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Call for Proposals for NCDD Seattle!

NCDD is holding a national conference for civic innovators this October 12-14 in Seattle. NCDD conferences bring together hundreds of the most active, thoughtful, and influential people involved in public engagement and group process work across the U.S. and Canada.

Imagine spending three days with some of the most amazing people in our field and exploring together how we can shape the future of this important movement… there’s really nothing like it.  We hope you can join us at NCDD Seattle.

Today we’re announcing our call for proposals for our concurrent sessions.  We’re interested in finding many creative ways to highlight the best of what’s happening in public engagement, group process, community problem-solving, and community arts — and we know you have lots of ideas! Download the Application for Session Leaders today to see what we ask for, and start working on your proposals. We can’t wait to see what you’d like to offer!

Please note that the deadline for proposals is June 29th. (Update:  we’ve extended the deadline to July 10th!)

Here is some guidance for those thinking about presenting sessions at NCDD Seattle…

At NCDD 2012 in Seattle, we want to focus participants’ attention on the importance of building a more robust civic infrastructure — in our practice, our communities and our country.  By “civic infrastructure,” we’re talking about the foundational building blocks needed to strengthen our vibrant democracy:  institutions and public agencies that utilize participatory processes for decision-making, great places and online spaces where citizens can gather, a cadre of trained moderators, and strong networks that can mobilize to solve problems.

Our attendees are interested in exploring dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement work at many levels — ideas for nationwide action, strategies they can use in their communities and organizations, and skills and knowledge to build their own successful practices.

When planning your session, please consider this overarching theme as well as our goals for NCDD Seattle:

  • Equip participants with the skills, knowledge, resources, and connections they need to improve and expand their work.
  • Increase awareness of the latest innovations, thinking, and opportunities in public engagement, conflict resolution, and community problem solving.
  • Help form new supportive, collaborative relationships and strengthen existing ones.
  • Inspire Seattle and have a positive impact on the region.
  • Leave conference participants energized to do more great work.

We are also looking for innovative ideas focused on the arts, media, and online technology; sessions about engaging underrepresented groups (especially youth); sessions that put people to work (especially on Seattle- and regionally-focused efforts!); and sessions focused on the ongoing challenges we face as a field — such as how to measure our success, how to obtain buy-in from power-holders, how to bridge the research-practice gap, and how to gain support for work that’s focused more on process than on obtaining specific outcomes.

Some advice from the NCDD Seattle planning team for potential session leaders:

  1. Be innovative with your session.  NCDD attendees are generally not too impressed with traditional panels or long speeches.  Get them engaging with you and each other.  Think about how you can get them out of their seats and moving around the room.  And think about what you’d like to learn from them (not just what they can learn from you).
  2. Share your stories.  NCDDers prefer hearing your stories to getting a run-down of your organization or methodology.  People are interested in learning about what you did, what you learned, and how they may be able to learn from your experience.
  3. Share the latest.  What’s the latest research?  What are the latest innovations in the field?  What new challenges are you facing?  What are your latest accomplishments?
  4. Co-present.  Some of the best workshops at NCDD conferences have been collaborative efforts involving multiple presenters from different organizations and universities.  Have you thought about who you can co-present with?  Now’s the time to contact them to see if they’d like to offer a session with you!

Not sure you’re ready to draw up a proposal yet?
Use the comment field to float your ideas by NCDDers and members of the planning team.  Perhaps you have a project that was particularly innovative at addressing a common challenge people face in their dialogue and deliberation work?  Share what the project is and what areas you think attendees would most benefit from hearing about — we will try to match you up with others who have found different ways to address that same challenge and make suggestions for who might co-present with you!

And feel free to look over the amazing list of workshops (aka concurrent sessions or breakout sessions) we offered at NCDD Austin for ideas and inspiration.

Deadline for submissions

Please email your completed proposal to conference@ncdd.org on or before June 29th, 2012. Members of the conference planning team will review your proposal and respond by email to the first contact listed in your proposal by the end of the day July 9th.

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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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We always encourage a lively exchange of ideas, whether online or off. Questions? Please feel free to contact us directly.

  1. John Dowler says:

    I’d just like to confirm that the deadline is now July 10th, rather than today.

    We’re a group called PublicForums with an innovative approach to decision making: new software called Ethelo that takes the ratings by individuals of a wide range of issues that comprise a decision, and the options and values that apply.

    The process involves a phase during which an experienced facilitator leads a public consultation to determine the issues, options and values. Then voters rate each of those items. Ethelo then discovers that set of options that would satisfy the most people, while creating the least inequality of satisfaction (as opposed to win/lose majority-based decisions).

    A voter can go through the entire list of options and rate them individually, or rely on a trustee group that determines how values would be reflected in each option (such as ‘benefit to economy’, ‘impact on environment’, etc.). So a voter can just weight the various values and their ‘ballot’ is derived from that, making a complex decision much simpler.

    We would decribe the concept and demonstrate where we’re with it, inviting input from other attendees.

    Does this sound like the kind of thing that would fit the format?

    John Dowler

  2. Hello –

    I’ve just learned about NCDD, and I am excited to get to know more.

    Has anyone submitted a proposal on human-centered design, or presented on that topic before? I use the design process to enable dialogue that helps solve business problems, develop business models, and in general create greater customer focus.

    I don’t have experience using it in a civic context (yet) 🙂 — although there are others who do. Would you be interested in a presentation purely from a business context? If so, are there any particular aspects that the audience would be interested in (in addition to the points above)?



  3. Hi Sandy and all:

    I am proposing a session about public forums where there is an advocacy group and/or media who are very suspicious of public dialogue and attempt to derail the session. I have an interesting experience with a county-hosted forum about public employee pensions. The story was dramatic, many lessons learned and we can report a net positive outcome. Others may have different stories (with different outcomes) — I would welcome a couple of partners to create a panel, followed by audience discussion. Sandy – I think you had some suggestions? Anyone else?

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