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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Group Decision Tip: High ground

In principle, groups often get bogged down in details (who should do what by when and how) and fail to stay on the high ground (strategic direction and guiding policies).

Group Decision Tips IconThe group as a whole has the unique perspective of seeing all that the group is doing, all the opportunities, all the threats. It is a view from the hill top. An individual group member has the unique perspective of seeing the details on the ground and has the best sense of how to actually implement policies in the field.

Practical Tip: As a group responsible for establishing plans and policies, consider the big picture and make high-level decisions that guide implementation. Resist the temptation to dictate details. Encourage the group as a whole to stay on the high ground and trust individuals to handle the trenches.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Interview on GovLoop Innovation Report

We recently read a great interview over at EngagingCities on an interesting report detailing 20 significant innovations made in government last year, and we thought it would interest our NCDD members. We encourage you to read the interview below or find the original post here.

engaging cities logoIn late December,  GovLoop released a new report, “The GovLoop Guide to 20 Innovations that Mattered in 2013.” EngagingPlans editor Della Rucker recently sat down with Emily Jarvis, lead writer of the report and producer of the GovLoop podcast, the DorobekINSIDER, to talk about how Emily and her colleagues uncovered those innovations, and what they found.

DGR: Thanks for taking the time to talk, Emily.  Where did the idea for the20 Innovations that Matter report come from?

EJ:  2013 was a rough year for government people, especially federal employees.  We felt like most of the media wasn’t telling the whole story about government employees – and we knew that government is one of the most innovative entities out there.  So we wanted to highlight those achievements.  Last year (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Questions Elected Officials Ask About Public Engagement

We wanted to encourage you to read the great insights that NCDD organizational member Max Hardy of Twyfords Consulting recently shared on the Twyfords’ blog. Max wrote some of his reflections on concerns that elected officials have shared with him recently about public engagement, and we encourage you to read them below or find the original piece by clicking here.


twyfordsI was enjoying a conversation and coffee with a friend the other day. After sharing a few stories with her about my work with executives and elected representatives, she asked, ‘Have you recorded any of this anywhere?’ I confessed I hadn’t.

Of particular interest to my friend were the questions that elected representatives have asked me in relation to collaborating with their communities. Perhaps you’ll find them of interest as well.

  1. ‘How do I know that an active minority will not monopolize the process?’
  2. ‘Collaborating takes time and I don’t have much of it. How can I find the time to do this properly?’
  3. ‘Every time I invite the community to consider an important matter they seem to be after blood. How can we have a reasonable and meaningful conversation about such matters (without getting bashed up)?’ (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

PAGE Fellowship Opportunity for Grad Students

We recently heard about a great opportunity for our grad student members from NCDD supporting member Steven Kull, and we wanted to make sure to share it with you. The Imagining America initiative is a great venue for scholars to integrate civic engagement into their work , and we encourage you to learn more about their PAGE network below or by clicking here

Publicly Active Graduate Education (PAGE) is Imagining America’s network for publicly engaged graduate students in humanities, arts, and design. PAGE enhances the theoretical and practical tools for public engagement, fosters a national, interdisciplinary community of peers and veteran scholars, and creates opportunities for collaborative knowledge production. The PAGE consortium, made up of alumni and allies of the program, promotes opportunities for mentorship and peer support from IA’s network.

Imagining America (IA) invites graduate students with a demonstrated interest in public scholarship and/or artistic practice to apply for a 2014-2015 PAGE Fellowship. Awardees receive $500 to attend a half-day Fellows Summit on October 8th and the 2014 Imagining America national conference, October 9th-11th in Atlanta, Georgia.

Fellows also commit to  (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Last chance to sign up for tomorrow’s confab on Text Talk Act!

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Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s free confab call on Text Talk Act! From 2-3pm Eastern (11-noon Pacific), we’ll be talking with NCDD members Matt Leighninger of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and Mike Smith of United Americans about this innovative project they’ve cooked up for Creating Community Solutions – the National Dialogue on Mental Health project that NCDD has been involved in with our partners NICD, Everyday Democracy, the DDC, NIFI, and AmericaSpeaks over the past year.

Text Talk Act uses text messaging to guide young people (and folks of all ages, really) through a face-to-face dialogue with 3 or 4 others on mental health.

Hip pracademics like Matt who are on the leading edge of this work call this blending “thin engagement” (texting, online ideation, etc. that is quick-and-easy but can reach the masses) with “thick engagement” (face-to-face dialogue and deliberation, which we all know takes more time and resources but has higher quality returns).  It’s important for all of us to consider how we can use online and mobile technology to support face-to-face engagement, and learning the ins-and-outs of this project will help you consider the possibilities.

Read the full announcement about tomorrow’s confab here, or go ahead and sign up now…

Sorry - this event is over so the form has been closed. Peruse the posts at http://ncdd.org/tag/confab-archives to access archives from our confab calls and tech tuesdays.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Civilizing Online Discourse by Expanding “Like” Button Options?

If you were wondering with us recently about how online comments sections can be made more civil, we encourage you to check out a savvy new tool that our organizational partners at Public Agenda are experimenting with. PA has embedded a “reader reaction button” – an evolutionary leap forward from Facebook’s “like” button – into their site that allows readers to react in multiple, nuanced ways to almost any part of an article or comment.

With reactions such as “respectfully disagree” and “not the whole story” available for users to express how they feel about specific content, this new tool could be a game changer for online dialogue. You can read about the new tool below or try it yourself by visiting PA’s original post here. And you really should try it because, we have to say, it’s really cool!


PublicAgenda-logoWith the arrival of spring, we’re trying a fresh approach to the way you can interact with our online content.

We believe that engaging with fair-minded perspectives that we may not agree with is good for democracy. This practice helps us break out of a simplistic “for or against” framework toward an issue and come to a rounder comprehension of the issue and approaches to resolving it.

Unfortunately, the civil exchange of opposing perspectives is hard to find on the Internet, where interaction feels like the Wild West. Inherent anonymity doesn’t help, and neither does the click-bait game. Conflict, after all, is newsworthy. (This is something we certainly struggle with here!) All of this animosity on the Internet could actually be doing some real damage.

We may view rude Internet behavior as inevitable, but civil Internet discourse that is also click-friendly IS possible. The Engaging News Project, out of the University of Texas, is demonstrating how. (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Review of Rosa Zubizarreta’s New Book, “From Conflict to Creative Collaboration”

We are happy to share the post below from NCDD organizational member Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute, which came via our great Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

I just finished reading NCDD member Rosa Zubizarreta’s new book From Conflict to Creative Collaboration: A User’s Guide to Dynamic Facilitation. I’m quite excited. I’ve known about “DF” for fifteen years, and I’ve never seen it described as clearly and compellingly as in this book.

It’s an oddity: DF generates a remarkably effective creative group conversation whose nonlinearity makes it seem very peculiar indeed. Many NCDD practitioners have found it hard to grasp or turn away from those who unduly evangelize it. But I want to say that it is definitely worth checking out – and that finally we have a book that makes real sense of it without overselling it and with good attention to contextualizing it within the larger field of group process.

Furthermore, like many other excellent books focused on one process (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

CM Call on Sustaining Neighborhoods this Thurs.

Our organizational partners at CommunityMatters are hosting another one of their great capacity building calls this Thursday, April 10th, from 4-5pm EST. NCDD is a partner in the CommunityMatters collaboration, and we encourage you to hop on the call and learn with us.

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This month, the call is focused on Building and Sustaining Vital Neighborhoods. This month’s call will feature insights about neighborhood building from Felisa Conner, manager Garland, Texas’ Office of Neighborhood Vitality and Scott LeMay, Councilman in Garland, Texas and Former President of the Camelot Neighborhood Association. CM describes the call this way:

Think about a neighborhood you just love. What is it that makes it feel so welcoming, so inspired, or so vibrant? The best neighborhoods make greatness seem effortless, but what you don’t see is that behind the scenes, a lot of hard work and dedication is going into sustaining a strong place.

What does it take for your neighborhood to achieve greatness, for residents to act neighborly and work together to achieve shared goals?

On the next CommunityMatters® conference call, Felisa Conner of the Office of Neighborhood Vitality in Garland, Texas will join us to talk about building and sustaining vital neighborhoods. We’ll also hear from Councilman Scott LeMay of Garland, a graduate of the city’s Neighborhood Management Academy and former President of the Camelot Neighborhood Association. Felisa and Councilman LeMay will share tools and strategies for neighborhood management – ways to foster collaboration and build capacity to develop and realize neighborhood vision and goals.

If you are you ready to learn about strengthening your neighborhood, then make sure to register today for the conference call. We hope to hear you then!

As always, CM created an insightful blog piece to prime our thinking before the call. You can read it below or find the original post here.


Don Your Cardigan, It’s Time for Us All to Be a Little More Like Mr. Rogers (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Call for Papers for Journal of Dialogue Studies 2:2

We hope you’ll take a moment to read the post below about a great opportunity, which came from NCDD member Frances Sleap of Dialogue Society via our Submit-to-Blog Form. Do you have news you want to share with the NCDD network? Just click here to submit your news post for the NCDD Blog!

In November this blog (to the delight of its editorial team here at the Dialogue Society) announced the launch of the Journal of Dialogue Studies. The Journal aims to promote in-depth academic exploration and evaluation of the theory and practice of dialogue. We hope it will be directly useful not only to scholars and students but also to professionals and practitioners working in different contexts at various cultural interfaces. The first issue is available to download free here.

The peer review process for the second issue is now in full swing and we look forward to the publication of that issue in May. Our editorial board is growing; most lately we were proud to welcome Prof. Ronald Arnett of Duquesne University, a real authority on theories of dialogue.

We are now calling for papers for the third issue, volume 2, issue 2. We warmly invite you to consider submitting a paper if (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

NCDD 2014 conference topic: The business of D&D

NCDD organizational member Tim Bonnemann, founder of Intellitics, shared his thoughts via our great Submit-to-Blog Form on our recent effort to get your input on this year’s NCDD conference, and we are happy to share them.


Well, that was fun. Last month, NCDD asked their community and the world to share ideas for this year’s conference. Using an online ideation tool called Codigital, more than one hundred contributors suggested, refined and ranked nearly as many ideas over the course of ten days (see full results here).

Reading through the list of ideas, I couldn’t help but notice that almost half of them deal with what I like to refer to as the business side of D&D. Taken together, they all appear to address the fundamental question of how to make a living doing this work, whether as individual practitioners or the field as a whole.

Here are the five business-related themes that caught my eye: (more…)

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