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The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life

Non-partisan, interdisciplinary, and written for the educated lay reader, “The Civic Imagination: Making a Difference in American Political Life,” was released by Paradigm Publishers in 2014. Written by scholars Gianpaolo Baiocchi, Elizabeth A. Bennett, Alissa Cordner, Peter Taylor Klein, and Stephanie Savell, this book is an excellent way to further a conversation about what it means to be a U.S. citizen, a skeptic, an activist, and a dreamer of a better tomorrow. The Civic Imagination is an ethnographic study of seven civic organizations in Providence, […] (continue)

Six Tools for More Effective Nonprofit Board Meetings

In this paper, Dr. Rick Lent of Brownfield & Lent provides directions for six tools that he finds particularly useful in improving the effectiveness of board meetings in nonprofit organizations. All meetings have structures that influence which participants speak, how they sit, how time is managed, how thoughts are shared, and how decisions are made. People act as they do in a given structure because that’s what makes sense to them to do—without even thinking about it. Most structures go unnoticed even as they influence the way […] (continue)

Civic Dialogues on Sustainability: Business Briefing and Best Practices Guide

Businesses have traditionally played little role in civic dialogue, but their involvement can help advance issues. The Network for Business Sustainability (NBS) has recently published two reports, written by Dr. Thomas Webler, that identify the potential for business involvement in civic dialogue. The reports are aimed at a business audience, and can serve to introduce businesses to civic dialogue concepts. We hope that they will also be useful for anyone seeking to understand business perspectives or the value of engaging businesses in dialogues.  The reports […] (continue)

Meeting for Results Tool Kit: Make Your Meetings Work

The Meeting for Results Tool Kit by Dr. Rick Lent of Brownfield & Lent provides a different approach to running effective meetings because it: Helps you structure a naturally effective meeting instead of relying on rules or norms for guiding behavior. Provides 12 clear choices and 31 supporting tools for planning, conducting and achieving results from meetings. Serves as a job aid to plan and run meetings. As an e-book you can have it with you whenever you need it. The Tool Kit is designed to help […] (continue)

Codigital

Codigital’s cloud-based tool is used by facilitators and conference organizers to engage communities and stakeholders in a simple, participant-driven process that generates ideas, insight, consensus and solutions to the issue under discussion. The tool is used in live face-to-face situations and also in 1-2 week online projects such as gaining input from attendees when planning a conference. Codigital’s tool incorporates features that (i) enable people to cross-fertilize their ideas so as to benefit from the different perspectives of the group’s members, (ii) avoid individual bias, […] (continue)

Using Dialogue Then Deliberation to Transform a Warring Leadership Team

This case study is on the use of dialogue then deliberation to transform organizational cultures. The authors are John Inman (the consultant) and Tracy A. Thompson, Ph.D. a professor at University of Washington. This case study was published in OD Practitioner in the Spring of 2013. You can reach John Inman at john@johninmandialogue.com and Tracy Thompson at tracyat@uw.edu. The new organization normal is complexity, uncertainty, and ambiguity. Old paradigms or mindsets of leadership based on positivist and linear approaches to problem solving worked well in […] (continue)

Perspectives on Theory U: Insights from the Field

In recent years, the utilization of Theory U has pushed the boundaries of traditional leadership and management thinking, making it an important aspect of change across a broad assortment of international businesses and communities. Perspectives on Theory U: Insights from the Field, edited by Olen Gunnlaugson, Charles Baron, and Mario Cayer (all of the Université Laval, Canada), brings together an existing array of research on Theory U, including specific aspects of the theory, through diverse interpretations and contexts. While exploring key theoretical concepts and outlining […] (continue)

Crime & Punishment: Imagining a Safer Future for All (IF Discussion Guide)

Crime & Punishment: Imagining a Safer Future for All  is the newest discussion guide published by the Interactivity Foundation (IF). This booklet describes five contrasting policy possibilities or frameworks for addressing concerns over the future of our criminal justice system. These concerns include both the racial inequity and the many costs of our policies of mass incarceration, the “War on Drugs”, and general get-tough-on-crime policies. (continue)

Envisioning the Role of Facilitation in Public Deliberation

This 2013 article by Kara Dillard argues that academic research has neglected a critical factor in promoting successful citizen deliberation: the facilitator. In outlining a continuum of a facilitator’s level of involvement in deliberative dialogues, the author finds that facilitators are important to the forum process. More academic investigations into facilitator actions should reveal more of the logic that turns everyday political talk into rigorously deliberative forums emphasizing quality argument and good decision-making. (continue)

The Future of Family (IF Discussion Guide)

The Future of Family, a discussion guidebook from the Interactivity Foundation (IF), examines possibilities for public policy on family life distilled from a series of small-group discussions that wrestled with a wide range of questions and concerns for the future of family, including— In a culturally diverse society, what roles should cultural heritage play in policy decisions about the family? Different cultures have different ideas about how families are formed, how big they should be, and the roles people have within them. How should we address our […] (continue)

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