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New Orleans Resilience and SynCon

Originally posted by Chris Heuer for the 2006 NCDD Conference…

Friday afternoon’s session was very reassuring for me personally as I am very concerned about the future of this great American City – now I have a much greater sense of hope after meeting Julianna PadgettPatricia A. Wilson, and John Zwerver. (Download Julianna’s presentation here) Given the current complexity of the situation there and the need for bringing together all the different voices, it seems the SynCon process (link to book by Barbara Marx Hubbard) is one that will go a long way towards enabling everyone to come together in an open dialogue around what matters most to each individual. What is most important about this process from my perspective is the bias towards action and the accomodation of conflict resolution as part of the process.

3 months ago during JazzFest we held a BrainJams event in New Orleans to connect small businesses with an understanding of Web 2.0 technology. It was a small but powerful event, and our work down there continues thanks to the support of great locals like Chris SchultzBlake Killian and Jeff Harris. Together we have adopted the Sclafani Cooking School as a pro-bono ‘client’ for the purpose of updating their Web site and modernizing their Web communications strategy. If you have any interest in volunteering some time to help other small businesses and non-profits down in New Orleans, please reach out and say hello.

As is the case with the BrainJams events I organize, SynCon encourages ad-hoc collaboration. They are very eloquent in explaining their deeply considered methodology and I think this is a very powerful process that I hope to learn more about over the weeks ahead. We hope that BrainJams may be able to help them leverage social media and Web 2.0 technology to further amplify their conversations and enable broader participation from the dispersed members of the New Orleans community.

If you also share a love for everything that is New Orleans, I encourage you to not only get down there and visit soon, but to reach out to the Global Facilitators Service Corps and get involved in their very worthwhile efforts.

PS – You can download the MindMap of notes I took during the discussion in PDF formatPPS – The photo is one of several I took while visiting the LakeView district in early May of 2006, 8.5 months after Katrina. This house was right across the street from the 17th Street Canal Breach. Most of the tourist areas are much closer to being back to ‘normal’ but many neighborhoods like this one have barely begun to recover.

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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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