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Planning Process for NCDD 2008

Here is an outline of the planning process for NCDD’s 2008 conference. Click here to look over the existing planning team.

  1. Structure of the 2008 Planning Team
  2. How does the Planning Team function?
  3. What’s next in the planning process?
  4. What Planning Team members should do
  5. Not yet part of the Planning Team?

Structure of the 2008 Planning Team

Conference Director: Sandy Heierbacher (secures funding, galvanizes involvement and support from community, manages budget, provides overall direction, ensures continuity, supports Core Team, etc.)

Conference Manager: TDB (facilitates core team calls, manages new volunteers, checks in with team facilitators, serves as go-to person at the conference for design issues)

Core Team: conference director, conference manager, facilitators of the following teams, as well as Katie Howard, John Spady, and Dave Joseph (responsible for overall theme, direction and design of the conference and for ensuring that all teams remain in communication and collaborate when appropriate)

Central Texas Team: led by Diane Miller (responsible for ensuring that D&D programs and innovations in/around Austin are highlighted meaningfully at the conference; determining how Austin can benefit from the conference coming to the city; overseeing local PR and outreach efforts; handling Austin-specific logistics like homestays, entertainment, and a list of local restaurants)

Tech Team: led by Andy Fluke (responsible for coordinating the use of online tools to help people connect before and after the conference; blogging on the NCDD 2008 blog before and during the conference; ensuring that photos, video, and audio are handled well at and after the conference; overseeing internet access at the venue; coordinating a workshop on technology and D&D)

Logistics Team: led by Polly Riddims (responsible for venue logistics, coordinating a conference bookstore, improving the atmosphere at the conference with decorations, flowers, etc., coordinating evening activities and options, creating a list of local restaurants and map to show people where they are, identifying where people can make copies, send packages, etc.)

Small Task Groups: a number of smaller task groups will be formed to focus on specific vital areas of conference planning (to reach out to underrepresented groups, to manage conference “threads,” to coordinate the arts component of the conference, etc.)

Shorter-Term Task Groups: various shorter-term task groups will be formed throughout the planning process (to review workshop proposals, to design specific plenary sessions, to coordinate conference Listeners, to design networking sessions)

The 2008 NCDD “Planning Team” consists of everyone serving in these teams and task groups.

How does the Planning Team function?

All members of the planning team for the 2008 conference are subscribed to a main discussion list for the whole team. If you are not yet a member of NCDD, you will be added as a new member so you can get a better feel for the NCDD community, and so you can have a page on the NCDD Members Network and be easily reached.

You may be asked to serve on one of the sub-teams or task groups depending on what you expressed an interest in doing. If you agree to serve on one of the sub-teams (Central TX, Logistics, Tech), you will most likely be subscribed to a discussion list that your team’s facilitator will use to explore issues, generate ideas, and get a sense of how their team feels about different options. They may also ask you to participate in periodic conference calls (or face-to-face meetings, if you are part of the Central Texas Team). If you are part of the Central Texas Team, which is quite large, fewer calls/meetings will involve your entire team.

If you agree to be part of a particular task group (rather than a larger sub-team), you can use email, phone calls and conference calls as needed – and we can set up a discussion list for your group if you think that would be helpful. You will be asked to provide regular updates on your progress to the Conference Manager.

Planning team members will also be asked to visit NCDD’s Events section regularly so they can see what’s happening, add comments on various ideas and issues, and look over input from the greater NCDD community. Let us know if you are interested in blogging (adding your own blog posts rather than just adding comments to existing posts) about your area of the planning process, and we’ll set you up on the blog.

If you are not-so-comfortable with web technology, hopefully this process will help you to see the value in it and help you to become more comfortable. Planning team members will be from all across the country – and from outside of the U.S. as well, so it is necessary for us to communicate primarily via email and the web. If you find that you need help or advice with anything technology-oriented, we strongly encourage you to email Andy Fluke, NCDD’s Creative Director, at andy@ncdd.org.

What’s next in the Planning Process?

In early 2008, we scheduled several all-team calls for planning team members. On the first set of calls, Sandy provided an overview of NCDD’s conferences (their basic purpose, typical structure, role in the field, etc.), and team members introduced themselves shared why they joined the planning team and what they hoped to contribute the planning. We then held an all-team visioning/brainstorming call, during which everyone who participated shared their hopes and ideas for the conference.

The Core Team processed what we learned from these initial calls, and made some decisions about the conference theme (“Creating Cultures of Collaboration”), goals for NCDD 2008, and challenge areas we hope to focus on at the event. Sandy and Polly visited Austin in February, and many great ideas emerged from meetings with members of the Central Texas Team during that trip, such as the “Call for Innovations”.

Some sub-teams and task groups have since formed as well. Currently, the planning team is engaged in an innovative online dialogue at CivicEvolution to explore how we can leverage NCDD Austin to make some real progress on some of the major challenges facing the D&D community. Members of the greater NCDD community are welcome to join us at http://civicevolution.org/d_d_challenges.

What Planning Team members should do

Here are some things that all planning team members should consider doing. Feel free to email Sandy Heierbacher, conference director, anytime if you have questions about your role on the planning team (sandy@ncdd.org).

  1. If you haven’t already, give some thought to what aspect (or aspects) of the planning process you’d like to help with. Read over this page and read about previous NCDD conferences to help give you ideas. On the main page of the Events section you’ll find reports, summaries, blogs, audio, and more on our past three national conferences.
  2. Talk to Sandy or Diane about what you’d like to do. Most planning team members who live in Central Texas are connecting with Central Texas Team leader Diane Miller about their role in the planning process. Many others have spoken to or emailed Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s director. We encourage you do this as soon as possible, if you haven’t already.
  3. Look over the list of planning team members and connect with those who share your interests or want to work on similar areas of the conference. Each of their names click into their members page in the NCDD Members Network, where you can find their email address and phone number, or leave comments for them on their page.
  4. Look over your page in the NCDD Members Network and see what needs added/updated. We’d like all planning team members to have photos of themselves on their pages, and have their full contact info, personal bios and organizational descriptions up as well. To get to your page, click on your name on the planning team page or click on “members” in the menu at the top of the page and then search for yourself. If you need help logging in, uploading photos, or anything else, email NCDD office manager Joy Garman at joy@ncdd.org.
  5. Send a message to the Planning Team discussion list and introduce yourself, talk about what your hopes are for the conference or what you hope to contribute, or ask a question of the planning team. Email NCDD-2008-Planning@lists.thataway.org to send a message out to everyone on the planning team. The email address for the Central Texas Team list is Central-TX-Team@lists.thataway.org.
  6. Look over the 2008 conference blog and see if there are any blog posts you can contribute to by adding comments. We’ll be using the blog to pose questions to planning team members and members of the broader D&D community to help inform our decisions and give us new ideas. Just click on the title of the blog post and then add a comment using the short form below the post; it’s super-easy.

Not yet part of the Planning Team?

Interested in contributing your knowledge, time and talents to help ensure the Austin conference is our best event yet? We’d love to have you on the Planning Team!

NCDD’s biennial conferences are unique experiments in collaborative planning, and we have managed dynamic planning teams of about 60 people for each of our three previous conferences. Potential planning team members should complete this short survey asap so we can find out what you’re interested in doing.

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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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