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New Crowdfunded Project in Eugene — Let’s Talk: Our New Economy

In Eugene, Oregon, the Co-Intelligence Institute is engineering a community-focused process to increase local capacity for healthy, creative group dialogue. By combining trainings and workshops with a series of dialogues around a substantive issue — in this case, the economy — we plan to demonstrate the generative power of group process even as we stimulate conversations that strengthen the Eugene community. We’re calling the project “Let’s Talk: Our New Economy,” and we’re holding the opening events early next month.

The people of Eugene are no strangers to economic experimentation. In good times and bad, they’ve come up with creative ways to interact with the greater economic system — interventions such as housing and business co-ops, community devolopment initiatives, and even an online gifting application. Clearly, there’s an abundance of fodder for good conversation. The Co-Intelligence Institute is partnering with some of these local innovators to present their ideas in a participatory, discussion-based format, using tools like World Cafe and Open Space Technology to ensure quality conversations and to encourage our attendees to self-organize around issues that they’re passionate about.

We’re adding a small twist, though — ordinarily, the process component of a well-facilitated dialogue is nearly invisible, since participants are (rightly!) caught up in the exciting, juicy content that they’re discussing. But since we’re increasing our community’s capability for dialogue, we’re trying to make the process as visible as possible. At the recent NCDD confab call, some of you heard about the Group Works pattern language deck (www.groupworksdeck.org). CII board president John Abbe and I had a hand in designing those cards, and we’ll be using them and other process awareness tools to help our participants learn the dynamics of healthy dialogue, even as that dialogue is happening all around them.

And finally, we’re also holding a series of workshops to directly build Eugene’s capacity for healthy dialogue and communication. Those workshops will cover Dynamic Facilitation (hosted by Rosa Zubizarreta), the Group Works deck, Nonviolent Communication, and more.

In keeping with the community-oriented nature of the project, Let’s Talk: Our New Economy is entirely crowd-funded. We’re online at www.indiegogo.com/LetsTalkOurNewEconomy — check it out!

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Tom Atlee
Awed by the evolutionary challenges and opportunities we face as a civilization, Tom Atlee researches and promotes dialogue, deliberation, and other resources for collective intelligence and conscious evolution. Tom founded The Co-Intelligence Institute in 1996 and wrote The Tao of Democracy in 2003.

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  1. John Abbe says:

    We appreciate the shoutout! Any questions, input, etc. on the project from all you expert NCDDers most welcome. We’ll be watching comments here closely.

    You can also stay current on this project (and help networking for it) by following our Twitter feed at https://twitter.com/#!/letstalkeugene and/or liking our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/LetsTalkOurNewEconomy

  2. Andy Fluke says:

    Hey folks! Love to know what you think about the crowd-funding service you chose. I’ve been fascinated by the growth of these companies and the projects that are embracing them. Was it easy to set-up and use? Were there any unforseen challenges?

  3. Leon Janssen says:

    This is so exciting! What a powerful and integrated project, combining the issue work with capacity building for community empowerment! I am very excited to be doing aligned work here in Olympia, WA and look forward to hearing more about this project as it moves forward! Our community here could definitely benefit from this sort of thing, as could EVERY community I can think of… Thank you all for your important work, I look forward to connecting with you soon!

  4. John Abbe says:

    It was pretty straightforward. That may be in part because I was in another project that never launched on Indiegogo but got pretty far along. The only other site we considered was Kickstarter, but that one only gives you the money if you achieve 100% of your goal, and this project could work if we only get some of the way there. But don’t let that stop you from spreading the word, and chipping in what you can if that feels right! Every donation counts for a lot more than just the dollars, especially at this early stage.

    Make sure to ask us again later for our thoughts on how it all went if you want to know…

  5. Patrick Maxwell says:

    Quick update! We just added an additional perk to our IndieGoGo campaign. Anyone who donates $35 or above will receive a SIGNED copy of Tom Atlee’s The Tao of Democracy.

    Give and receive, at http://www.indigogo.com/LetsTalkOurNewEconomy

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