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Report from NCDD 2008: Systems Challenge

At the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we focused on 5 challenges identified by participants at our past conferences as being vitally important for our field to address. This is one in a series of five posts featuring the final reports from our “challenge leaders.”

Systems Challenge: Making dialogue and deliberation integral to our systems

Most civic experiments in the last decade have been temporary organizing efforts that don’t lead to structured long-term changes in the way citizens and the system interact. How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, organizations, etc. so that our methods of involving people, solving problems, and making decisions happen more predictably and naturally?

Challenge Leaders:
Will Friedman, Chief Operating Officer of Public Agenda
Matt Leighninger, Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Report on the Systems Challenge:

Although no formal report was submitted, Will and Matt identified the following as common themes that emerged in this challenge area:

  • the recognition that this work is (and must be) action-oriented
  • the recognition that all of us (not just government) can be public problem-solvers (that we need to further develop the concept of policy with a small ‘p’)
  • that these must be non-ideological/neutral arenas
  • that we need to start with increased collaboration among the ‘involvers’
  • that there are traditions to draw on to learn about embedding, such as New England town meetings
  • that there are government agencies that are committed to embedding
  • deliberative practices and are actively working on it

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