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Manuals & Guides…

Discussion guides and how-to manuals related to dialogue, deliberation, public engagement and conflict resolution.

Happiness Alliance and the Gross National Happiness Index

The Happiness Alliance, home of The Happiness Initiative and Gross National Happiness (GNH) Index, is a deeply grassroots organization.  Their mission is to improve the well-being of society by reducing emphasis on economic growth and focusing on the domains that lead to life satisfaction, resilience and sustainability. Their purpose is to provide tools resources and knowledge to foster grassroots activism for a new economic paradigm. The Happiness Alliance is a volunteer driven organization. (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)

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)

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)

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)

Mental Illness in America: How Can We Address a Growing Problem? (NIF Issue Advisory)

In October 2013, National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI) released an Issue Advisory that contains materials that can be used in deliberating over the issue of the impact of mental illness in America. This “issue advisory” is not a full NIF issue guide, but a basic outline of the options, entitled Mental Illness in America: How Do We Address a Growing Problem? It can be downloaded here. From the introduction… Many Americans share a sense that something is wrong with how we address mental health and mental […] (continue)

Who Do I Trust to Protect My Privacy? (NIF Issue Guide)

The National Issues Forum Institute developed this issue guide in 2013 in partnership with American Library Association.  The guide is designed to help guide deliberative conversations about how our personal information should be protected and by whom.  In our digitized and tech-integrated world, we have to find a way to strike the right balance between information accessibility and personal privacy – this guide can help you engage participants in quality discussions on how we actually get there. This excerpt from the introduction gets to the heart of […] (continue)

Human Migration: Policy Possibilities for Public Discussion

The Interactivity Foundation (IF) has recently published a discussion guidebook entitled “Human Migration: Policy Possibilities for Public Discussion.” The guidebook was edited by IF Fellow Ieva Notturno, who also managed the long-term project and two discussion panels that explored and developed the ideas that resulted in the six policy possibilities listed below and further outlined in the guidebook. The discussion panelists initially worked thru a series of fundamental questions and concerns about human migration, including “What could human migration mean? What are the forces that […] (continue)

The Human Impact of Climate Change: Opportunities & Challenges

The Interactivity Foundation (IF) has recently published a guidebook for public discussion on “The Human Impact on Climate Change,” edited by IF Fellows Dennis Boyer, Jeff Prudhomme, and Adolf Gundersen. The guidebook was developed from the group discussions of 16 panelists in two groups from south central and southwestern Wisconsin. Test discussions facilitated by former Wisconsinites in Tucson, Ariz., and in Sonora and Mazatlan, Mexico, further developed the text of the discussion guide. Six contrasting policy possibilities emerged from these group discussions and are described […] (continue)

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