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NCDD2018 · Denver, CO

D&D Showcase

We’re excited to share the list of featured presenters in this year’s “D&D Showcase” — a highly anticipated, high-energy event held on the first night of the 2018 NCDD conference. The Showcase is a fun way for you to meet some of the movers-and-shakers in our field and learn about their leading-edge projects, programs and tools.

Showcase presenters are asked to prepare a brief spiel to use as a conversation starter during this un-timed session, to provide handouts so you can follow up after the conference, and to prepare an eye-catching poster so people can easily identify their topic. More about how the Showcase works is up at www.ncdd.org/26775.

9 Steps to Collaboration – The Art of Convening

Craig Neal, Co-Founder, Center for Purposeful Leadership

Experience a highly interactive and dynamic learning environment with Craig Neal, lead author of the Berrett-Koehler Publishers book,” The Art of Convening “ Travel the 9-Step Convening Wheel experientially to design a meeting or collaboration. Craig will share best practices, common challenges and ways to consistently create trust and authenticity in meetings, gatherings, conversations based on 14 years of delivering training, workshops, and seminars.

Accelerate Collaboration: A Visual Facilitation Tool Kit

Shelley Hamilton, Consulting Associate, Leapfrog Consulting

“I see what you mean!” – There’s no better way to facilitate complex group dialogue and add clarity to deliberative processes than to use visual communication tools. Leapfrog’s visual templates, built from years of experience, bring all voices into focus, guide but do not constrain a conversation, and move a group toward greater understanding and alignment through visually highlighting patterns of ideas. Visual tools provide an immediate, tangible, actionable record of both the group process and shared outcomes. The Tool Kit includes 6 templates, facilitator guides, and an overview booklet as well as 4-hr to 2-day Train-the-Facilitator workshops and coaching sessions.

Ally Conversation Toolkit  & The Dialogue Company

David Campt, Founder, Ally Conversation Toolkit

The Ally Conversation Toolkit (ACT) focuses on helping people who are not targets but rather allies of an “ism” (e.g. racism, sexism, homophobia) become more effective in using dialogue to influence the opinions of others. The project has engaged about 5,000 people through its workshops, on-line tools, and publications, such as the White Ally Toolkit Workbook. (PDF available at www.AllyConversationToolkit.com)

The Dialogue Company (www.the-dialogue-company.com) is a premier source of expertise in augmenting meetings and conferences by using audience polling to improve engagement, enjoyment, and productivity. In fact, Dr. David Campt, the principal of the project, is the author of Read the Room for Real, (available on Amazon) the only book that focuses on using audience polling to improve meetings outside the classroom.

Breaking the Cycle of Partisan Divide in Tomorrow’s Leaders

Ross Irwin, Chief Development Officer, Bridge U.S.A., UC-Berkeley

BridgeUSA is an organization on college campuses dedicated to bridging the partisan divide through diversity of ideas, responsible discourse, and solution-oriented politics. The state of political discourse in the United States has reached a critical turning point; for the sake of our country we must learn how to speak productively with people who we disagree with. BridgeUSA focuses on teaching tomorrow’s future leaders not only how to have these conversations, but also how to facilitate them. If we can save our youngest generations from becoming entrenched in partisan hate, we can save our nation.

Civic Dinners

Jenn Graham, Founder & CEO of Civic Dinners
Mitali Chakraborty, Director of Growth for Civic Dinners

We bring people together over food for conversations that matter. We work with cities, regions, state agencies, nonprofits, universities and corporations to design and launch community conversations that bring diverse people together, discover shared values, and motivate and mobilize collective action.

Civil Pursuit

David Fridley, Founder & CEO, Synaccord

On a mission to engage 500 people (10 per state) in online deliberation of “What Shall We the People Do First to Move our Country in the Right Direction” – that CONVERGES. Then 4350, … 300M!

CivNet – An Integrated Civic Platform Backed By a Network of Member Organizations

Will Ferguson, CEO & Co-Founder, CivNet
Leslie Graves, CEO of Ballotpedia & Board Member, CivNet
Adolf Gundersen, Vice President & Research Director, Interactivity Foundation, and Board Member, CivNet

More than ten years and $10 billion have been spent on civic tech, but the results are decidedly underwhelming. We believe the cause is centrifugal force and are developing a fully integrated civic platform—backed by a network of civic organizations—to reverse it. Stop by and meet CEO Will Ferguson, Board members Leslie Graves of Ballotpedia and Adolf Gundersen of Interactivity Foundation, and other members of the CivNet team to see what we’re up to. We think you’ll be impressed and hope you’ll consider contributing your talents to the effort.

Collaboration Without Consensus

Maura Maher, Senior Engagement Services Coordinator, RAMA Consulting

How do you get various stakeholders to work collaboratively on high-stakes, contentious issues with the understanding that no outcome will make everyone happy? Drawing upon 15 years of experience convening grassroots and government leaders, RAMA Consulting will provide real-world examples of groups who were fundamentally at odds but able to reach outcomes that, although not everyone loved, they were are able to live with.

The Commons: A community of humans and robots bridging the political divide online

Julie Hawke, Associate, Build Up

What we learned from using big data, bots, and volunteers to challenge polarization, and how we’re scaling up to enable constructive engagement in on and offline spaces.

Connect with Bang the Table

Amanda Nagl, Engagement Manager, Bang the Table

Bang the Table was founded by community engagement professionals with a passion for helping public leaders activate their communities. Developed through years of experience in and around government, our comprehensive online engagement platform and strategic guidance help you reach, inform, and involve residents in policy development and decisions that affect their lives. Since 2006, we’ve empowered 750 organizations to engage with well over 9 million people globally.

Consent Decision-Making

Sheella Mierson, PhD, Founding Member, The Sociocracy Consulting Group
Francine Proulx-Kenzle, CSE, Founding Member, The Sociocracy Consulting Group

Consent decision-making is central to sociocracy, a whole systems approach to collaborative decision-making, project management, and organizational governance. This method of making decisions sets the stage for more inclusive & effective meetings where all voices matter. The simple process for this method to consider a proposal uses rounds to ask questions of clarification, express reactions, and raise objections. After resolving any objections, the last step is to celebrate the decision.

Count Me In!

Caitlin Schneider, Public Engagement Coordinator, Colorado Fiscal Institute

Colorado voters are going to see a long ballot in November. Voters will have their work cut out for them. In Colorado, we have a unique responsibility to directly vote on policies that shape our communities, which means it’s important for voters to have the resources to make educated decisions on ballot issues. Count Me In! is a robust civic engagement effort who partners with communities across the state to educate voters on the issues they will see on their ballots. We empower voters with resources they need to make decisions on their ballot.

CU Dialogues: Engaged Learning for Civic Engagement

Ashmi Desai, Postdoctoral Associate, CU Dialogues Program
Karen Ramirez, Director, CU Dialogues Program
Pilar Prostko, Assistant Director for Outreach & Coordination, CU Dialogues Program

CU Dialogues Program works with students, staff and communities to create transformative learning experiences in college classrooms across disciplines, social identities, political persuasions and differing perspectives. In order to make engagement possible, such dialogue work recognizes and addresses the dimensions of openness, disagreement, participation and coercive power.

Discussion Tools for Diversity

Eve Passerini, Director of the Integrative Core and Associate Professor of Sociology, Regis University

What are best-practice deliberative dialogue skills for students wanting to engage across difference to solve our most pressing equity problems?

Expanding Your Toolbox

Kareen Wong, Communications Manager, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue
Robin Prest, Program Director, SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

Doing dialogue work and want to connect with new resources? Have ideas on people and places excelling in the dialogue work they do? Come visit the SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue for an interactive learning experience: hear about how we are creating a hub for knowledge and practice, learn about new tools and how you can use them in your work, and contribute to our search for individuals excelling globally in the field of dialogue! We will have giveaways to help advance your work and look forward to connecting.

Facilitating Racial Equity in Funding the Arts

Mark Chupp, Founder, Community Innovation Network, Assistant Professor, Mandel School, Case Western Reserve University

A public agency for supporting artists created a planning team (artists and community leaders) charged with co-creating new approaches to providing support for artists. Facilitators will share their efforts to foster collaboration among team members, residents, staff, and board members as they sought to design a funding process based on racial equity. The diverse planning team struggled at building trust but over time developed a set of equity primes that guided them in the development of a set of recommendations that would shift from competing for individual grants to a network of support.

Free Intelligent Conversation

Kyle Emile, Founder, Free Intelligent Conversations

Free Intelligent Conversation (FreeIC) is a nonprofit organization that facilitates engaging conversations between strangers. It’s simple: participants simply go to public places and hold up signs that read “Free Intelligent Conversation,” inviting people to talk with them about anything and everything. We learn things we never would’ve learned from people we never would’ve met. We’re doing this because we want to meet people and learn from them through meaningful face-to-face conversations. We believe it’s when people seek to learn from each other, that an intelligent conversation takes place.

Harnessing technology to create respectful and constructive conversations online

Mannie Ajayi, CEO and Co-founder of Pnyka

Pnyka is an online communication platform that allows communities to talk about important issues respectfully. We have developed the Assembly, a structured and data-driven chat forum to help communities, such as universities, cities, religious institutions, and businesses, talk about what they care about. Pnyka enables community members to share and learn from each other while equipping community leaders with actionable insights Pnyka is the hill in Greece where the foundation to our modern democracy was founded, and we are bringing those ideals to the digital age.

Journal of Public Deliberation

Laura Black, Editor of Journal of Public Deliberation and Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Ohio University
Tim Shaffer, Associate Editor of Journal of Public Deliberation and Assistant Professor of Communication at Kansas State University

The Journal of Public Deliberation is an open-access, free, online journal that publishes research, reflective essays, and book reviews about deliberation, dialogue, and participatory civic engagement. JPD is a place for conversation between academics and practitioners in order to move the field forward in both arenas.


Chris Haller, CEO, Urban Interactive Studio

Konveio is a connected outreach platform that turns dull PDFs into actionable websites to better convey ideas, collect feedback and spark action.

Let’s Talk About Race

Suzanne Lea, Ph.D., Fellow, Interactivity Foundation
Rashawn Ray, Ph.D., Dept. of Sociology, University of Maryland – College Park

For many of us, it’s scarier than talking about sex but arguably never more needed in our Republic. Come and brainstorm some ideas for adding to the #AmericaStrongChallenge effort that invites all Americans to broaden their social circles and share the connections they make via social media. How do we inspire ourselves to go where we haven’t gone before, make great new connections, and live out the best of our American Dreams? What can we in the dialogue space do to make spaces and opportunities for Americans across the country to connect in new ways and bridge outdated social silos? Enjoy some hors d’oeuvres and cocktails while you join us for some interactivity and a whole lot of imaginative brainstorming fun!

Make America Dinner Again

Justine Lee, Co-Founder, Make America Dinner Again

It is no secret that the results of the 2016 election have highlighted great divides in opinion, whether between family, neighbors, or perfect strangers. In an attempt to build understanding and move forward together, we’d like to invite people to sit down and have dinner. There are many avenues to protest, to donate, to fight, to be heard; Make America Dinner Again is an avenue to listen.

Making Kind, Curious Dialogue-lovers FAMOUS: Recruiting for a New Speakers Bureau of Subversive Friendships

Jacob Hess, Co-Founder & Co-Director, Village Square Utah

Tired of only seeing loud, brash, angry people in front of American audiences? WE ARE TOO! Come here about our campus-oriented “Respect + Rebellion” project (respectandrebellion.com) to introduce many more Americans to the rich possibilities of dialogue through (a) a creative speakers’ bureau of unorthodox friendships (b) a collection of stories from U.S. history and current celebrities – and other creative ways to “catch” people’s attention. Take our Treasonous Friendship Dare and take home a prize!

Managing Groundwater Together in Western Kansas

Stephen Lauer, Graduate Research Assistant, Kansas State University

As the vast Ogallala Aquifer runs dry, farmers work together to conserve groundwater and preserve their way of life. Come hear the story of how the Wichita County Water Conservation Area formed and how it successfully manages processes of negotiation and compromise, and how it can inform efforts to manage groundwater collaboratively at a local level.


Jim Anest, Creator, Mutualinquiry.org

Mutualinquiry.org is a new kind of platform to encourage and facilitate more satisfying LIVE conversations. Here you can find thoughtful people (who demonstrate curiosity and respect) to explore shared interests AND differences.

New Paradigm Approaches to Protecting Our Local Communities From Corporate Harms

Paul Cienfuegos, Founding Director, Community Rights US

Since 1999, the Community Rights movement has helped more than 200 communities and counties in ten states to pass laws that prohibit large corporations from causing them harm (such as fracking, oil pipelines, aerial pesticide spraying, factory farms, etc). Learn how NCDD members can play an active role in helping to facilitate the culture shift that makes these local campaigns so successful. More info: www.CommunityRights.US.

Power & Privilege

Lydia Hooper, Graphic Recorder

How does power and privilege affect you personally? Impact your work? Impact our field? These questions are important to think about and the subject of Lydia Hooper’s graphic recording project at NCDD 2018. Meet Lydia, plot your experiences on the board, and talk about the impact power and privilege play in dialogue & deliberation. This recording will remain posted in the Plaza Foyer throughout the conference for people to engage with.

The Public Square Academy

Michael Freedman, Director, The Public Square Academy

The Public Square Academy is a civic and consumer education platform for independent mentors and program designers, offering classes, forums, and workshops for adults, organizations, and schools. PSA offers program design, development, delivery, and marketing to further your educational mission.

The Reunited States of America

Mark Gerzon, Author, The Reunited States of America

Mark Gerzon, President of Mediators Foundation and author of The Reunited States of America will be signing copies of his book for attendees at the showcase. NCDD Conference attendees will receive a copy of the book in their welcome packet. Come meet Mark and get your book signed!

Slow Tours: Fast Connections

April Struthers, Consultant / Owner, Wit Works Ltd
Courtney Hartman, Musician

Acclaimed guitarist Courtney Hartman (CO) works across professional and cultural lines with consultant April Struthers (Canada) to create social engagement with music. “Slow Tours”, Action Learning, music diplomacy and deep collaboration are the products using dialogue and fun. Find out about the just completed Colorado and Eastern seaboard tours, about upcoming podcasts, and learning about building community from different perspectives.

Social Capital Untapped

Annie Makela, Founding Director, Scott Center for Social Entrepreneurship at Hillbrook School
Kevin Moore, Mathematics Educator/ Social Entrepreneurship Coach, Malvern Preparatory

Social capital networks are the lifeline to long term impact. Social Capital Untapped is a movement started by educators to help people break down industry silos, map their current collaborations, and connect their intellectual, professional and personal relationships in order to turn ideas into action.

Urgency of Civility Conference

Russ Charvonia, Past Grand Master, Masonic Lodge of CA, Masonic Family Civility Project

Come learn about the Urgency of Civility conference, where we will have the opportunity to discuss how we can work together to restore civility in society. We will facilitate conversations around how to restore civility in areas including government, education, workplaces, communities and online, with the goal of identifying how we can achieve our goals in our individual work and collaboratively.

Using a Deliberative Activity to Illustrate Effective Community Advocacy

Pamela Conners, Associate Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College
Leila Brammer, Professor, Gustavus Adolphus College

Drawing upon lessons learned from a college course about public advocacy, we developed a game-like activity that demonstrates to participants how research, problem analysis, and collaboration can elevate citizens’ agency and voice. In this showcase, we’ll describe and demonstrate how this rhetorical pedagogy can improve deliberative democratic processes in the public sphere.

What to Do When the Fit It’s the Shan

Trent Norman, Partner/Consultant, Affinity Arts Consulting

Participants will get an opportunity to try out different techniques when issues such as race and gender become salient and when YOU are on the spot to facilitate. Practice techniques and hone your skills for having the difficult conversation about identity! Come, listen, learn and interact!