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Putting the Coffee On, Settling In

Thanks for having me at NCDD! I’m pretty excited to be here and share ideas with all of you around the ways the arts can be used to improve and amplify the level of dialogue in our communities. I’ll also be sharing ideas and innovations from dialogue and deliberation on the ‘net. Finally, I’ll be very interested to explore how we can use tools like this blog and NCDD discussion boards to promote collaboration with the NCDD network.

I thought I’d use my first post to introduce a few things I’m pretty excited about these days – so here goes!

First is Netsquared’s upcoming conference May 29-30 in San Jose, California. The aim of this meeting is to bring together 21 awardees of this year’s Technology Innovation Fund and spur collaboration among these groups and their supporters. There are still some conference invitations available that can be requested online. If you are in the Bay area and interested in discovering ways the web can be used to advance the work of mission-driven organizations I recommend that you become a member of N2 and try and make this year’s meeting.

Something else that is new and on the horizon comes from Howard Rheingold, the visionary culture observer who brought us Smart Mobs. Howard is starting a new effort along with some of his colleagues from the Institute for the Future called “New Commons.” The idea Howard is working on, and I think it relates very closely to the D&D field (eg how we “govern” the commons) is to track and interpret emerging examples, practices, and principles of New Commons – resources identified as “commons” including the Internet, health care, urban space, the atmosphere, etc. For this exercise, Howard and his colleagues are viewing themselves as “naturalists” in the emerging landscape of new commons, collecting “specimens” and using them to understand this phenomenon from the bottom up. Check in at the ITF website or here for news when the project goes public.

Finally, this 9min video came in a copy of Wired Magazine this week. I liked the idea – that innovation can be found in the most unlikely places, and dialogue is at the center of exploration – and have been wondering how to scale it? Shell obviously has been pouring millions into scenarios and other methods for organizational learning, and some of this work has paid off. While its nice to see the rose-colored picture of humaneness and dedication reflected in this film, it also makes it a little too easy to forget about what is happening in terms of justice to our friends and family in places like Nigeria. What are your reactions to the video?

Lars Hasselblad Torres
In 2004 and 2005, Lars ran a scoping study to determine whether a “National Dialogue Bureau” was a feasible idea. The Dialogue Bureau, if developed, would supply journalists with a “one stop” destination for the collection of views held by ordinary Americans who engage in dialogue about current affairs.

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  1. Amy Lang says:

    Hey Lars, welcome to the blog! I'm looking forward to hearing more about your projects & what you're keeping up with in the D & D grapevine.

  2. Amy, thanks for the welcome! I look forward to sharing ideas and opportunities and breadcrumbs from the field here.

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