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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Digital Engagement Census Deadline Extended to Mon. 2/26

Shared with us by NCDD member, Tim Bonnemann on our Main Discussion listserv, the ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census deadline has been extended until this coming Monday, February 26th. The survey, hosted by several international partner organizations, seeks to identify the digital engagement tools that people have been using and for folks to provide feedback on their experience using the tools. You can read more about the survey in the post below or find the original on ParticipateDB’s site here.


ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census

Today, after extensive prep work since we first floated the idea back in 2016, we are excited to launch the ParticipateDB 2018 Digital Engagement Census, a global practitioner survey aimed at improving our understanding of how technology is shaping community engagement today.

Over the next ten days, we hope to hear from people working in community engagement and public participation in places all around the world to answer two basic questions:

  • Which digital engagement tools or services have you used in your work lately?
  • What were your experiences and lessons learned?

Respondents who leave us their contact information will:

  • be among first to get their hands on the interim report (to be issued later this month),
  • receive an invitation to our exclusive follow-up event, and
  • receive an electronic copy of the final report free of charge (to be issued later in March).

We are exceptionally pleased to be partnering with a group of renowned (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Working in Consensus Around Challenging Issues

As collective heartache and anxiety takes the nation in waves due to recent tragedies, dialogue offers a place where folks can come together in conversation to process and better understand one another on challenging issues like gun access. Written by NCDD member Larry Schooler, he shares the need to talk with each other from a place of consensus as opposed to compromise; and lifts up some of the core tenets of dialogue in a beautiful analogy of a dinner party, in which we come to the table open-minded and open-hearted. We encourage you to read the article below or find the original version posted here.


I’m a Broward County Schools parent. Time to talk.

Any parent would feel shaken by a shooting at a school anywhere in the world. But when it happens less than 30 miles from where you live, and your own child attends a school in the same district, it felt different to me.

It reminded me of both what I have, and have not, done to keep my own children safe, to talk to them about the issues around violence, guns, mental health, and the like. It also reminded me of what I could do to help.

I am a conflict resolution professional, but it does not take an expert to see we have conflict around gun ownership and usage that needs resolving. If you are looking for policy proposals on gun control, look elsewhere. But if you want to be part of the resolution to these conflicts, consider this: compromise may be less important than consensus.

What’s the difference? Think of the contexts in which we use the word “compromise.” “The mission was compromised and had to be abandoned.” “Her immune system was compromised making her more susceptible to infection.” Usage in these cases connotes weakness, defeat, vulnerability. In the context of resolving a conflict, some scholars argue compromise generally involves loss–the surrender of something (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Public Agenda on the Importance of Measuring Engagement

One of the many ways to express the importance of engagement is to have effective ways to measure engagement efforts. In a recent piece by Matt Leighninger of NCDD member organization Public Agenda, he wrote on some of the challenges to engagement and why the need exists to be more effective at how engagement is measured, both qualitatively and quantitatively. This article is part 6 in the series on ways that public engagement needs to improve and the links to the 5 previous installments are at the bottom of the page. You can read the article below or find the original on Public Agenda’s site here.


How Public Engagement Needs to Evolve, Part 6

How can public engagement evolve in order to meet the needs and goals of citizens today? My previous post explored how public institutions may collaborate in their efforts to support engagement so that it becomes more efficient, systemic and sustained. For this final installment in the series, I’ll address the need for better ways to measure the perceptions, processes and outcomes of engagement, so that people know how to continually improve it.

Measuring engagement, especially in quantifiable ways, has always been difficult. There are a number of challenges, including:

  • Difficulty in defining engagement. Many leaders understand engagement to mean the one-way dissemination of “correct” information to the community, in order to disprove “incorrect” information. Some see it as purely meaning face-to-face meetings, while others are focused mainly on online interactions.
  • Differing forms of intensity. Engagement varies in intensity, from “thick” forms that are deliberative, labor-intensive and action-oriented, to “thin” forms that are fast, easy and potentially viral. Both are valuable, but for different reasons. Counting website hits or social media impressions may overemphasize the thin forms, while counting participation in meetings may overemphasize the thick forms.
  • Just counting heads may give you the wrong impression. Counting participants in any setting may be deceptive because in places where conventional forms of engagement are the only ones being used, people tend to mostly engage when they are angry or fearful about decisions being made by government. In this sense, higher numbers of people “engaging” can be a sign that governments are failing to practice more proactive, productive forms of engagement.
  • Inexperienced engagement staff. Counting staff positions dedicated to engagement as an indicator of government’s commitment can be misleading – since engagement is often defined in limited ways, these “engagement” job positions are often devoted to traditional PR or stakeholder relations. These jobs are often given by public officials to people who were particularly active campaign volunteers, but who have only a narrow and limited background in what engagement can do for governance and problem solving, and the many forms it can take.
  • Inability to measure impact. One of the most critical measures of engagement, especially to citizens, is whether public input has some kind of meaningful influence on public policies and practices. This is a particularly difficult thing to assess; it defies quantitative measurement and is subject to many different variables.

(more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Announcing the March Tech Tuesday Featuring Synaccord

NCDD is excited to announce our next Tech Tuesday featuring David Fridley of Synaccord. This FREE event will take place Tuesday, March 20th from 2:00-3:00pm Eastern/11:00-Noon Pacific. Don’t miss out – register today to secure your spot!

Public deliberation can engage communities in discussions that lead to awesome solutions with tremendous support! Online deliberative tools should help achieve this by augmenting and extending face to face deliberative structures, not replacing them. It is not a question of one or the other, it’s about how the two work together to achieve bigger better results.

David Fridley is the founder of Synaccord, LLC and member of NCDD since 2015 and he has been taking the best practices of face to face deliberative discussions and translating them into online experiences to enhance and expand face to face deliberative discussion. David will demonstrate the latest release of tools for online deliberation and explain the discussion stages in terms of their face to face analogs.  He will show where face to face discussions and online discussions add value to each other, creating better results than either can achieve separately.

He will lead a discussion of the challenges facing online discussion and the concerns public bodies have, and how they are overcome. And, he will have a special offer for NCDDers who want to help a public body discover awesome solutions with tremendous support.

This will be an interesting session, with demonstration of online deliberation tools and thoughtful discussion. Don’t miss out on this great exchange – 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

Civility Lessons from Washington in Honor of President’s Day

In honor of President’s Day, we wanted to share this piece by Big Tent Nation on some lessons from George Washington that was posted on NCDD member org, the Bridge Alliance‘s website. This post lifts up some of the gems the first president wrote about on the power of dialogue and importance of civility especially within conversation. In addition to BTN and BA, there are several organizations in the NCDD network like the National Institute for Civil Discourse and The Village Square, have been working to improve civility just as G.W. advised. You can read the post below or find this version on the BA’s site here.


Lessons from George Washington: It’s Time We Listened!

We all want America to flourish and prosper, but disagreements on “how” keep tripping us up. How is much more than picking between policy prescriptions – at its core it involves how we treat each other, and particularly those we disagree with.

The person most essential to realizing America in the first place thought about this issue a lot. It’s time to revisit his legacy.

George Washington was incredibly wealthy, physically imposing and a war hero of epic proportions. He probably could have gotten away with being a total jerk and still been revered! The fact is, many Americans wanted to give him almost limitless power. Some even wanted to make him a king.

His response? To a degree unprecedented in history (with all due respect to Cincinnatus), he put nation ahead of personal power and glory.  Was it because he wasn’t ambitious? Was it because he never felt like knocking Jefferson’s and Hamilton’s heads together and telling them to just behave? Absolutely not. He had the same desires and frustrations we all struggle with.

In fact, Washington was a highly emotional person who worked incredibly hard to manage his impulses.

He started cultivating self-control and interpersonal wisdom at an early age.  At just 16, he created a book for himself now called “Rules of Civility and Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation.” In it he transcribed 110 guidelines for personal conduct, manners and social relations. Reading them now, I’m struck by how relevant they are to today’s political challenges – and the degree to which we’re systematically ignoring them.  Below are (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

Get Involved in the National Week of Conversation

We’re excited announce the upcoming National Week of Conversation (NWOC), which is taking place this April 20-28.

The National Week of Conversation is designed to:

  • Turn the tide of rising rancor and deepening division
  • Begin mending the frayed fabric of America by bridging divides
  • Bring people together again–from ‘us vs. them’ to ‘me and you’
  • Build relationships by listening first to understand the other

NCDD took part in the initial planning meeting for this project last October, which was convened by the Bridge Alliance and sponsored by the Chicago Community Trust, and we’re excited to continue supporting it and hopefully mobilize many in our community to get involved!

Organizations coast to coast can host an event or activity, share NWOC with their members, build public awareness through press and social media, recruit others and more. You do not want to miss out on this landmark event, for America and for the growth of this movement — so please complete the Partner Sign-up Form today!

Here are a few things that are ALREADY in the works for NWOC:

  • April 20: The Village Square will be hosting Jefferson Dinners in Charlottesville, VA at which diverse groups will enjoy enriching conversation on topics of their choice.
  • April 21: Listen First Project will be hosting Listen First in Charlottesville to support the progress of healing and reconciliation in Charlottesville with a number of local and national influencers.
  • April 20-22: bridgeUSA and Future 500 will be co-hosting the Bridge Summit in Dallas, Texas that will bring together groups and people to advance a national movement.
  • Throughout the week, large libraries such as the Boston Public Library and Kansas City Public Library as well as small public libraries and schools will bring conversation programs to people across the country.

NCDD will work with our members offer in-person facilitation at some libraries.
Mismatch will assist online conversations between people with different backgrounds.
There will be “take-home” options such as Living Room Conversations and Civic Dinners from the library events.
– AllSides for Schools will help teachers and classrooms participate.

Email NWOC@BridgeAlliance.US with any questions you may have.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Recap on our Tech Tues Feat Iceland’s Citizens Foundation

NCDD hosted another one of our informative and exciting TechTues calls earlier this week! We were joined by around 100 participants from across the world to learn more about Citizens Foundation, their digital democracy solutions, and how they are working to strengthen civic engagement in Iceland and internationally.

We recommend you listen to the recording if you weren’t able to make it because it was a great call!

On the call, Robert Bjarnason of Citizens Foundation walked participants through a brief history of how democracy has evolved throughout the last millennium in Iceland and set the stage for the work they are doing today. Founded in the aftermath of Iceland’s economic collapse in 2008, Citizens Foundation sought to improve public participation in government and policy change, by creating open source tools and implementing more democratic processes. They specialize in participatory budgeting, policy crowdsourcing, and other open source projects spanning several countries in Europe and in Australia.

Some of our favorite quotes from Robert during the Tech Tuesday:

  • “A key factor is to make participation fun. Make it informational and educational, but it can’t be boring. People have too many other options, there’s competition for attention, so make it an enjoyable experience”
  • “Lower the barrier to reach more people and not just the usual suspects”
  • “It’s key to let people know about the effort, they can’t participate if they don’t know about it.”
  • “If you listen to the people, the people will listen to you.”
  • [In response to a question on how do you make participation fun?] “Complicated is how you kill fun, make it simple and use pictures!”

If you were unable to join us on the call, never fear! We recorded the webinar which can be found on the archives page here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).  We had an active chat discussion which raised some really interesting questions and examples, and you can check out the transcript of this chat by clicking here. Robert also shared the slides from his presentation, which you can find by clicking here, in case you wanted to scroll through them.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeBig thank you to Robert and everyone who participated on the call to make it engaging and informative! We encourage you to check out the TechTues recording and learn more about Citizens Foundation’s ongoing work at https://citizens.is/. To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays.

Finally, we love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Tech Tuesdays and Confab Calls. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here).

From the CommunityFrom the Community

MetroQuest Webinar on Finding Common Ground, Feb. 28th

Coming up at the end of February, NCDD member org MetroQuest will be hosting the webinar, How to Design Public Engagement to Find Common Ground; co-sponsored by NCDD, IAP2, and the American Planning Association (APA).  This webinar will be an opportunity to learn more on how to design public engagement efforts that uplift the common ground amongst the community and create solutions that demonstrate these shared ideals. You can read the announcement below or find the original on MetroQuest’s site here.


MetroQuest Webinar: How to Design Public Engagement to Find Common Ground

A 5-star recipe for public engagement – how to find common desires and build a winning plan!

Wednesday, February 28th
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern (1 hour)
Educational Credit Available (CM APA AICP)
Complimentary (FREE)

REGISTER HERE

When it comes to urban and transportation planning, motivated groups with competing demands often emerge in community outreach efforts. On February 28th, learn how online community engagement can help find common ground to build a plan citizens will support.

Mark Evans from BartonPartners and Mary Young with the Town of Westport will share their success in engaging the public to inform the Saugatuck Transit Oriented Design Master Plan. Find out how online engagement provided a fun and safe way for citizens to provide input without fear of reprisal from local insurgent groups. The result? A master plan that meets the common desires of the local community.

Register for this complimentary 1-hour live webinar to learn how to … (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD at Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference

We are thrilled to let folks know that NCDD staff, Courtney Breese and I will be at the Innovations in Participatory Democracy Conference, which is happening on March 8th – 10th in the Phoenix area. This conference will be a fantastic opportunity to learn about the top innovations in civic engagement and democracy, and to network with leaders in the field doing this powerful work.

We are especially excited to announce we will be presenting a session in collaboration with two fellow NCDD members: Cassandra Hemphill of the IAP2 Federation and adjunct faculty at Missoula College of the University of Montana, as well as, Annie Rappeport of the University of Maryland where she serves as a PhD Student and Research Assistant. In this interactive workshop, we will use art to explore participants’ individual connections to participatory democracy, what led us to our work on improving our democracy, and what each of us offer to the field. We’ll explore how we are connected in our communities and how we might connect with others to strengthen participatory democracy. If you are attending IPD, we hope you will join us for our session during Block 1 on Thursday, March 8th from 3-4:30pm.

While we are in town, we would love to meet up with NCDDers in the area (and those attending the conference)! We are working to identify a location that could accommodate a meetup on Friday night (March 9th) after the IPD events that evening. If you are in town on the 9th and would like to join us, send Courtney an email at courtney[at]ncdd[dot]org and we’ll keep you in the loop as we firm up our plans!

IPD is being hosted by NCDD member organizations – the Participatory Budgeting Project and the Jefferson Center, as well as, the Center for the Future of Arizona, the Katal Center, the Participatory Governance Initiative at Arizona State University, Phoenix Union High School District, and the Policy Jury Group. If you’ve never been to a conference hosted by PBP and these fine organizations, you are in for a special treat! Tickets go up February 28th – so make sure you get yours ASAP.

There are several pre-conference trainings planned for Wednesday, March 7th, like a training on participatory budgeting (PB) hosted by the Participatory Budgeting Project, or a training on citizen juries, citizen assemblies, sortition, and more hosted by the Jefferson Center and the Policy Jury Group. Click here to learn more and register for these pre-conference trainings, and to see the full IPD conference schedule.

Remember to keep an eye out for Courtney and I if you are attending the conference because we would love to see you!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NIFI Deliberation Day Coming up Monday, February 19th

NCDD member org – the National Issues Forums Institute, will be hosting Deliberation Day on Monday February 19th, where folks will have five back-to-back opportunities to participate in an online deliberative forum on immigration. Participants will have a chance to use NIFI’s Common Ground for Action online forum, where the results will then be part of A Public Voice 2018; an annual event hosted by Kettering Foundation and NIFI that bring Congressional and agency staffers together in a working meeting to discuss results from the deliberative forums (learn about APV 2017 here). NIFI is offering complimentary copies of their issue guide, Coming to America, before April 11th and have a free recorded webinar available on moderating these deliberative forums. We encourage you to read the announcement below or you can find the original here.


Join Us for Deliberation Day – Monday, February 19, 2018

Five Back-to-Back Online Forums about Immigration

Moderators and conveners around the country are planning and holding public deliberative forums about the issue of immigration to help kick off the 2018 A Public Voice forum series. At least 40 forums are already being scheduled, and more are in the works. A notable feature of this year’s forums, Deliberation Day, scheduled for Monday, February 19th, will include five, back-to-back Common Ground for Action online forums.

You are invited to choose a time that works best for you and participate in one of the online forums on February 19th. And you can help by sharing this invitation and the registration links below with your friends, family, and communities. All forums will use the brand-new Coming to America: Who Should We Welcome, What Should We Do? issue framework.

All forums will be held on Monday, February 19th (Presidents’ Day)

Click on a link to register: (more…)

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