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From the CommunityFrom the Community

Two Opportunities to Learn about Civic Health in July

As we get back into the swing after a weekend about expressing civic pride, we want to share an invitation to talk about strengthening national civic health efforts that comes from the Davenport Institute – an NCDD member organization. Check out their announcement below on two upcoming webinars on civic health and civic renewal that will feature NCDD supporting member Peter Levine, or read the original Davenport blog post by clicking here.

NCoC: Civic Health Webinar

DavenportInst-logoJoin the discussion! For the better part of a decade the Davenport Institute has been a proud partner of the National Conference on Citizenship (NCoC) as a California Civic Health partner.  We worked with them to publish the California Civic Health Index (2010), Golden Governance (2012), and several infographic pieces on the state of engagement in California.

NCoC is hosting an open webinar conversation to individuals and organizations interested in learning more about and getting more involved in Civic Health in their home state or community.  Next month NCoC will be hosting two webinar conversations: one on July 11 and one on July 14.

You can find out more and register online at the NCoC website here.

You can find the original version of this post from the Davenport Institute’s inCommon blog at http://incommon.pepperdine.edu/2016/07/ncoc-civic-health-webinar.

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Recap of Our Tech Tuesday Event with Trusted Sharing

We had another fantastic Tech Tuesday event earlier this week with the team from Trusted Sharing. The webinar featured NCDD member Duncan Work, founder and CEO of Trusting Sharing, and Ruth Backstrom, Director of Marketing and Outreach who walked participants through an in-depth demonstration of the features and capabilities of their asynchronous conversation platform.

The walk through was hugely informative, and it was clear to all of us how helpful a tool like Trusted Sharing can be to folks working not just on planning, engagement, and decision making processes, but also in classrooms, organizations, and all manner of other collaborative endeavors. We got to ask Duncan and Ruth specific questions about Trusted Sharing’s functionalities and the case studies we explored, and heard a bit more about their next steps in rolling the tool out. It was a wonderful call!

If you missed out on the call and still want to see and hear the presentation, then we encourage you to check out the recording of this Tech Tuesday call by clicking here.

The Trusted Sharing team is still developing and refining the tool, and since NCDD’s member network is such a rich repository of knowledge and expertise, they created a special Trusted Sharing conversation page where NCDDers are invited to offer input and suggestions to the TS team about templates for conversations based on method and process you use. So we encourage NCDDers to visit www.trustedsharing.com/ncdd to continue the conversation from the call, ask more questions, and offer your professional feedback on the Trusted Sharing tool.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeThanks again to Duncan, Ruth, and everyone who participated in the call for an engaging and educational event!

To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

IF Library Dialogue Pilot Program Seeks Midwest Partners

In case you missed it, we wanted to share an announcement that the Interactivity Foundation – an NCDD organizational member – shared last month about a program they’re piloting with local libraries to host community discussions on important issues. IF is looking for help connecting with more of these key infrastructures for supporting our field’s work, and we encourage NCDDers to help if you can. You can read more in the IF blog post below or find the original here.

Library Partnership Program

In partnership with a few, select local libraries in Wisconsin, the Interactivity Foundation is developing a pilot program to support community-based discussions. Under this initiative, the Foundation will work with participating libraries to:

  • Plan and facilitate an initial or demonstration discussion on a topic of local interest and/or concern,
  • Train interested staff, volunteers, or other community members to organize and facilitate future discussions, and
  • Provide on a continuing basis thereafter additional discussion materials and consultation to support partner libraries and local facilitators in organizing and facilitating ongoing discussion programs in their communities.

Based on the experience gained from this pilot program and its library partners, the Foundation will develop this initiative further and, if promising, may expand it to other regions.

The Foundation is now in the planning stages of this initiative and working to identify yet a few interested library programs and communities in Wisconsin and the upper Midwest that could be effective partners in this effort. If you would like more information about this pilot program, please contact IF Fellow & Projects Administrator Pete Shively.

You can find the original version of this Interactivity Foundation blog piece at www.interactivityfoundation.org/library-partnership-program.

From the CommunityFrom the Community

First Comprehensive Analysis of PB in N. America Released

We want to draw our NCDD members’ attention to some of the work done by the team at Public Agenda – one of our NCDD member organizations. PA recently completed the first-ever comprehensive analysis of participatory budgeting processes in N. America, and the report they released is a fabulous tool for understanding and promoting PB. It’s full of insightful findings and poses important questions for going forward. We encourage you to read their summary below or find more from PA’s website here.

Public Spending, By the People

PublicAgenda-logoFrom 2014 to 2015, more than 70,000 residents across the United States and Canada directly decided how their cities and districts should spend nearly $50 million in public funds through a process known as participatory budgeting (PB). PB is among the fastest growing forms of public engagement in local governance, having expanded to 46 communities in the U.S. and Canada in just 6 years.

PB is a young practice in the U.S. and Canada. Until now, there’s been no way for people to get a general understanding of how communities across the U.S. implement PB, who participates, and what sorts of projects get funded. Our report, “Public Spending, By the People” offers the first-ever comprehensive analysis of PB in the U.S. and Canada.

Here’s a summary of what we found:

Overall, communities using PB have invested substantially in the process and have seen diverse participation. But cities and districts vary widely in how they implemented their processes, who participated and what projects voters decided to fund. Officials vary in how much money they allocate to PB and some communities lag far behind in their representation of lower-income and less educated residents.

The data in this report came from 46 different PB processes across the U.S. and Canada. The report is (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Don’t Miss the June Tech Tuesday Call with Trusted Sharing!

We want remind our network that time is running out to register for NCDD’s June Tech Tuesday event this Tuesday, June 28th from 12-1pm Eastern/9-10am Pacific. This time, our webinar will the Trusted Sharing tech tool – a free, asynchronous platform for hosting online conversation using facilitation methods such as World Café, TOP, and Open Space – and you won’t want to miss it!

We will be joined on the call by NCDD member Duncan Work, founder and CEO of Trusting Sharing, as well as Ruth Backstrom, the Director of Marketing and Outreach. Duncan and Ruth will give participants an overview of the tool, walk us through how it can be used in a few case studies, and talk about their collaborations with thought leaders, educators, nonprofits, businesses, and more.

We’re confident that our members will find Trusted Sharing’s platform useful because there already are NCDDers using it! Here’s what NCDD member Rosa Zubizarreta of DiaPraxis had to say about her experience with Trusted Sharing:

I’ve been using Trusted Sharing for the last nine months, as part of a mastermind group I initiated to create a stronger community of practice among those drawn to Tom Atlee’s co-intelligence work. Our main intention with Trusted Sharing was to have a place for online conversation before and after each of our video conference sessions. This tool offered a space where we could prepare in advance for each session, as well as continue our conversations afterward. We now have a rich repository we can continue to harvest, as each person moves forward with their individual projects, enriched by the input and perspectives of our learning community.

For more info on this impressive tool, you can peruse this overview – or you can just register today for this Tech Tuesday event! It’s going to be a wonderful opportunity, and we look forward to hearing you all on the call.


NCDD Resources for Responding to the Orlando Shooting

In the wake of the awful attacks in Orlando, it can be hard to know what to say or even how and when to begin a conversation. But as people who work in dialogue, many of us have been and will be called upon or feel compelled to help grieving, angry, and fearful communities talk with each other about what happened, about our differences, and about where we can go from here.

To try to help those wanting and needing to start these conversations, we wanted to share a few helpful links to items from our NCDD Resource Center that are relevant places to start. There is no resource we can link you to that tailored to a tragedy so visceral and complex, but we hope that reviewing this list will at least give you some direction.

Places to look

There are many layers to unpacking the Orlando shooting: sexual orientation, race, guns, religion, and more. So we suggest that you start by looking at the tags in our resource center that have to do with those topics. You can look at:

We also recommend you use the search feature in the resource center to query specific topics you want to find resources on. Especially since (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Bridging Our Divides on Criminal Justice Reform

As we look toward NCDD’s 2016 national conference on Bridging Our Divides, we want to lift up stories of D&D projects that are actively showing how people can work together across huge differences, and NCDD member organization Living Room Conversations is a powerful example of that kind of work.  We wanted to share a recent article from their blog about the change LRC has brought to the criminal justice reform conversation, and we encourage you to read it below or find the original here.

Living Room Conversations & Criminal Justice Reform


Critics of dialogue often ask, “what’s the point of talking?  It’s not like it’s going to change anything, right?”

In January of 2013, a Living Room Conversation took place between Joan Blades, co-founder of MoveOn and Mark Meckler co-founder of Tea Party Patriots.  After being surprised to discover how much they all agreed about criminal justice reform, Joan and Living Room Conversations partners decided to make this topic a priority in future efforts.

Front page coverage of the conversation between Joan and Mark led to a grant from California Endowment to organize Living Room Conversations about realignment (a change in CA prison policy that keeps non-serious offenders in county)  and community safety.  Those California conversations have prompted further conversations in Portland and Kansas City.

In 2013, Joan and Mark were invited to speak together on stage at (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

Are Relationships the Real Product of Deliberation?

Last week, NCDD supporting member Peter Levine shared the message below on the NCDD discussion listserv summarizing some key lessons from a book review he wrote of two recent books authored by NCDD members Caroline W. Lee and Josh Lerner. Peter argues that a key contribution of public deliberation lies in bolstering capacity for engaging in “relational politics” – not necessarily democracy or deliberation. We encourage you to can read his insightful piece below, find his original blog summary here, or read his full review article here.

Saving Relational Politics

In the June edition of Perspectives on Politics, I have an article entitled “Saving Relational Politics“* I review Caroline W. Lee’s Do-It-Yourself Democracy: The Rise of the Public Engagement Industry and Josh Lerner’s Making Democracy Fun: How Game Design Can Empower Citizens and Transform Politics and I advance an argument of my own.

I argue that what’s most valuable about activities like public deliberations, planning exercises, and Participatory Budgeting is not actually “deliberative democracy.” Neither political equality (democracy) nor reasonable discussion about decisions (deliberation) are essential to these activities. Instead, they are forms of relational politics, in which people “make decisions or take actions knowing something about one another’s ideas, preferences, and interests.” That makes them akin to practices like one-on-one interviews in community organizing or Augusto Boal’s Theater of the Oppressed.

Relational politics has disadvantages and limitations – it’s not all that we need – but it is an essential (more…)

From the CommunityFrom the Community

5 Chances to Deliberate Online with NCDD Member Orgs

Attention civic tech geeks and newbies alike! This month, there will be several opportunities to participate in online deliberative forums about how we can tackle major issues facing our society. If you’ve never had the chance to participate in an online deliberation, we highly recommend you take advantage of the chance to participate in one of these upcoming events!

There are three great NCDD organizational members hosting forums this month. The Kettering Foundation (KF) and National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) are teaming up to host four forums using Common Ground for Action (CGA), the great new civic tech tool that they partnered to create. And Intellitics is hosting a special week-long deliberation using their text-based deliberation platform, Zilino.

All of these forums will be using NIFI’s expertly-made issue guides to help participants walk through deliberation about major decisions related to immigration, economic inequality, and health care. The dates, topics, and registration links to all five online deliberative forums are below. You can learn more about the NIFI/KF forums in the NIFI blog post here and about the Intellitics forum here.

We hope to “see” many of you later this month at one or more of these online events: (more…)

NCDD EventsNCDD Events

Super Early Bird Registration for NCDD2016 Ends TODAY!

We wanted to post a reminder for you all that, as we mentioned previously, our “Super Early Bird” discount rate on registration for NCDD 2016 ends today!

bumper_sticker_600pxToday is the last day to save $100 on registering for one of the premier learning and networking events for our field! This is the last time that you’ll be able to take advantage of the lower registration rate and lock in your spot with 400+ leaders, innovators, and practitioners in dialogue and deliberation as we work, vision, and learn together about Bridging Our Divides this October 14th-16th in the Boston metro area – don’t miss it!

You can learn much more about this year’s national conference at www.ncdd.org/ncdd2016, and register today at www.ncdd2016.eventbrite.com to take advantage of the Super Early Bird rate.

Want to get a better sense of what our conferences are like? Check out the Storify page the features great pictures and comments about our 2014 conference by clicking here.

Also, don’t forget that our call for NCDD2016 session proposals is open! You can learn more about what we’re looking for by clicking here or find the application here.