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Something Fun for NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework

Streams diagramI just created something fun in ComicLife to accompany NCDD’s well-loved Engagement Streams framework. The framework is a series of two charts that helps people figure out which dialogue and deliberation method(s) best fit their circumstances – something practitioners always tell us they desperately need. The charts categorize the D&D field into four streams of practice based on your primary intention or purpose – Exploration, Conflict Transformation, Decision Making, and Collaborative Action – and show which of the most well-known methods have proven themselves effective in which streams. The second chart goes into more detail about 23 dialogue and deliberation methods, and includes information such as group size, meeting type and how participants are selected.

The image accompanying this post is a mini version of what I created – a one-page snapshot of the four streams that introduces the purpose for using each stream and lists some of the dialogue and deliberation methods that have proven themselves to be effective in each stream. Those of you who use the Engagement Streams framework to introduce community leaders, organization heads and public managers to their options are welcome to use this one-page handout as well. Might lighten things up a bit. Plus, diagrams always help, right?

Go to www.ncdd.org/streams to download the Streams framework in a couple of different formats, as well as this diagram and an additional handout.

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Sandy Heierbacher
Sandy Heierbacher co-founded the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) with Andy Fluke in 2002, with the 60 volunteers and 50 organizations who worked together to plan NCDD’s first national conference. She served as NCDD's Executive Director between 2002 and 2018. Click here for a list of articles and resources authored by Sandy.

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  1. Sandy Heierbacher says:

    After I sent a message about this to the NCDD Discussion list, several people wrote back. I wanted to share their responses. I'm so glad people like this!


    This is very cool, Sandy. It’s very accessible, so much so that I’m posting it next to my desk!

    Carrie Boron
    Pomfret, CT

    Hi, The diagram is so useful. We use what we call empowering approaches with young 'socially excluded' young people and in our project hold a weekly 'Parliament' called 'The Thing' (Icelandic or Viking for assembly) where young people debate and vote on what we do as an organisation – workers can speak but we cannot vote and our job is to facilitate debate and thinking etc – we have used Open Space before but your diagram just opened me up to so many other methods.

    We're based in Hull, England and we took our model of 'The Thing' and with support of our local city council and other agencies have set up the Hull Young People's Parliament which meets 4 times a year and at the last one over 150 reps met to discuss racism.

    Always looking for good methods and your piece is really going to inspire us to look more into the work of the NCDD.

    Thank you and you should feel proud as you rightly say 'diagrams help' and I find it almost impossible to diagramatically describe the empowering processes that we try to facilitate in the Warren.

    Keith Russell
    Coordinator, The Warren
    Hull, England

    Love it Sandy–thanks so much for sharing. I will use it a lot in my work.

    Lauren Patterson
    Program Evaluation
    Durango, CO

    This is excellent. Thank you very much!

    Sandee Gamet
    World Church Peacebuilding Specialist
    Independence, MO

  2. Nick Connell says:

    Love it, Sandy. Very often I refer people to the streams of practices, and I just found this diagram last week. Keep up the great work!

    Nick Connell
    Community Assistance Associate
    Everyday Democracy (formerly Study Circles Resource Center)
    Hartford, CT

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