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NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Day One “Short Talks” at NCDD 2014

New to this year’s NCDD national conference, Friday’s Short Talks will provide conference participants the opportunity to hear directly from leading innovators and thought leaders in the field.   Scheduled from 1:00 to 2:00 pm on our first day, we’ll have ten rooms set aside for two “back-to-back” repeated sessions, so that attendees can choose two of the ten short talks.


With topics including “lessons learned in the course of carrying out a multi-year, multi-project CDC public engagement initiative” presented by Roger Bernier and Caitlin Wills-Toker and Vinita Singh’s talk on “adapting the World Café method to an Indian context,” conference-goers will be exposed to a wide variety of pratical, on-the-ground dialogue & deliberation experiences.

Our presenters have been asked to prepare a 10- or 15-minute talk, facilitate some Q&A, and then repeat the talk and Q&A with a new group after a 20-minute break during which attendees can move to another room.   These speakers represent a wide variety of agencies including the Hawaii State Senate and the Center for Disease Control, are joining us from throughtout academia with faculty from Penn State, Colorado State, and the Universities of Georgia & Arizona, and are sharing the experiences of a variety of non-profits such as Journalism that Matters, the National Dialogue Network and We the People.


For a full list of topics and speakers, visit the Short Talks page in the event’s section.  For an overview of Day One activities, including our plenary on “mapping our field” and our always popular D&D Showcase, check out the conference schedule.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

50 “Next Generation” Digital Engagement Tools

The theme for this year’s NCDD conference, “Democracy for the Next Generation“, is meant to invite us to build on all the innovative tools and practices that have been invigorating our field in recent years. Many of those innovations are digital, and that is why a major goal for NCDD 2014 is to help our field better understand how to utilize technology for engagement and to provide insights and know-how for harnessing the emerging technologies that support dialogue and deliberation. NCDD 2014 will feature tons of “next generation” engagement tech, so don’t miss it - register today!

In keeping with our theme, we are excited to share the great list of 50 “next generation” online engagement tools (no implied endorsement) that our partners at CommunityMatters compiled with help from our friends at New America, EngagingCities, the DDC, and NCDD’s own director. Check out the CM post and the comprehensive list below or find the original version here.

CM_logo-200pxOnline public participation is an effective complement to face-to-face events such as community workshops and design charrettes. Selecting the right platform to get the most out of digital outreach can be overwhelming.

The first step is to learn what tools are out there! Here are 50 tools for online engagement in no particular order (and with no implied endorsement). These digital platforms can help local government consult, collaborate with, and empower citizens in community decision-making.

Once you’ve perused the list, check out the notes and recording of our September 5 conference call with Alissa Black and Pete Peterson, who shared advice for selecting digital tools that align with engagement goals.

  1. coUrbanize: List project information for development proposals and gather online feedback.
  2. Cityzen: Gathers feedback by integrating polling and social media sites.
  3. Community Remarks: Map-based tool for facilitating dialogue and collecting (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

On David Mathews… a featured speaker at NCDD 2014

We are thrilled to have David Mathews, President and CEO of the Kettering Foundation, joining us at the National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation next month. David is our featured plenary speaker on the first day of the conference, Friday, October 17th. (See the full conference schedule here.)

Mathews-David-12-2009-248x300Many people in our field know David, and are familiar with his work at the Kettering Foundation. Under David’s leadership, Kettering plays a vital role in our field by advancing and funding leading edge democracy research. Because one of the key ways they conduct research is through in-person “learning exchanges,” Kettering also provides an important convening role in our field.

But I suspect fewer people are familiar with David’s work pre-Kettering, which is quite extraordinary.

Most prominently, David served as Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare (HEW) during the Ford administration. We now know HEW as the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).

As HEW secretary, David was the youngest member of the cabinet and head of the agency with the largest budget. While there, he worked on restoring public confidence in government and reforming the regulatory system. At his swearing in, Gerald Ford said, “Mathews brings to this new mission the strength of youth, a sense of purpose, the skills of a scholar, and the trusted record of a successful leader and administrator. That is an impressive inventory by any standard.”


Born and raised in Grove Hill, Alabama, David studied history and classical Greek at the University of Alabama and earned a PhD in history from Columbia University. David returned to the University of Alabama to serve as president from 1969-1975 and then again from 1977–1980 after serving as HEW Secretary. This was an era of significant change and innovation, including the integration of the institution. At age 33, Mathews was the youngest president of a major university. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Updates from the Deliberative Democracy Consortium

DDC logoWe recently received a newsletter from NCDD supporting member Matt Leighninger of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), and we wanted to share it with you. The DDC has been working on some important and exciting projects, and they have 3 big announcements.

First, the DDC has released a significant new white paper:

Infogagement: Citizenship and Democracy in the Age of Connection is the latest white paper from PACE (Philanthropy for Active Civic Engagement). Written by the DDC’s Matt Leighninger, the report – downloadable here - describes the innovative collision of journalism, technology, and public engagement. It is based on interviews with PACE members and many other leading thinkers, and presents the main arguments in the form of six sections, a series of charts, and a two-act play. Leighninger, Paula Ellis, and Chris Gates will discuss the report in a PACE webinar next Tuesday, September 16th – register at www.pacefunders.org/events.html.

Second, the DDC is part of hosting a new round of the wonderful Text, Talk, Act initiative, which is jointly supported by NCDD:

Monday, October 6th, will be the next big day for “Text, Talk, and Act” – a nationwide, text-enabled, face-to-face on mental health. Thousands of people have taken part in “Text, Talk, and Act,” which is a Creating Community Solutions event in the National Dialogue on Mental Health. Participating is easy: just get together with 4-5 other people on the 6th and text “START” to 89800. For more information, see www.bit.ly/texttalkact.

Lastly, Matt is releasing a great new textbook soon that is sure to be a key work for those teaching about our field’s work:

Coming soon: Matt Leighninger and Tina Nabatchi (Maxwell School, Syracuse University) are hard at work on a textbook on Public Participation in 21st Century Democracy, to be released in early 2015 by Wiley/Jossey-Bass.

We encourage you to learn more about the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and their work at www.deliberative-democracy.net.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Opening at Univ. of Utah’s Environmental Dispute Resolution Program

We are pleased to share with our NCDD community that our friends at the Environmental Dispute Resolution Program at the University of Utah’s S.J. Quinney College of Law have an opening for a new Associate Director that they recently posted here. The EDR program is an NCDD organizational member, and we know that plenty of folks from our network would be a great fit for the position.

The general description of the position is below, but you can find the full description and more info about the position at https://utah.peopleadmin.com/postings/35519.

Please make sure to share the announcement with folks you know who may be a good fit, and best of luck to all of the applicants! (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Changing “Child-Adult” Dynamics in Public Participation

Our partners at the Kettering Foundation recently published an insightful interview about civic infrastructure and the relationship between elected officials and their constituents with NCDD supporting member Matt Leighninger of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium. We encourage you to read it below or to find the original by clicking here.

kfMatt Leighninger thinks the capacities of citizens have grown tremendously over the years. But one of the misalignments between having better engagement and more productive use of citizens’ capacities has been the inclination of decision makers to adopt a “child-to-adult” orientation to the public. What we need, he says, is an “adult-to-adult relationship.”

In thinking about how we create those types of relationships, former KF research assistant Jack Becker has been talking with civic leaders around the United States. He recently interviewed Matt Leighninger, the executive director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC), an alliance of major organizations and leading scholars working in the field of deliberation and public engagement. The DDC represents more than 50 foundations, nonprofit organizations, and universities, collaborating to support research activities and advance democratic practice in North America and around the world. Over the last 16 years, Matt has worked with public engagement efforts in more than 100 communities, in 40 states and four Canadian provinces. Matt is a senior associate for Everyday Democracy and serves on the boards of E-Democracy.Org, the National School Public Relations Association, and The Democracy Imperative.

One of topics I’ve been trying to put my finger on is civic infrastructure. When I talked with Sandy Heierbacher about this, she explained it as “the big picture of why we do this work” which she goes on to say are “the underlying systems and structures that enable people to come together to address their challenges effectively.” Betty Knighton added to this discussion by arguing that we have to do a better job at identifying where these “conversations occur naturally in our community.” Matt Leighninger, one of our fields’ many careful surveyors of community engagement practices, contributed to this conversation by tracing some of the arenas of practice and thinking about what kind of leadership it takes to foster engagement. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Global Innovation Competition Seeks Governance Ideas

We think that NCDD members will be interested to learn more about a great initiative from Making All Voices Count, who will be launching global competition of innovative governance ideas next week. We encourage you to read MAVC’s write up on the competition below or find the original piece here.  

While democracies share common features, there is no single model and the same is true for innovations designed to engage citizens and incentivise better governance.

On the International Day of Democracy September 15, Making All Voices Count, a global initiative that aims to foster and support new ideas to enable better citizen engagement and government responsiveness, will launch its second annual Global Innovation Competition (GIC).

“We’re excited to launch the GIC on this symbolic day and welcome challenging, bold solutions,” says Innovation Director Daudi Were.

The GIC is designed to tackle a different governance and accountability problem each year and invites the public to (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Not too late to sponsor the 2014 NCDD conference!

Leading organizations in the dialogue and deliberation community are really coming out to support the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. It is so heartwarming to see this support, and we are indebted to our sponsors and partners for NCDD 2014.

Our sponsors are in many ways a “who’s who” in public engagement, and we’re thrilled they want to publicly support this year’s NCDD conference. See the full list of sponsors below the image, or visit this page for full descriptions.

There is still time to join their ranks and sign on as a sponsor or partner of the conference! See this page for details.


The following organizations have signed on as All-Star Sponsors, Co-Sponsors, and Partners of NCDD 2014 — and we are so grateful for their generous support.

So far, our All-Star Sponsors (donated $3000) are the Democracy Fund, the Interactivity Foundation, Penn State’s McCourtney Institute for Democracy and Center for Democratic Deliberation (just heard the news this morning!) and the Public Conversations Project

Our Co-Sponsors ($2000) are the Center for Justice & Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University, Everyday Democracy, the International Association of Facilitators, and the National Dialogue Network

And our Partners ($1000) are the Close Up Foundation, Healthy Democracy, the Institute for Civic Discourse and Democracy, the Institute for Local Government, the League of Extraordinary Trainers, Mid-Atlantic Facilitators Network (MAFN), PlaceSpeak, Public Agenda, and the William D. Ruckelshaus Center

Interested in joining their ranks and sponsoring the upcoming National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation? We’d greatly appreciate your support — plus you get a lot of exposure and other benefits. Learn more about sponsor benefits and requirements here, or send me an email at sandy@ncdd.org to let me know you are interested in supporting this important convening through sponsorship!

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Showcase Sessions at the 2014 NCDD Conference

We’re excited to share the almost-final list of our featured presenters in this year’s “D&D Showcase” — a highly anticipated, high-energy event held on the first night of the 2014 NCDD conference. The Showcase is a fun way for you to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in our field and learn about their leading-edge projects, programs and tools.

Showcase presenters are asked to prepare a brief spiel to use as a conversation starter during this un-timed session, to provide handouts so you can follow up after the conference, and to prepare an eye-catching poster so people can easily identify their topic. More about how the Showcase works is up at www.ncdd.org/15606.

Civil Dialogue

John Genette, President of the Institute for Civil Dialogue and Clark D. Olson, Professor in the Hugh Downs School of Human Communication at Arizona State University

For the past decade, Civil Dialogue has been used nationally as a technique to help people with varying opinions on controversial issues unstop the many blockages that preclude civil conversation and invites guided dialogue to increase understanding.

The Civity Initiative

Palma Strand and Malka Kopell, Co-Founders of The Civity Initiative

“Civity” is people working together to solve important civic problems — building and strengthening relationships to reach across social, political and organizational divides. The Civity Initiative offers the story of civity to counter prevailing stories of division and disempowerment. We also conduct projects that focus on bridging relationships, such as our current project in Silicon Valley with young leaders that uses transformative one-on-one Civity Conversations to reach across the tech/non-tech divide.

Common Ground for Action

Amy Lee, Program Officer at the Kettering Foundation and April McKay, Product Manager at Conteneo

Common Ground for Action (CGA) is a new online platform that is infused with the Kettering Foundation’s proven techniques for framing issues and practices of thoughtful deliberation.

Convergence Center for Policy Resolution

Laura Perrault, Director of Operations at Convergence

Convergence convenes diverse and influential stakeholders – who are either in conflict or working at cross purposes — to build trust, identify solutions, and form alliances for action on critical national issues. We call our process “dialogue-leading-to-action” and are currently organizing projects on nutrition, education, long-term care, and US-Pakistan relations. Learn more at www.convergencepolicy.org.


From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD 2014 Workshop Descriptions Available!

Have you checked out the workshops that will be offered at NCDD 2014 yet? In case you missed it, we wanted to make sure to let you know that we have posted the most up to date list of workshops sessions that will be offered at this year’s National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. And they are stellar!  The session offerings, as at all NCDD conferences, represent the vast diversity of our work. From boot camp trainings on facilitating deliberation, to panels on the most innovative public engagement case studies, to fun and thoughtful explorations of the most pressing challenges and opportunities in our field, there is something for everyone!

Be sure to check out the full list of workshops at www.ncdd.org/events/ncdd2014/workshops.

You can also find links to the overview of the full NCDD 2014 schedule and all the other info you might need at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2014. If you have friends and colleagues who are still on the fence about attending, make sure to share this post with them to let them know about the all of the great things they could be missing, and encourage them to register today! We look forward to seeing you all in October!