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Featured D&D Story: Collaborative Master Planning

Today we’d like to feature another great example of dialogue and deliberation in action, Collaborative Master Planning. This mini case study was submitted by Karen Wianecki via NCDD’s new Dialogue Storytelling Tool, which we recently launched to collect stories from our members about their work.

We know that there are plenty of other stories from our NCDD members out there that can teach key insights about working in dialogue, deliberation, and engagement. We want to hear them! Please add YOUR dialogue story today, and let us learn from you!

D&D stories logoTitle of Project:

Collaborative Master Planning – The Difference Between Consultation & Engagement


We were retained to develop Master Plans for three very special and very unique communities in Ontario, Canada. In developing the Master Plans, we made a commitment to work with the community and to embrace a co-creative and collaborative mindset, at the process.

We recognized early on that whole community engagement was critical and moreover that those who called these communities home knew more about their communities than we did. We were there to learn. The process was designed with participants. Each community determined the approach they wanted to see unfold. In each case, an open, inclusive, engaging, iterative and evolutionary approach was used.

The Master Plans that emerged received broad support from the community members – full time residents as well as seasonal residents. In one case, the community offered the Mayor and Members of Council a standing ovation. A number of major milestones were put in place and some real tangible results have emerged including the infusion of funds from upper levels of government, the acquisition of a signature waterfront site, and the development of a much needed public park, boat launch and beach area.

Which dialogue and deliberation approaches did you use or borrow heavily from?

  • Appreciative Inquiry
  • Conversation Cafe
  • Charrettes

What was your role in the project?

Primary Facilitator

What issues did the project primarily address?

  • Economic issues
  • Environment
  • Planning and development

Lessons Learned

  • Engage, do not consult. For many, the only message that emerges from consultation is the ‘con’ part.
  • Engage early and often.
  • Say what you mean and mean what you say. commitments. 5. Follow up and follow through.
  • Value the voices of all.
  • Build a ‘whole team approach.’ All of us have some of the answers; none of us have all of the answers.
  • Process is as important as product.
  • Recognize that collaboration and partnership can produce results that are truly remarkable.

Where to learn more about the project: www.e-planningsolutions.ca

Roshan Bliss on LinkedinRoshan Bliss on Twitter
Roshan Bliss
An inclusiveness trainer and group process facilitator, Roshan Bliss serves as NCDD's Youth Engagement Coordinator and Blog Curator. Combining his belief that decisions are better when everyone is involved with his passion for empowering young people, his work focuses on increasing the involvement of youth and students in public conversations.

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