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"Can our field present a united front to the new Administration? Let's start by seeing if we can develop a set of principles for public engagement we can all endorse..."

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    PEP Project Update and Timeline

    What you can do now that version 3.0 is up...

    1. Determine whether your organization would be interested in endorsing the basic principles and their one-sentence descriptions, as posted at Let Sandy Heierbacher ([email protected]) know if your organization is likely to endorse the principles (we'll send you the final version on April 27th and make sure the endorsement is official). OR, let us know (by emailing Sandy or adding comments to the QuickTopic link above, what would need to be changed in order for your organization to endorse the principles.

    2. Provide feedback on the longer document posted at (the basic principles plus explanatory text about what to strive for and what to avoid).

    3. Post your feedback on version 3.0 on the PEP forum here (although we prefer you use QuickTopic if you're willing, just to keep things simpler). If you haven't used the forum yet, refer to the quick instructions post.

    Here's an update on where we're at right now, followed by a basic outline of what we're putting together and a timeline...

    The initial impetus for the Public Engagement Principles project was to prepare a document that can be presented to government officials in the Obama administration in time for possible inclusion or reference in the Open Government Directive.  To be accepted as a meaningful set of principles by these officials, it must be prepared in a way appropriate to the existing federal culture. But this demands some judicious composition that might remove from the document the wisdom of important voices from our community. Some members of our community will disagree with the exact wording of the document we will present to federal managers, feel that critical concepts have been left out, or think specific items should have been presented in a different way.

    A longer term and arguably more important goal of this project is to craft a set of principles that reflects our community and the needs, values, and practices of the members of this community.

    To be aligned with our organizational cultures and the needs of our diverse networks, NCDD, IAP2 and the Co-Intelligence Institute are providing multiple ways for those who wish to contribute to be heard and considered—in as transparent a manner as possible. We hope this helps us develop a document that represents -- to the best of our ability -- a consensus of the diverse voices and expertise in the public engagement field.

    To this end, we are drafting a document which uses the initial goal as a starting point, but allows for a series of appendices, each contributed by sub-groups of our community, each representing an interpretation and/or expansion of the basic principles.  These appendices will be written and edited by representatives of the sub-groups and added to a continuously growing principles document.

    The only limiting factor to contributing should be the willingness to endorse the basic principles listed in Section One.

    Here is an outline of the document as currently envisioned:

    I. Introduction
    i. An overview of the history, purpose and progress of this document.

    II. Basic Principles
    i. The seven principles and their one-sentence descriptions. Comment on the current draft at
    ii. A list of organizations supporting these principles (endorsements).

    III. Expanded explanation and examination of the principles
    i. The working document from the PEP Forum. (Although this section will have been developed collaboratively, involving many different organizations and individuals, this section will NOT be part of what we ask organizations to endorse.) Comment on the current draft at

    IV. The Principles Framed for Federal Managers
    i. The document being prepared for administration officials, with added resources and cases. The core PEP team and a few others with experience in democratic governance are working on this. If you work in (or closely with) government, email [email protected] if you'd like to help construct this.

    V. Appendices
    i. A series of reinterpretations, expansions or addendums to the above documents contributed by sub-groups of our community (not from individuals), and developed collaboratively.

    Current Timeline for PEP Project

    1.  On April 1st, version 3.0 of the Principles for Public Engagement were posted to the PEP forum (click here). Tom Atlee worked on this latest version to ensure that many comments on the last version were incorporated to the extent that they help articulate guidance probably considered valuable by 80-90% of the practitioners in the NCDD and IAP2 networks.  (This is an intention, not something we have means to verify.  However, checking with organizational members will facilitate this.)  Tom made explicit the assumptions underlying his work on this, and we posted them to the forum as well (click here).

    2.  On April 1st as well, Sandy posted version 3.0 to's Document Review, where people can comment on specific sections of the document, and can comment on each other's comments.  This allows another level of participation to happen.  There are two documents up at QuickTopic:  one with just the basic principles and their one-sentence descriptions (this is what we will be seeking endorsements for) at, and another with the principles, descriptions, and explanatory text at  We want feedback on both documents, but we're keeping them separate to help simplify things for organizations we're asking to consider endorsing the principles.  When in doubt, make comments on the longer version at

    3. Starting on April 2nd, Sandy and other members of the core PEP group will start contacting leading organizations and networks in the field to (1) start the ball rolling for their endorsement or (2) get them to articulate - on the doc review site or via email or phone - what would need to be changed for them to endorse the principles.  Again, we will only be asking groups to endorse the first section of the principles doc:  the names and one-sentence descriptions of the principles.

    4.  At the same time, we will be inviting all of our networks and members to participate on the document review site (and the PEP forum if they'd prefer) to help us further hone the principles and explanatory text. We will be soliciting feedback until April 17 (2 weeks), so a final round of revisions and endorsements can be done for a final document by May 1. Changes to the basic PEP principles and one-sentence descriptions will be made by April 26th, so we can circulate the principles to organizations for official endorsements.

    5.  We will also be working on some additional text and resources to be framed specifically for administration officials (to accompany the basic PEP principles and endorsements).  This will need to be completed by May 1.  Going beyond the principles, this document could include short cases/stories of quality public engagement to bring the principles to life (Matt Leighninger is working on this); resources (facilitator networks, trainings for public managers, etc.; Marty Roach is working on a list of organizations that provide general trainings); and other references/resources that would assist the Obama administration.  If you work in (or closely with) government, email [email protected] if you'd like to help construct this text.

    6.  We are also inviting segments of the public engagement field who feel their work goes beyond the basic principles in many ways to work on collaborative statements of their own to be added as appendices to the principles doc.  The principles doc will represent the mainstream of our field; the majority of practitioners, scholars and activists who are doing great work -- but there are people and groups pushing the boundaries whose perspective should be included in the final document.  If they can endorse the principles and frame their statements in a "yes, and" manner, we can include their statement in the final principles doc for the field as an appendix.  The core PEP group is still exploring what we (or at least NCDD) can/should do if a group of practitioners/organization feel they cannot endorse the principles, but would like to articulate or develop their own set of principles. We believe it is important to provide space for such contributions in some way because (a) we honor and value the diversity of our own field and (b) we want to engage mainstream D&D practitioners with various efforts to push the boundaries of our field and thus help the field as a whole continue to develop.

    7. On Monday, April 27th, Sandy and others will circulate the updated list of principles and one-sentence descriptions to leading organizations in the field for their official endorsements.

    8.  On or around May 1, Sandy will officially submit the endorsed PEP statement to Beth Noveck, along with the statement for government officials.  She will note that while the PEP statement is a current consensus document, we will continue to develop and evolve it, and that different parts of our field have different ways of framing their guiding principles, many of which are available on the NCDD website.

    9.  During May, NCDD will create a special page on the main NCDD website providing links to numerous statements of principles, values or guidelines from other D&D organizations, including any new collaborative documents created to complement, counter or modify the PEP principles we have developed through this process. This material will be extracted from this PEP forum and subsequent communications.  The forum itself, although it contains much of this material, is not the best way to present this information long-term.

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Special Note:

Welcome to the NCDD website. What you see here, in the way of web design and layout is a work in progress. The forum feature works as you would expect, but we have just begun our web re-design and are testing the "bare bones" with this conversation. Many of the links and buttons outside the forum may not work as expected and we thank you in advance for your patience with us.

This re-design marks a new chapter in the online life of NCDD. It began in 1998 with a small online project called the Dialogue to Action Initiative and became the NCDD website after our first national conference in 2002. Beginning in 2009, we are turning our focus to embracing existing tools, instead of creating our own, as a way to further the networking opportunities of our members and offer examples, through use, of the many great tools that are available to us and our community.

Visit the Main Page of our website to learn more about NCDD. Please let us know what you think of the design! Send your feedback to [email protected].