World Cafe, Conferences That Work, Art of Hosting and 21st Century Town Meetings.

The confab will be an informal conversation (no pre-planned presentations!) where our all-star cast of practitioners will share different strategies for closing participatory events (with an emphasis on larger events). NCDD’s director, Sandy Heierbacher, will share some of the ways we’ve closed our conferences in the past, and what some of our challenges and concerns are. For instance, for large participatory events like NCDD conferences, how can you involve everyone in the room in a way that is powerful and meaningful, without being too cheesy or taking too much time?

We’re encouraging members of our 2014 conference planning team to be on the call and participate by asking questions and sharing their own experiences, and we’ll likely brainstorm ideas for closing this year’s conference. We look forward to a fun, productive confab that serves both our community and the upcoming conference!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Distinguishing Collective Wisdom from “the Wisdom of Crowds”

This reflective piece comes from NCDD blogger Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Project. Tom’s original post can be found at www.tomatleeblog.com/?p=175327099.

The popular book “The Wisdom of Crowds” says a lot about the remarkable accuracy of thousands of people making guesses about something that has a real but unknown answer now or in the future. This phenomenon is fascinating but it doesn’t provide us with actual wisdom to guide our collective future. What would real collective wisdom look like, and how might we find or co-create it?

A friend just sent me this essay from the BBC: “‘Wisdom of the crowd’: The myths and realities” by Philip Ball.

I feel a need to respond to it – publicly and urgently.

I think it is unfortunate that James Surowiecki’s 2005 book “The Wisdom of Crowds” – which is a perfectly good book as far as it goes – has colonized the most popular term for collective wisdom so that it is hard to talk about the subject in any other terms than his, and be heard.

But think about it for a minute. “The Wisdom of Crowds” is about how accurate (or not) dozens or thousands of people are when they are guessing the number of beans in a bottle or predicting who is going to win the World Cup. The number of times their average collective guestimates are accurate is remarkable – which is the subject of Surowiecki’s book. But is that what wisdom is really about?

If some individual could predict the outcome of this year’s US elections, would we call them wise? Is that what we proclaim Christ or Buddha (more…)