Tiny House
More About The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation • Join Now!
Community News

Resources by NCDD’s Leadership

Here are many of the resources authored in large part by NCDD’s director, Sandy Heierbacher. Also see the NCDD Resources category (which includes all resources created by NCDD, including listserv compilations and summaries of D&D methods) and the NCDD Publications tag (which includes our conference reports, the Core Principles doc, and much more).

Resource Guide on Public Engagement

NCDD’s October 2010 Resource Guide on Public Engagement is packed with tools and stories to help you tackle contentious problems in your community. Sandy Heierbacher compiled and wrote much of the content in the Resource Guide, which showcases the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation’s best collaboratively-created products (like the Core Principles for Public Engagement and the Engagement Streams Framework), and recognizes and directs you to a lot of the great work on public engagement that has been done by others in our field. Created for our 2010 … (see full post)

Views of NCDD 2008 Conference Participants on Democratic Governance and Two of our Field’s Greatest Challenges

This NCDD project report to the Kettering Foundation was written by Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s Director (2009). Before the October 2008 conference, NCDD embarked on a research project with the Kettering Foundation to learn about how attendees at the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation see themselves playing a role in democratic governance. Kettering was also especially interested in two of the five challenge areas taken on at the conference (the Systems Challenge and the Action & Change Challenge). (see full post)

Upgrading the Way We Do Politics article

This article was written by Sandy Heierbacher at the request of Yes! Magazine (and published here on August 21, 2009). Sandy also created two abbreviated versions of this article and a one-page ready-to-print flier for public officials, encouraging NCDD members and others to use the resources freely for blog posts, letters to the editor, etc. during and after the contentious August 2009 town halls on health care.  All four of these resources are based on insights and tips shared by NCDD members during this controversial … (see full post)

Taking Our Work to the Next Level: Addressing Challenges Facing the Dialogue and Deliberation Community

This article by NCDD Director Sandy Heierbacher was published in the September 2009 edition of the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2). You can download the full article here from the IJP2 site. The article outlines NCDD’s learnings in two of the five challenges we focused on at the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin: the “Systems Challenge” and the “Framing Challenge.” (see full post)

Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic

Created by NCDD director Sandy Heierbacher in collaboration with Martin Carcasson, Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec (and based on Carcasson’s paper Beginning With the End in Mind), the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic pictured here outlines 3 types of goals for public problem-solving work. In a nutshell, the three tiers of goals are individual and knowledge-based goals, immediate group/community outcomes, and longer-term capacity building and community change. Click on the image to view a larger version of the graphic. (see full post)

NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework

NCDD’s Engagement Streams Framework helps people decide which dialogue and deliberation method(s) are most appropriate for their circumstance. The framework is a series of two charts that categorize the D&D field into four streams based on intention or purpose (Exploration, Conflict Transformation, Decision Making, and Collaborative Action), and show which of the most well-known methods have proven themselves effective in which streams. The second chart goes into more detail about 23 dialogue and deliberation methods, and includes information such as group size, meeting type and how participants are selected. (see full post)

The Change Handbook: The Definitive Resource on Today’s Best Methods for Engaging Whole Systems

(Sandy wrote the chapter on dialogue and deliberation)

The first edition of The Change Handbook, published in 1999, was the most comprehensive guide available on methods of organization and community change. The first edition provided a snapshot of a nascent field that broke barriers by engaging ‘whole systems’ of people from organizations and communities in creating their own future. The completely revised and updated second edition (2007) overviews 61 change methods – up from 18 in the first edition. A great introduction to large-group methods for participatory planning and redesign. (see full post)

Op-Ed by NCDD’s Sandy Heierbacher for the Patriot News

This article was written as part of the “Democracy Communications Network,” a 2007-2009 project that encouraged leaders in deliberative democracy to periodically write op-eds and blog posts as part of larger, collaborative media campaigns to raise awareness of the importance of quality public engagement. Use the “Democracy Communications Network” tag to see the articles  written in association with this project. The following was published in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania Patriot News on October 25, 2007. – Town by town, city by city, democracy has quietly been growing … (see full post)

Beginner’s Guide (resource compilation)

If you are new to dialogue & deliberation, new to the NCDD website, or new to the breadth of dialogue & deliberation (“D&D”) approaches out there, we encourage you to familiarize yourself with the following resources. For Starters… What are Dialogue & Deliberation? – includes how D&D are really being used, and an outline of what a typical D&D program looks like) Quick Reference Glossary – over 100 terms defined to help you make sense of it all Running a D&D Program – includes the … (see full post)

Addressing Language-Related Challenges in the Practice of Dialogue and Deliberation

The true power of dialogue and deliberation lies in their ability to surface new insights and innovative solutions when all voices are brought to the table. But while diversity is an asset to these programs, it brings with it a unique set of challenges. This paper addresses four broad challenges related to language and culture that dialogue and deliberation practitioners regularly face. These are: (1) the challenge of getting culturally diverse participants in the door; (2) the logistics involved in having multiple languages spoken in the room; (3) creating a safe space for those with other language/speech needs or differences; and (4) dealing with participants’ existing preconceptions, assumptions and stereotypes related to language/cultural differences. (see full post)

An Introduction to Collaborative Technologies

Collaborative technology can create an interactive learning environment involving people who are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Businesses are far more savvy with the more sophisticated packages of high-tech tools available than we are in the dialogue and deliberation community, and the prohibitive cost of many of the tools, software and services primarily marketed to businesses is the most obvious reason for that. (see full post)

Dialogue Versus Debate

This 2004 table was adapted by NCDD director Sandy Heierbacher from a paper prepared by Shelley Berman, which in turn was based on discussions of the Dialogue Group of the Boston Chapter of Educators for Social Responsibility (ESR), and from the Public Conversations Project’s much-used Distinguishing Debate from Dialogue table. (see full post)

Report on the 2004 National Conference on Dialogue Deliberation

In October 2004, over 300 people came together at Regis University in Denver, Colorado for the second National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation. The main purpose of the gathering was to encourage conference attendees and planners, together, to continue developing this important, growing field of practice. Networking, experiencing different methods, sharing learnings, hearing from leaders in the field, exploring key issues facing the field – all of these are field-building activities, and all were given a place at the 2004 NCDD Conference. (see full post)

What is the relationship between dialogue and deliberation?

This short piece was written by Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s Director, to accompany and hopefully add clarity to the definitions of dialogue and deliberation posted on the NCDD website. (see full post)

Conditions for Successful Dialogue & Deliberation

Since dialogue and deliberation processes help people learn more about themselves or an issue (Exploration stream), resolve conflicts and improve relations among groups (Conflict Transformation), improve knowledge and influence policy (Decision Making), and empower people to solve complicated problems together (Collaborative Action), the keys to success differ based on purpose. There are, however,  several conditions that help increase the likelihood of success of any dialogue or … (see full post)

Online Dialogue & Deliberation

Online formats for dialogue and deliberation have improved dramatically in the last few years. Although much of what is called “online dialogue” these days is still little more than a series of anonymous posts in a forum or blog, some groups who have made much progress in creating online spaces for effective dialogue and deliberation — oftentimes, as a complement to face-to-face approaches. Here are a … (see full post)

Dialogue & Deliberation Methods

This resource provides enough details to enable you to decide which of these leading dialogue and deliberation methods you should learn more about. In addition to looking at which methods fit your intentions, you will need to consider which methods are aligned with your resources, timeline, and the people you feel need to be involved. (see full post)

Sustaining Dialogue & Deliberation Over Time

Several strategies can ensure that the benefits of a dialogue or deliberation program are retained. Sustain the Dialogue While a single group may meet five or six times and agree to act together, the opportunity for many more groups to experience the process amplifies its effect. Even if hundreds of people participate in a single dialogue and deliberation process addressing racism in their community and transitioning … (see full post)

Report on the 2002 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation

The first NCDD conference was held in October 2002 outside of Washington, DC in Alexandria, Virginia. This 28-page report includes a letter from the conference director outlining what worked and what could be improved, a list of who made the conference happen, a listing of all workshops offered at the conference, a description of the three plenary sessions and their outcomes, descriptions of the 12 “next steps groups” that formed at the conference, and a detailed look at whether we met our initial goals. (see full post)

Case Study of the Danish Board of Technology

The Board of Technology was established by the Danish Parliament in 1986 to help ensure that technology decisions are made wisely. In its assessments of technology issues, the Board makes use of expert knowledge as well as the insight and experience of non-expert citizens. Armed with this knowledge, the Board of Technology is able to serve as an independent source of high-quality advice and assessment to the Parliament regarding technology issues. The Board of Technology also encourages decision-makers and citizens to engage in informed debate and discussion about technology issues. (see full post)

Case Study of the Fernald, Ohio Citizens Advisory Board

FCAB provides advice to the U.S. Department of Energy on issues pertaining to the remediation (clean-up) of the DOE site in Fernald, Ohio. The site was used to produce uranium for nuclear weapons from 1951 to 1989, during which time over one million pounds of uranium were released into the surrounding environment. FCAB recommendations and advice provide the DOE with an understanding of the issues and concerns that are important to local stakeholders and ensure that these perspectives influence activities pertaining to the clean-up and future use of the Fernald site. (see full post)

Case Study of the Kentucky Center for Public Issues

KCPI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit public policy organization based in Frankfort, Kentucky’s capital. KCPI’s mission is to help citizens explore, understand and confront issues critical to the future of Kentucky. Among other things, KCPI runs Policy Councils, which involve a diverse group of experts and interested citizens from all parts of the state to consider and, if appropriate, propose improvements in public policies. Policy Councils study a specific contentious issue in depth, obtain public input and raise public awareness about the issue, arrive at a consensus about the issue when possible, and sometimes take action on their findings. (see full post)

Case Study of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council

NEJAC was created in 1993 as a part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Environmental Justice. NEJAC helps the OEJ address environmental justice issues and integrate environmental justice into the EPA’s policies, programs and activities. It does this by bringing community, industry and state/local government groups together to find solutions to environmental justice problems and by providing the EPA with independent advice and recommendations on matters related to environmental justice. (see full post)

Case Study of the Health Effects Institute

HEI is an independent, nonprofit corporation chartered in 1980 to provide high-quality, impartial and relevant scientific information on the health effects of emissions from motor vehicles and other sources of environmental pollution. HEI is funded equally by the EPA and the motor vehicle industry. Although not a public participation program, HEI was examined because of its ability to remain neutral, retain the respect of all stakeholders, and produce high-quality research findings on the health effects of a variety of pollutants. (see full post)

Strategies for Integrating Dialogue With Community Action

How can intergroup dialogue organizers integrate talk with action more effectively, without damaging the dialogue process itself by focusing too much on action or ending the dialogue too soon? Heierbacher’s Master’s thesis for the School for International Training tackles this important question. For this research, leaders of race dialogue programs were interviewed, materials in the fields of conflict resolution, community building, and social change were examined, and an in-depth study of existing dialogue materials and resources was conducted to answer this question. The end result? A set of strategies which can help dialogue organizers enable their participants to take more effective action in their communities. (see full post)

Why Should Dialogue Groups Do Community Service?

Instead of meeting numerous times for dialogue before finally trying to make the transition to action, why not try adding a community service activity to your dialogue program’s schedule? This revised format could benefit your dialogue group in several ways. A community service session could: temporarily satisfy participants’ need for action, get all group members thinking about possibilities for future action, provide a common framework for approaching a discussion about action, help build trust and teamwork, increase the group’s visibility in the community and more. Heierbacher put together this tip sheet while she was serving as a Fellow for the Corporation for National Service and working on her Master’s thesis on integrating dialogue with action. (see full post)

The Dialogue Guide

Developed in 1999 for National Service programs interested in fostering understanding, respect and teamwork among their diverse participants. The Dialogue guide is designed to help National Service leaders engage their members in meaningful dialogues on race. Written by NCDD’s director, Sandy Heierbacher, when she served as a Fellow for the Corporation for National Service. A good primer on intergroup dialogue, the 24-page guide includes sections about why and when to engage in dialogue, what a typical dialogue looks like, a sample dialogue for AmeriCorps programs, and more. (see full post)

Survey of Leaders of Intergroup Dialogue Organizations

This survey was conducted by Sandy Heierbacher for the Center for Living Democracy and the Corporation for National Service via telephone between the months of July 1998 and February 1999. Seventy-five leaders of U.S. dialogue organizations and dialogue groups were interviewed, the vast majority of whom primarily organize intergroup dialogues on race. This survey eventually led Sandy to initiate (with others) the first National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, and to found NCDD, since it was clear that dialogue practitioners were disconnected from one another and largely unaware of the organizations and resources that were available to them. (see full post)