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The Deliberative Mapping Approach

This 4-page publication (2004) describes the “Deliberative Mapping” approach and how it could be used to foster more productive discussions between specialists and members of the public about complex policy issues where there is no obvious way forward. Though it only appears to have been tried once, Deliberative Mapping was a methodology that could be applied to a problem to judge how well different courses of action perform according to a set of economic, social, ethical and scientific criteria. The aim was to use the approach […] (continue)

Trainer’s Manual: Getting the Most from a Collaborative Process

This Manual from the Policy Consensus Institute contains the essential information for training leaders from agencies and organizations interested in learning more about how to use collaborative processes to address public issues. These materials are practical and problem-centered, designed to capitalize on people’s experience and to help them integrate new ideas with their existing knowledge. They are presented in eight modules, each module covering an aspect of the “best practices” for sponsoring, organizing, and conducting a collaborative governance process. Each module includes descriptions of key […] (continue)

A Practical Guide to Collaborative Governance

This 62-page step-by-step handbook from the Policy Consensus Institute walks readers through the stages of sponsoring,convening, organizing, and participating in a public policy collaborative process. Designed primarily for elected and appointed government officials and civic leaders, the guide also is useful for those who provide leaders with the staff assistance, facilitation services, and support they need to employ these approaches effectively. The Practical Guide was developed and written by Chris Carlson, founding director of PCI and a leading authority on consensus building in the public […] (continue)

The Transpartisan Listserv

The Transpartisan Listserv was launched in March 2014 by the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, Mediators Foundation, and over a dozen co-founders who are leaders in political bridge building work. The purpose of this moderated listserv is to introduce potential colleagues to one another, to expand our knowledge of transpartisan theory and practice, and to showcase ongoing activity in the transpartisan field. Our goal is to provide a simple, safe communication channel where individuals and organizations that are active in this boundary-crossing work can connect […] (continue)

Playing for the Public Good: The Arts in Planning and Government

Arts and culture play a crucial role in increasing, diversifying, and sustaining public participation, navigating contentious issues, and fostering productive public dialogue and decision making. In 2013, Animating Democracy, a program of Americans for the Arts, published Playing for the Public Good: The Arts in Planning and Government – a trend paper that highlights a wide range of arts and culture-based projects or programs that broaden participation and deepen meaning beyond typical planning processes and/or governmental systems and structures. When governmental and civic entities employ the arts to engage people in public processes, […] (continue)

Community Rhythms: Five Stages of Community Life

Communities have rhythms to them that we must come to understand so that our approaches, programs and initiatives — and the building of public capital — work with those rhythms, take advantage of them, even accelerate them. This 1999 report from the Harwood Institute describes five stages of community life: The Waiting Place, Impasse, Catalytic, Growth, and Sustain and Renew. According to the Harwood Institute, while a community can accelerate its movement through the Stages of Community Life, it cannot violate, or simply pass over, […] (continue)

Making Public Participation Legal

Most of the laws that govern public participation in the U.S. are over thirty years old. They do not match the expectations and capacities of citizens today, they pre-date the Internet, and they do not reflect the lessons learned in the last two decades about how citizens and governments can work together. Increasingly, public administrators and public engagement practitioners are hindered by the fact that it’s unclear if many of the best practices in participation are even allowed by the law. Making Public Participation Legal, […] (continue)

Challenges to Democracy Public Dialogue Series and Blog

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government advances excellence and innovation in governance and public policy through research, education, and public discussion. One of its three major programs is the Program on Democratic Governance, which researches those practices that resolve urgent social problems in developed and developing societies. In honor of its 10th anniversary, the Ash Center launched a public dialogue series named Challenges to Democracy. Through a series of events with scholars, policymakers, journalists, and artists, the […] (continue)

Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better

In November 2013, Monitor Institute and the Foundation Center released a new report called Harnessing Collaborative Technologies: Helping Funders Work Together Better. As part of the research, we looked at more than 170 different technological tools now available to funders, dove deeply into the literature on philanthropic collaboration, analyzed the results of recent Foundation Center surveys, and spoke with a wide range of experts from the worlds of both technology and philanthropy. The Harnessing Collaborative Technologies report helps readers make sense of the dizzying array of technologies that are now […] (continue)

Integrating News Media, Citizen Engagement, and Digital Platforms Towards Democratic Ends

This 5-page AmericaSpeaks report examines how we might use new forms of media, digital platforms, and citizen engagement principles to reengage the center and those who have turned out due to apathy and disgust. The report discusses some of the issues that need to be considered to bring the power of new technology and the digital world to the complexity of media, citizen engagement, and politics.  What needs to happen in today’s new news space to prevent many of the same structures of inequity, exclusion, and […] (continue)

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