D&D Success Stories
Below are dozens of links to dialogue and deliberation success stories and case studies that are available online. Approaches covered include Deliberative Polling, Citizens Juries, Future Search, National Issues Forums, Jewish-Palestinian Dialogue, AmericaSpeaks, Study Circles, the Public Conversations Project, and Wisdom Councils. NCDD has been compiling these resources for the D&D community for several years, but we could really use your help keeping this page updated. Email us with your additions and changes.
Civic Practices Network website – Topics Section
Click on any of the following topics to find detailed case studies of civic engagement efforts in these areas: Community, Environment, Youth & Education, Health, Civic Communication, Religion, Families, Gender, & Children, and Work & Empowerment.
Len and Libby Traubman of the longstanding San Mateo Jewish-Palestinian Living Room Dialogue, have compiled hundreds of reports about successful Palestinian-Jewish relationship-building activities.
National Issues Forums
NIF Reports on the Issues
Periodically reports are published to communicate the outcomes of forums held across the nation about a particular issue. Making use of participants’ answers to Forum Questionnaires, reports from moderators, and in-depth studies of selected forums, these reports describe in some detail what happened as people deliberated about the issue at hand. www.nifi.org/reports/issues.aspx
NIF Reports from the Forums
Individuals and groups that convene forums, or series of forums, sometimes submit various kinds of reports about their forums including such things as what happened at the forums, and any outcomes that might have been identified from the deliberations. www.nifi.org/reports/forums.aspx
NIF Network Reports
These reports contain information about various aspects of the NIF network; including studies or reports about deliberative forums projects, or about characteristics of the NIF network itself. www.nifi.org/reports/network.aspx
The Jefferson Center developed the Citizens Jury process in 1974. Since then, the Center has conducted 31 Citizens Jury projects, addressing a wide range of local, state, and national issues. Each project is described briefly, and includes a statement about outcomes. Link
Projects and News Worldwide
On this page, the Jefferson Center will provide news about Citizens Jury projects and related developments worldwide.Link
Future Search Stories from Around the World
Future search is used on every continent and in many different cultures. Neutral concepts like past, present, future, common ground and action provide a big empty vessel into which people, regardless of culture, pour their many realities. www.futuresearch.net/method/applications/world.cfm
Applications in Sectors
Future searches affect every part of society – social, economic and technical. Future Search Network is an active participant in many sectors (Communities, Higher Ed, Healthcare, Government, etc.), and they have provided brief descriptions of their successes in each. www.futuresearch.net/method/applications/index.cfm
Innovations in Democracy: An Evaluation of the Rogue Valley Wisdom Council
A research paper by Elliot David Shuford. www.wisedemocracy.org/papers/InnovinDemocracyRVWC.pdf
Jim Rough’s report on Pleasantville Wisdom Council
Consultant Nancy Rosanoff encouraged the town council of Pleasantville, NY to begin a Wisdom Council process beginning in the fall of 2001. During Nov 15-16, 2002 the second cycle was held. www.wisedemocracy.org/papers/Pleasantvilleletter.html
Dabbling in Democracy
No one knew what to expect when a Chinese town tried listening to its people. Deliberative Poll facilitates a participatory approach to Chinese politics. By Susan Jakes/Zaguo. Time Magazine, April 25, 2005. http://cdd.stanford.edu/press/2005/timeasia-dabbling.pdf
Deliberative Polling: Toward a Better-Informed Democracy
Professor James Fishkin gives an executive summary of Deliberative Polling® and reviews the results of polls conducted in Britain, Australia, Denmark, and in the US. http://cdd.stanford.edu/polls/docs/summary/
By the People: Americas Role in the World
The Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University and MacNeil/Lehrer Productions have conducted a number of deliberative polls on the issue of U.S. foreign policy.
Online “Deliberative Poll” Gives Picture of Informed Public Opinion in Election
In a unique national experiment, a scientific sample of voters nationwide participated in weekly small group discussions to become more informed about the issues in the Presidential election. http://cdd.stanford.edu/polls/btp/2004/onlinedp-release.pdf
“Deliberative Poll” Shows Americans’ Views on Iraq, Trade
Participants expressed their views in a unique experiment in civic dialogue that took place in 10 American communities. http://cdd.stanford.edu/polls/btp/2004/btp/index.html
First Online Deliberative Poll Reveals Informed Opinions on World Problems
Press Release. http://cdd.stanford.edu/polls/btp/index.html
The Nebraska Public Power District utilizes Deliberative Polling to gauge customer support for Renewable Energy
Between 1996 and 1998, eight Texas electric utilities polled their customers to determine what energy options they preferred to meet future electric requirements. The Deliberative Polls® combined telephone surveys with town meetings where customers learned more about energy choices and discussed energy issues with each other and with panels of experts. After deliberating, they responded to the initial survey again, this time on the basis of their informed opinions. Customers changed their opinions substantially based on the information they gained during the town meetings. The results were unanticipated by either the utilities or their regulators; both entities changed their level of interest in and commitment to renewables and efficiency as a result of what they heard from customers. Listening to Customers: How Deliberative Polling Helped Build 1,000 MW of New Renewable Energy Projects in Texas — National Renewable Energy Laboratory http://cdd.stanford.edu/polls/energy/2003/renewable_energy.pdf
What Democracy Looks Like Story Series
This series of compelling booklets by journalist Julie Fanselow that tells the stories of people who are using study circles in places like Springfield, Illinois and Kuna, Idaho to create real change in their communities. www.studycircles.org/en/Brochures.aspx
Many other study circle success stories are posted at www.studycircles.org/en/Stories.aspx
Roundtables: A New Way for a Town and its Residents to Work Together
For years, residents of East Hampton, Connecticut, were in gridlock over the town budget. But things are changing in East Hampton. For the second year in a row, the town is giving residents a real voice in the decision-making process.
The Color of Understanding
It all started with one black man and one white man thinking it was a good idea. In the winter of 2000 Charles Harrison, senior pastor of Barnes United Methodist Church, and Kent Millard, senior pastor of St. Luke’s United Methodist Church, formed a partnership for the purpose of bringing diversity to each other’s programming.
‘Family Circles’ build vital neighborhoods in Indianapolis
Neighborhoods in Indianapolis, Ind., have become much more than bricks and mortar after participating in a project called “Family Circles.” Residents have had the chance to voice their views and solve neighborhood problems. In the process, they’ve built relationships, exchanged ideas and taken action.
Portsmouth, N.H.-Where public dialogue is the hallmark of community life
Middle school bullying. Elementary school overcrowding. City master planning. Read how this town used dialogue to find solutions to these challenges in the Summer 2003 issue of Focus on Study Circles.
Combating Racism on Campus: Study Circles at the University of Kentucky
David Stockham, the former Dean of Students at the U. of Kentucky, discusses the benefits of using study circles to address racism on college campuses.
The Legacy of McKinley Nash
Study circles help the Inglewood Unified School District face the challenges of urban education.
Round Table Democracy in Decatur, Georgia
Residents find an innovative way to address a variety of community challenges — from education to race relations.
Public Conversations Project
PCP has added “personal stories” to their website to give you a sense for how some people have used PCP’s dialogue approach to address conflicts in their communities. The stories can be found at www.publicconversations.org/pcp/page.php?id=210&catid=66
Here are some other cases…
From Stuck Debate to New Conversation on Controversial Issues: A Report from the Public Conversations Project
By Carol Becker, Laura Chasin, Richard Chasin, Margaret Herzig, and Sallyann Roth. Co-published in the Journal of Feminist Therapy vol. 7, Haworth Press (1995): 143-163. And in Cultural Resistance: Challenging Beliefs About Men, Women, and Therapy, edited by Kathy Weingarten, 143-163. Harrington Park Press, 1995. This article presents four guiding objectives of the Project’s work and describes practices that support each of those objectives, drawing case examples from our introductory dialogues on abortion. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?res_id=69
Speaking the Unspoken: A Work-Group Consultation to Reopen Dialogue
By Sallyann Roth. Published in Secrets in Families and Family Therapy, edited by Evan Imber-Black, Chapter 14: 268-291. New York: W.W. Norton, 1993. This chapter describes a consultation to staff members at a mental health agency who two years earlier had experienced a divisive incident that had been talked about only in small subgroups and remained unresolved. This incident involved comments made by straight staff that were hurtful to gay and lesbian staff. The author describes the planning and implementation of a day long workshop in which participants constructively surfaced what had been silent or hushed through a role-play and other exercises. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?res_id=83
Creating Conditions for Dialogue on the Abortion Issue: A Report from the Public Conversations Project
By Sallyann Roth, Carol Becker, Margaret Herzig, Laura Chasin, and Richard Chasin. Published in Ki Notes, a publication of Aiki Works Inc., edited by Judith Warner, vol. 4, no. 4 (October 1992): 3-4. This newsletter article briefly describes PCP’s early work on developing a model for single-session introductory dialogues with small groups of people who self-described as prochoice or prolife on the abortion issue. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?res_id=90
Abortion Dialogues (1989-2002)
PCP’s dialogue work with Prochoice and Prolife activists and others began in 1989. Since then, we have planned, convened and facilitated specific abortion dialogues such as the 7-year Boston Prochoice Prolife Leaders Dialogue (http://www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=97)
Sexuality and the Anglican Communion (1997-2002)
A 1997 pilot dialogue series in the Massachusetts Episcopal Church ultimately led to a series of retreats involving Anglican bishops from five continents. Both a summary of this project and the Bishops’ final report and recommendations are available. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=99
Exploring Conflicts about Sexuality in Communities of Faith (2000-2002)
In the fall of 2000, the Public Conversations Project (PCP) began an exploration of conflicts related to homosexuality within a variety of faith communities in the U.S. We sought to learn what the divisive issues are, how they have been engaged, what the impacts of related conflicts have been, and what approaches and responses have been fruitful and effective. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=167
Maine Forest Biodiversity Project (1994-1998)
This project arose in 1994 as stakeholders in Maine’s forests witnessed with interest and dismay the angry and even violent confrontations that were taking place in the Pacific Northwest among loggers, U.S. Forest Service personnel, environmental activists, legislators, local townspeople and others. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=104
Northern Forest Dialogue Project (1994-1996)
This project, facilitated by PCP and consultant Grady McGonagill, consisted of a series of retreats and meetings that involved people from the timber industry, environmental organizations, local government officials and community groups. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=98
Population and Development Dialogue (1993-1994)
In 1993 we were asked to convene and facilitate a series of meetings to foster dialogue among funders and NGO leaders concerned with population, the environment, and women’s health. The goal of this project was to address concerns that leaders in these three activist networks were experiencing significant strains among themselves that were limiting their individual and collective abilities to play a positive role in preparing for the UN Conference on Population and Development (UNDP) in Cairo in 1994. www.publicconversations.org/pcp/resource_details.php?ref_id=101
Listening to the City
In 2002, AmericaSpeaks was honored with the responsibility of providing thousands of New Yorkers a meaningful voice in the process of rebuilding the World Trade Center site. All aspects of the rebuilding effort were unprecedented in scope, complexity, and emotion.
Soon after the attacks, stark differences over the future of the site began to divide family members of victims, business leaders and residents. Civic leaders and members of the general public feared that business and political interests would prevail unless a broad public consensus emerged and shaped the redevelopment effort. To address this need, the Civic Alliance to Rebuild Downtown New York asked AmericaSpeaks to develop a project that would transcend these differences and provide decision makers with areas of agreement about the redevelopment of the site.
To help city leaders develop a consensus, AmericaSpeaks designed and facilitated Listening to the City, a groundbreaking citizen engagement effort conducted between February and July 2002 that included two 21st Century Town MeetingsTM and a two-week online dialogue. www.americaspeaks.org/resources/library/as/about/listening_to_the_city_21stCTM.pdf
In addition, the 24-page final report for Listening to the City can be downloaded at www.americaspeaks.org/resources/library/as/project_files/ltc/final_report_ltc2.pdf
Americans Discuss Social Security
AmericaSpeaks introduced its innovative approach to citizen engagement as part of the Americans Discuss Social Security (ADSS) project in 1998. ADSS, a nonpartisan effort funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts, directly engaged Americans of all walks of life in the dialogue about Social Security reform and urged Congress to support legislation that reflected citizen preferences.
ADSS demonstrated the value of citizen voices and the positive impact citizen deliberation can have on public decision making. Although Congress was not able to agree upon a reform package, the outcomes of the deliberation altered the perception of what the public would and would not accept. Furthermore, the ADSS methods revealed that citizen deliberation efforts can re-connect decision makers and constituents, break the deadlock created by special interests, and educate thousands of citizens on important public matters.
In addition, the 16-page final report for Americans Discuss Social Security can be downloaded at www.americaspeaks.org/resources/library/as/project_files/adss/adss_final_report.pdf
Washington Post Article on Citizens Summit III
Keypads in Hand, Citizens Sound Off On D.C. Problems; Housing, Schools, Crime on the List. Manny Fernandez. The Washington Post. Washington, D.C.: Nov 16, 2003. City officials have described the series of summits as the country’s largest ongoing town meeting. The purpose of the sessions is to give residents the chance to help shape D.C. government policies. City officials said the input from yesterday’s summit will directly influence the District’s annual spending priorities, and the feedback also will be used to develop the citywide strategic plan. The summit highlighted the concerns of residents in various areas. The number one educational priority selected by attendees was making schools safer, while the top public safety concern was reforming the juvenile justice system.
In addition, the 3-page preliminary report for Citizens Summit III can be downloaded at www.americaspeaks.org/resources/library/as/project_files/csiii/csiii_prelim_report.pdf
Neighborhood Action Initiative: Engaging Citizens in Real Change
This chapter by William R. Potapchuk in the Collaborative Leadership Fieldbook provides an overview of the Neighborhood Action Initiative in Washington, D.C., which has perhaps engaged more citizens at one time than any other collaborative initiative. www.americaspeaks.org/resources/library/as/pubs/coll_leadership_potap_1103.pdf
Compiled by the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) (2005)