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NIF for the Skilled Facilitator: An NCDD 2014 Pre-Conference Training

Join Craig Paterson of the California NIF Network, Patty Dineen of the National Issues Forums Institute and Pennsylvania NIF and others (TBA) on Thursday, October 16 for a 6-hour workshop on moderating National Issues Forums to your skill set.

NIF-logoThis session, titled NIF for the Skilled Facilitator, is designed for experience facilitators who would like to add National Issues Forums to their répertoire. The aim of this workshop is to expand the use of NIF, grow the NIF network and, of course, add another ‘tool’ to the experienced facilitator’s dialogue and deliberation toolkit.

NIF is known for its amazing issue books and skilled “issue framing,” and for its close relationship with the Kettering Foundation. Check out many NIF resources in NCDD’s Resource Center on NIFI or visit the NIFI site at www.nifi.org for more information.

A modest fee of $25.00 will be charged to cover food and materials. The group will be intentionally kept small, with a maximum of 25 participants.

Please add this to your calendar if you’re interested — and make your travel plans for the 2014 NCDD conference accordingly. (You’ll want to arrive on Wednesday, October 15th if you’re flying in.)  A registration form will be online soon; just keep an eye on the conference schedule page.

Questions about the pre-conference workshop? Contact Nancy Gansneder at njg5w@virginia.edu.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Participatory Budgeting Expands in NYC for ’14 – ’15

We are excited to share the announcement from our friends with the Participatory Budgeting Project, and NCDD organizational member, that participatory budgeting is once again expanding in NYC to reach even more of its citizens. We encourage you to read PBP’s press release below about the expansion or find it on PBP’s website here.

22 districts will participate in next cycle to designate over $25 million

PBP-logoCity Hall— Today, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito and the New York City Council announced the expansion of participatory budgeting to 22 districts that will designate over $25 million toward locally-developed projects, proposals, and initiatives in the next budgetary cycle. The expansion more than doubles the number of participating districts and represents a nearly 80% increase in funding allocated for participatory budgeting from the previous fiscal year.

“Participatory budgeting is a gateway to greater civic participation and leadership in our communities, encouraging collaboration between residents and local elected officials to find creative solutions to neighborhood needs,” said Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito. “As we work toward a more inclusive, transparent city government, I am excited for (more…)

NCDD NewsNCDD News

NCDD’s Long-Term Mapping Efforts

Last week, I announced the visual mapping process NCDD is conducting that leads into our national conference in October. I’m excited to say that about 30 graphic recorders have expressed interest in being involved, and that the interviews are going very well so far thanks to our interviewer, Kathryn Thomson!

At and after the conference, we plan to expand the project to more fully map our field in a way that creates a valuable product for all of us.

US-GoogleMap-outlinedWe are interested in creating several maps, or a single map with multiple layers, that can show things like:

  • The geographic reach of people working in dialogue and deliberation, and of their projects and programs
  • The capacities and assets represented in the field–especially in terms of capacity to convene dialogues, capacity to mobilize others to convene dialogues, and assets that could be considered tangible aspects of civic infrastructure (like facilitator training programs, physical and online spaces for convening, etc.)
  • Consultants and facilitators who are available for hire, including information about the topics they have experience with, the methods they have expertise in, and the training programs they’ve participated in. (Note: NCDD has a member map and directory, but we’d like to find a comprehensive tool that combines map and searchable directory features, and collaborate with other networks expand it well beyond NCDD’s membership.)

We are currently looking for help from those who’ve had direct experience with mapping or data visualization tools to share their experience so we can make a well informed decision about which tool or tools to use. Ideally we would like a tool that is easy to use both to create and to understand the output. The tool also has to handle a very large dataset.

Please contact me at sandy@ncdd.org if you’d like to help advise NCDD on this larger mapping project — or add a comment if you have specific ideas or recommendations. Questions that may help guide your response are…

  1. What tool have you used to create network maps?
  2. What do you think it did exceptionally well?
  3. What do you wish it did better?
  4. What tools would you avoid?

And for those of you with mapping experience, please add your name and email to the comments and plan to join me on Friday at 11am on a group brainstorming call to dig further into these questions and mapping technologies!

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Pastors, Scientists to Continue “Perceptions Project” Dialogues

The team at Public Agenda, an NCDD organizational member and Partner of our upcoming national conference, has been reflecting on their experiences facilitating the Perceptions Project – a series of dialogues between scientists and evangelical Christian pastors – in a fascinating series on their blog. We encourage you to read the second reflection on their bridge-building work below, or find the original version here.

PublicAgenda-logoAs we make the final preparations for the next set of Perceptions Project dialogues, I can’t help but think back to our first dialogues in Pasadena.

We spent considerable time preparing for those conversations, between evangelical pastors and scientists. We worked with our partners on the project, AAAS (the American Association for the Advancement of Science), thinking about who should participate and how the dialogues might unfold. We anticipated the tensions that might emerge – tensions that could stall conversation between the two communities. And we thoughtfully planned ways to surface areas of common ground and shared understanding.

Yet despite the many hours of planning that led up to the dialogues, I was unable to foresee what it would feel like to be in them. What I hadn’t, and perhaps couldn’t, anticipate was (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

CM Call on Rural Design, August 20th

CM_logo-200pxWe are pleased to invite NCDD members once again to join our partners at CommunityMatters for the next installation in their capacity-building call series, which is jointly hosted by the Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design. This month’s call is titled “How Design Sparks Rural Development”, and it will be taking place next Wednesday, August 20th from 4-5pm Eastern Time.

The folks at CM describe the upcoming call this way:

Urban, not rural, places are usually thought of as hubs of creativity and innovation, but this month’s CommunityMatters® and Citizens’ Institute on Rural Design™ webinar turns that notion on its head.

Emily Pilloton of Project H and Mark Rembert and Taylor Stuckert of Energize Clinton County, Ohio use the principles of good design to improve rural places, often in unexpected ways. Join us for an hour-long webinar highlighting community design that kick starts rural development. You’ll learn smart ways to introduce decision makers to design principles and find appropriate roles for “experts” and outsiders in resident-led design projects.

Register today by clicking here, and we hope to hear you on the call!

Before the call, we encourage you to check out the accompanying piece on the CM blog by Caitlyn Horose, which is cross posted below. You can find the original piece here.

Good Design Sparks Rural Community Development

Instead of focusing on developing products and services, now more than ever, architects, industrial designers, graphic artists, landscape architects, and other creative professionals are turning their attention to (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

So many ways to use technology, so many ways to learn at NCDD 2014

Past conference attendees* have approached technology for public engagement, dialogue, and deliberation in so many different ways:

  • Kira is hands-on and pragmatic, interested only in tools that fit into her work, today.
  • Bob’s a skeptic, so it’s tough to convince him that online technology can play a role in his work.
  • Ashante seeks technology that’ll make her dream process a reality.
  • Andrés has just scratched the surface, unsure where to begin.

LaptopsAnd they’ve all found sessions to expand their vision and knowledge at past NCDD conferences.

For all of his skepticism, Bob remembers Steven Clift’s presentation at NCDD’s 2012 conference in Seattle fondly. Clift’s 15 years of experience with email- and web-based community forums, particularly in immigrant and low income communities, and the way Clift’s work has been put to use in communities across the globe, resonated with him. Indeed, Bob surprised friends by asking Clift to help redesign an upcoming neighborhood summit using email to make it more inclusive. And he loves to tell the story of how some of his most important learning was about the value of going door to door and posting sign-up sheets at street fairs.

Few recall that Ashante’s fervor was sparked by her NCDD’s regional conference in Austin, in 2010. There, she first learned of the ways Manor, Texas used the web to harvest ideas from all residents. She realized that if a town of just 5000 residents could do this, her opportunities were far larger than she had thought. And Manor’s emphasis on low-cost technologies gave her hope that she could begin her efforts years sooner than she had planned. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Surprising Results in Online Commenting Study

NCDD has been part of an ongoing conversation about whether online comment sections can be spaces for dialogue and if there are methods or tools we can use to make those spaces more civil. One of our NCDD organizational members, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, recently released on a study on the topic that has some surprising, though not exactly encouraging, results. You can read NICD’s announcement about the study below or find the original here.


NICD_logo3A new study confirms that incivility is common on online news websites. Researchers at the University of Utah and the University of Arizona analyzed more than 6,400 reader comments posted to the website of The Arizona Daily Star, a major daily newspaper in Arizona. They found that more than 1 in 5 comments included some form of incivility, with name-calling the most prevalent type.

“We tracked six different kinds of incivility, but name-calling was by far and away the most common,” said Kevin Coe, a faculty member in the Department of Communications at the University of Utah and one of the study’s authors. “Many people just can’t seem to avoid the impulse to go after someone.”

The study also showed that incivility in comment sections does not fit the stereotype of (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

New Grant Initiative Seeks to Address Polarization

NCDD members may want to look into the Madison Initiative, an exciting exploratory grant initiative from the Hewlett Foundation. Hewlett is hoping the initiative can address the problem of polarization in the US, especially in Congress. You can learn more from Hewlett’s press release below or by visiting www.hewlett.org.


Exploratory Project Seeks to Strengthen Representative Democracy in U.S.

HewlettFdn-logoMenlo Park, Calif. — It is hard to look at events of the past few years without concluding that democracy in America is in trouble. Surveys routinely find that most Americans think poorly of the federal government and, in particular, of Congress. Such frustration and mistrust do not bode well for our system of government.

Against this backdrop, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation announced today that it is launching a new initiative to help alleviate the problem of polarization, with a special focus on the problem in Congress. The foundation will invest $50 million over the next three years in what it is calling the Madison Initiative. It will use this initial phase of grantmaking to assess whether and how it can help strengthen the nation’s representative institutions so that they are better able to address the major issues facing the country—and do so in ways that (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Visual Mapping Process Leading into NCDD 2014

NCDD is in the midst of an exciting mapping process leading up to our national conference in the DC area this October. We’re conducting this initial mapping project–and a more in depth mapping process we hope to launch at the conference–in collaboration with the Kettering Foundation.

Cool mapping image f

Cool mapping image from www.mindmapart.com.

There is a vast field of organizations, communities and networks whose work centers around collaborative group practices. This work goes by many different names (dialogue and deliberation, deliberative democracy, whole systems change, collective intelligence, collaborative problem solving, etc.), and NCDD was formed to bridge these and other streams of practice to help us learn from, be inspired by, and work with each other.

People use collaborative group practices to reach numerous ends:  planning stronger communities, influencing policy, addressing long-standing conflict, inspiring people to work together to solve collective problems, increasing awareness of the nuances of public issues, and helping people connect with each other across political and social divides.

The purpose of this initial mapping project is to help people working in this broad field of practice – especially those who attend the 2014 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation – get a better picture of the points of connection, the overlaps, and the possibilities for collaboration between the myriad networks and organizations that are innovating in this field.

The first stage of this mapping project is a very visual one, and was born out of a brainstorming conversation I had with Rosa Zubizarreta. We will begin by interviewing ten highly collaborative organizations that work in different spheres of this work. Kathryn Thomson of LeadershipMind Consulting will conduct the interviews, which will be recorded. (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Peek Into NCDD’s Past Conferences

Here at NCDD, we are in full-on conference planning mode, working closely with our incredible planning team to organize what we hope will be our best conference yet. (Learn more about NCDD 2014 here.)

One of my roles is to design the guidebooks, and I thought this would be a good time to share the guides from the previous conferences. If you’re thinking about joining us in October, these will give you a sense of the kinds of great programming, workshops, speakers, and networking we have in store for you!

2012 Guidebook — Seattle, WA

“The NCDD conference in Seattle was an extremely useful chance to meet others in the D&D field. Everybody makes the time to go, so everybody you could need to meet is there. I don’t know of another opportunity like it.”
– Amy Lee, Kettering Foundation

Learn more about the Seattle event • Download the 2012 Guidebook

2010 Resource Guide — Regional Events

“It was inspiring to connect with so many people working to bring authentic public engagement to the world through state of the art deliberative processes. I was heartened to see so many civic leaders and schools of public policy there, as well all of the grassroots, networked groups who are changing the face of democracy even as I write. Well done all!”
– Kathryn Thomson, PublicForums

Learn more about the Regional Events • Download the Resource Guide on Public Engagement

2008 Guidebook — Austin, TX

(more…)

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