King County, Washington will be voting on a groundbreaking initiative in November 2007. Initiative 24 creates a Citizen Councilor Network open to every citizen in the county. It establishes a feedback communication system owned by the people where small groups in homes or workplaces can share opinions on public issues with results posted on a Forum Foundation website for reflection by officials, government staff, news media, and citizens. The program is self-funded (no taxes) and administered by the County Auditor. If passed, King County will be the first government in the world to use the Forum Foundation’s new Algorithmic Resonance Social Technology. To learn more, visit Sandy’s summary in NCDD’s Learning Exchange here. Or visit this initiative’s website at http://EasyCitizenInvolvement.com.
This fall, Simon Fraser University’s Undergraduate Semester in Dialogue is organized around the theme of “Adaptations to Human Environmental Impact.” This dialogue program focuses on how human beings adapt to the profound impact we are having on our planet. Environmental disruption threatens overwhelming consequences for our social and economic systems, but too often we are overwhelmed by the problems and lose sight of viable solutions. Citizens require thoughtful, confident planning and analysis to enable effective adaptation to these challenges. The Semester in Dialogue will address three major and connected themes: Climate Change, Energy, and Biodiversity, probing local to global solutions involving policy, enterprise, innovation, and life styles. For more information on the course and registration, visit www.sfu.ca/dialogue/undergrad/index.htm.
Elliot Shuford of
“On Saturday, I attended an interesting exercise in deliberative democracy. CaliforniaSpeaks drew nearly 3,500 people throughout the state to talk about health care. Eight sites were linked via satellite including Sacramento, San Diego, Eureka , Fresno, Los Angeles, San Luis Obispo, Oakland-San Francisco and Riverside-San Bernardino. The event was organized by AmericaSpeaks and backed by The California Wellness Foundation, Blue Shield of California Foundation and The California Endowment.
The goal of the event was not a “blue sky” discussion about health care, rather a focused push, to create momentum for legislative action on health care proposals that the California Speaks staff stated were the most politically feasible (AB 8 and the Governor’s plan).
CaliforniaSpeaks operated at several levels, from the mirco-level (individual small groups) to the macro-level (multiple, linked sites creating a statewide conversation). Participants sat at small tables in groups of 8-10. Each table had a facilitator and a laptop computer, and each person had their own keypad for entering personal information. Important points and ‘themes” from the conversations were typed into the laptops by a volunteer participant. That information was then sent through a network to be summarized by the “theme team” and quickly projected onto a big screen at each site. At certain points throughout the day, participants used personal keypads to enter information and vote or rank preferences on policy options.
At the micro-level, a few observers at the Los Angeles site noted the facilitation at their tables didn’t support “real dialogue” and that the format of the day didn’t force participants into considering the difficult trade offs for the policy options under consideration. Deliberation, therefore, wasn’t really happening either, they said. On the other hand, when, at the end of the day, participants were asked about whether they were satisfied and felt heard, the data clearly showed they did.
Most practitioners who are experienced in the charrette process will have heard this news from the National Charrette Institute, but it’s interesting news for the field and I thought I’d share it.
Today’s e-newsletter from the National Charrette Institute included an invitation for experienced charrette practitioners to participate in the Kiryat-Shmona, Israel charrette this December (the 2nd through 6th). This is the first full 5-day charrette in Israel, and experienced practitioners are needed to give the Israeli participants, both professionals and the public, confidence in the charrette process. This charrette is sponsored by the Movement for Israeli Urbanism.
Charrettes, in case you aren’t familiar with them, are used to involve citizens in community planning efforts. They are multi-day intensive planning workshops that include all stakeholders in a community and result in a plan that can be implemented and built. If you’re interested in getting trained to run charrettes, we’ve negotiated some great discounts with NCI for paid NCDD members.
Large group methods, virtually unknown twenty years ago, are being used world wide to address complex organizational and community issues. These large group working sessions are task focused and results oriented. They have proven to be an invaluable method for strategic planning, organization design, working specific strategic issues, process re-design and for complex projects that cross the boundaries of functions, departments and organizations. They build the indispensable relationships needed for coherence and alignment within an organization or community.
The goal of this 3-day course, titled “Master Class in Large Group Design and Facilitation for Leaders and Consultants,” is to share with you the magic of whole systems work, and equip you with the tools to design your own large group meetings whether they involve 30 people or several thousand. The course will take place October 24-26 in Stowe, Vermont.
NCDD members receive a 15% discount on this course. The fee for the seminar is $1490 ($1267 for NCDD members). Contact Ferne Kuhn at 610-725-0444 or firstname.lastname@example.org for more info on the training (or go to http://gilsteil.com/), or learn more about all the discounts we’ve negotiated for NCDD members.
Inspired by the work of NCDD, the Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation (C2D2) is holding its second conference in Vancouver, BC from November 12 – 14 2007. The theme of the conference is “managing complexity,” and panel sessions, posters and training sessions will focus on the constructive role that dialogue and deliberation can play in meeting today’s challenges. Take advantage of the Early Bird Special, now extended until August 10 and save $100 on the conference registration fee. The call for program contributions has also been extended until August 10. To register online, or find out more about program contributions, please visit: www.c2d2.ca.
There is still space available for the upcoming information session on Simon Fraser University’s Diploma in Dialogue and Negotiation. The info session will be held September 17, 2007 at the Vancouver, BC campus of Simon Fraser University. Make sure to attend this free session if you’d like to learn more about this innovative and exciting new program. Registration is required, so please email email@example.com or call 778-782-7925 to reserve a space. For more information about the Diploma program please visit: www.sfu.ca/dialogue/diploma.htm.
Registration for Fielding Graduate University’s Dialogue Deliberation and Public Engagement program closes today, August 7.
This is a highly regarded program with an excellent faculty who are practitioners that work in a broad variety of contexts and cultures. Don’t miss this chance to learn with them and stimulating colleagues from several countries. The program is a blended learning course with online face to face and phone dialogues with Guest faculty. NCDD members get a 10% discount! It starts on line August 17, 2007. For more info check http://www.fielding.edu/hod/ce/dialog/index.html. Register Today at https://www.fielding.edu/forms/ce/ce_registration.htm.
Peace Camp Canada (www.peacecampcanada.org) works to bring together exceptional Palestinian and Israeli youth (aged 16-18), for two weeks of intensive dialogue, leadership building and personal development on the grounds of St. Francis College in Nova Scotia. Peace Camp Canada is a youth for youth initiative that prides itself on the quality and scope of its facilitation, on its balanced leadership and governance structures, and on the Canadian moral and civic values it seeks to instill in its campers.
The main role of the Palestinian Dialogue Facilitator is to work in collaboration with the Israeli Dialogue Facilitator together in implementing the Peace Camp Canada dialogue facilitation curriculum that has been used in the last four camp sessions. Dialogue facilitation takes place everyday for three hours throughout the two week camp session. Main responsibilities include: (more…)
NCDD member Caroline Lee just sent us word of a recently-published article in the American Journal of Sociology – one of the discipline’s top journals! The article, based on her dissertation research, is called “Is There a Place for Private Conversation in Public Dialogue? Comparing Stakeholder Assessments of Informal Communication in Collaborative Regional Planning.” The article compares how ideals like inclusion, transparency, and social capital are interpreted very differently in two different collaborative partnerships– and explores the long-term challenges this might create for those attempting to develop formal institutions or best practices for dialogue and deliberation in local communities. It appears in volume 113, no 1 (2007) of the American Journal of Sociology, and readers can also download it from Caroline’s website: http://ww2.lafayette.edu/~anthrosoc/caroline_l.htm. Congratulations Caroline!