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Our regional NCDD events brought together over 700 people total this October and November. A huge shout-out to all the members of our local planning teams!

Archives for November 2010

Call for proposals for D&D student conference in March 2011    

New NCDD member Jack Becker shared this announcement with the NCDD Discussion List yesterday, and I thought I’d share it here.  I attended the first student conference (“Connecting the Dots”) in Alabama last spring, and it was a great event.  I gave a workshop on NCDD’s Engagement Streams, which was a big hit!  This year, all presenters are asked to cover their travel, lodging and registration expenses, though I’m not sure how much registration will be (it was very reasonable for the first conference).

The Citizens’ Toolbox: What’s in Yours?

This is a call for proposals for our second annual national student conference in Oxford, Ohio, March 16-19, 2011. Proposals due Friday, February 4, 2011.

Please save the date and join us at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio for the second annual national student conference on:

  • Dialogue and Deliberation
  • Campus and Community
  • Action Plans and Problem Solving and
  • Practical Application of Skills

This year’s conference theme is “The Citizens’ Toolbox: What’s in Yours?”. Continuing from last year’s successful Connect the Dots conference at Point Clear, Alabama, this conference already has a wonderful schedule planned with an exciting group of students, academics, and practitioners in attendance. Please consider hosting a workshop or learning exchange, or traveling with a poster to informally present your work!

For detailed information about the conference, please see our website at and please be sure to navigate the “call for proposals” section:

For more information please contact our steering committee at: (more…)

SDCN’s Amy Lazarus receives USA “Characters Unite” award    

Wow – this is too cool!  Congratulations to Amy Lazarus, executive director of the Sustained Dialogue Campus Network (an NCDD organizational member) for being named one of 8 of the USA Network’s 2010 Characters Unite award recipients.  Amy receives a grant of $5,000 for SDCN.  This year’s award winners were chosen from online nominations open to public.

Chris Wagner of SDCN told me they’re “excited to represent the dialogue and deliberation community,” and that “they recognized our work/this ‘field’ as fighting prejudice and discrimination, and increasing tolerance, respect and acceptance.” Learn more about the award at, and see how Amy is recognized here.

Apps due Dec. 18 for Ed Baker Fellowship in Democratic Values    

This may be of interest to those of you with a strong background on writing and research on democracy issues (note: applications are due by Dec. 18)…

With a generous gift from the estate of renowned media scholar C. Edwin Baker, Demos has established the Ed Baker Fellowship in Democratic Values. As part of their Emerging Voices Initiative, the fellowship provides:

  • Two-three years of financial support;
  • Editorial assistance and publishing connections;
  • Media training and a professional communications platform, and
  • Support for events and travel to promote fellowship work.

Based in Demos’ New York offices, Ed Baker Fellows will give voice to strong democratic values within a wide range of potential issues, including voting rights, citizen engagement, immigration policy and civic inclusion, campaign finance reform and money in politics, and media reform, among others.

Applications are now being accepted for fellowships beginning in February 2011. Candidates should have a strong writing background on democracy issues–including policy journalism, feature writing, social criticism, blogging and commentary, or documentary media work. Well-defined research and writing plans, promising to bring new information and arguments into the arena of democracy concerns, will stand out in the application process. Candidates with diverse social backgrounds and active concern to bring change in under-represented communities are especially encouraged to apply.

To apply, send an email indicating “Ed Baker Fellowship” in the subject line, and attach as separate documents your resume or CV, a 2-3 page overview of your research interests and writing plans, and a writing sample. Send to Fellows Director Lew Daly at ldaly AT demos DOT org. Please no calls. Candidates selected as finalists will be interviewed in January.

Yes, Public Engagement Works!    

The following post is from brand new NCDD blogger Craig Paterson of the California National Issues Forums Network…

No one wants to waste time, energy or enthusiasm. So…when it comes to inviting people to get engaged in a public conversation about one of our important issues, there is a normal and healthy skepticism. The problem we in the public engagement and deliberation community have is this: we haven’t prepared an answer to this most logical question. How can we know public engagement and deliberation works? This is one of our most troublesome barriers in gathering people for community conversations. Yes, public engagement works…but to see this you have to look in the right place.

This topic came up again during a workshop at the Kettering Foundation in Dayton, OH. “It’s difficult to document the effectiveness of deliberation.” As a result of a serendipity blending of learning events recently, my immediate response was “I don’t believe it is difficult…you just need to look local, rather than national.”

By the very nature of National Issues Forums (NIF), they’ve focused on thorny, systemic dilemmas that have consequences across the country. Data on deliberation on these issues then has been gathered without regard to locally unique conditions…after all, these topics most times were seen to require federal legislation for resolution to be found. But local NIF practitioners soon found this deliberative methodology to be applicable in their own communities, counties and sometimes states. In these situations, NIF-style deliberation proved itself to be visibly effective. (more…)

Report, resources, photos from NCDD Austin workshop    

I sent this message out today via Eventbrite to all 165+ attendees of our regional NCDD event in Austin on November 5th, titled “From Chaos to Collaboration: Raising the Bar in Public Engagement.” Since there are so many great resources in the Central TX team’s report on the event, I thought I’d post this on the blog as well.

1. Download the Central TX team’s wonderful report on the workshop at .  The report summarizes the day (including poll results, highlights from panels, etc.), includes some of the great handouts the team created (Principes for Creating Chaos, core principles flowchart, Steps in Public Engagement Processes, etc.) and acknowledges our fabulous planning team members, sponsors, partners, scholarship contributors, speakers and presenters.  It also includes gems like the opening monologue by Larry Schooler (D&D Airlines flight from Chaos to Collaboration).  The report is worth a look no matter where you’re based!

2. The report also features many photos of the event, and you can see even more of them at the “ncddaustin” tag on Flickr. Check the photos out at and be sure to tag your own photos with the ncddaustin tag (as well as “ncdd2010″ and “ncdd”).

3. NCDD’s beautiful new Resource Guide on Public Engagement, which was distributed to all attendees, is available for free download at .  We’re also going to be making print copies available for a small charge (event sponsors will get a discount).

Thanks, everyone.  We hope you had a wonderful holiday!

- Sandy Heierbacher, Director of NCDD, [email protected]
- Diane Miller, Assistant Director, Envision Central Texas (Planning Team Leader), [email protected]
- Juli Fellows, Ph.D., Consultant
- Larry Schooler, Community Engagement Consultant, City of Austin
- Taylor Willingham, Consultant and Founder, Texas Forums
- Patricia Wilson, Ph.D., Professor, University of Texas at Austin
- Susan Schultz, Program Director, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the University of Texas at Austin
- Rod Reyna, Coach, advisor, trainer, speaker and facilitator
- Stephanie Nestlerode, Founding Partner, Omega Point International, Inc.
- Steven Fearing, Management Analyst/Consultant, Texas Department of Aging and Disability Services
- Vicki Totten, Associate Professor of Counseling, St. Edward’s University
- Betty Gilmore, Ph.D., Training Program Director, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution at the University of Texas at Austin
- David Gaddy, Owner and Principal, Eye Cue Studio (our Graphic Recorder)
- Kelty Garby, Doctoral student in the College of Education and a graduate of the LBJ School of Public Affairs at UT Austin (our Evaluation designer)

IJP2 folded into JPD    

More big news from IAP2…

IAP2′s International Journal for Public Participation (IJP2) has “joined” the DDC’s Journal of Public Deliberation (JPD).

The post “IAP2 Joins Journal of Public Deliberation” is online at Carson is the essay editor and the main contacts (co-editors) for the JPD are David Procter and Timothy Steffensmeier of Kansas State University’s Institute for Civic Discousrse and Democracy. Carson, David and Timothy are all NCDD members, so you can click on their names to learn more about them in the NCDD members network.

U.S. affiliate of IAP2 launched    

I thought some NCDDers would be interested to know that the Board of Directors of IAP2 (the International Association of Public Participation) announced on the 17th the approval of a new U.S. affiliate. IAP2 has been transitioning to a new “federation model” for the past 6 months or so, and an official U.S. affiliate (IAP2 USA) is an important step in that process.

A number of NCDD members who are also involved in IAP2 have been working on the affiliate application, including Tim Bonnemann, Nancy Glock-Grueneich, John Godec and Beth Offenbacker (among others).  You can download the whole affiliate application here.  Also – nominations for IAP2 USA board members are being accepted until December 3rd (more info here).

You can stay up to date on news about the new IAP2 USA affiliate by checking in at the interim public website for the affiliate at

From the affiliate application, it looks like the plan for membership dues is to offer several options, including professional membership (individuals whose primary activities revolve around public participation) for $140/year, associate membership (for those whose P2 work is secondary) for $75, and student membership for $40.

NCDD 2010 — The power of positive networking…    

After catching our breath from this fall’s wonderful events, we here at NCDD central have settled into the task of collecting media and materials from all the conferences. We’re especially looking for anecdotes from participants (share yours with me at ). Once again we were so pleased with the quality and variety of experiences our community brought to the table, but we also realize that, at the end of the day, it’s the networking opportunities that are prized by our participants and we’re happy to hear so many stories about the new connections made.

For example, Brad Stauffer, Director of Communications of the Colorado Association of School Boards, a NCDD Denver participant, shared the following with us…

There’s always one nugget you can pull from any gathering of professionals. My nugget from the NCDD event in Denver was an idea that was sparked by Peggy Kerns from the National Conference of State Legislatures. She spoke about her organization’s effort to promote the public engagement process with state legislators. I met with her today to dig deeper, and I am going to present to Colorado school board members next week to encourage them to transform their grassroots advocacy strategies into a public engagement process that involves legislators from the start.

If you would like to share your anecdote from the event you attended, please send it to me at .

Find similar posts: ncdd events

Reflections on NCDD Portland event from Leif Utne    

Check out Leif Utne’s wonderful posts about the Portland NCDD conference, which brought 190 people together this past Saturday, making it the largest of our 5 fall regional events. The two posts can be found on Leif’s blog (general reflections here and a post on Gov 2.0 and D&D here), but I wanted to share an excerpt…

“Kudos to the entire organizing team (especially crack facilitators Walt Roberts and Tod Sloan) for putting together a fantastic event that left me enlightened and inspired. It was the perfect antidote to the toxic partisanship of the recent election season.

A Few Highlights
My head is still spinning from the rich stew of ideas, models, processes and projects presented at the event, to say nothing of the amazing people. Herewith, a few highlights:

1. The People
The best thing about this gathering was the people. (I love hanging out with facilitators and social process geeks.) The attendees, about 180 in all, consisted of a mix of professional facilitators, academics, community organizers, techies, consultants, corporate and philanthropic leaders, and government officials. It was great to spend time with old friends and co-conspirators like Joseph McCormick, Susan Partnow, Howard Silverman, John Spady, Peggy Holman, Jim Rough, and one of my personal heroes, Tom Atlee. To finally meet folks long I’ve admired, like DeAnna Martin and Sandy Heierbacher. And to make tons of new connections with inspiring people who are in the trenches daily endeavoring to make democracy work.

2. The Process
Most conferences (and I attend a lot) are sorely lacking in one respect: interactivity. They don’t build in enough opportunities for dialogue — between audience and presenters, or, more importantly, between participants. The old, didactic model of experts at the front of the room dropping knowledge on the audience followed by a short Q&A period misses so many opportunities for participants to interact in creative, generative ways that spark new connections, deepen the conversation and harness the wisdom of everyone in the room. This conference, by contrast, was beautifully designed and facilitated for maximum dialogue potential.

I wish conference planners everywhere would take a few pages from NCDD’s book and design many more opportunities for dialogue and interactivity into their events…

Workspace Session Reports from NCDD Boston Event    

The “workspace session” towards the end of the day at the NCDD Boston Event (October 29, 2010) provided participants with an opportunity to discuss and work through ongoing cases or key issues in the field. At the end of the sessions, facilitators were asked to briefly answer the following questions:

  1. What key points or insights from your conversation would you like us to post on the NCDD blog?
  2. What plans, if any, do you have to continue this conversation after the meeting?

In the hope of continuing these conversations after the event, we have compiled the answers to these questions and information on who to contact to join any of the continuing conversations.  Download the workspace reports here.

Thank you to our workspace leaders for leading these thought-provoking sessions and submitting their summaries!

Workspace topics included:

  • Using a Web-Based Discussion Forum to Help Voters Prepare for a New England Town Meeting
  • Economic Security: How Can Public Dialogue Impact Public Policy
  • Training and Capacity-Building for Public Engagement: How can we give our leaders the tools they need to engage us?
  • Building capacity for public officials and leaders to help integrate collaborative governance into how they carry out their missions.
  • Finding a Way to Work Together: Public-Private Partnerships in Biddeford, ME
  • Not (Just) Another Public Meeting
  • What Can NCDD Do to Help Foster Regional Networking?
  • Big Change on a Small Budget
  • Politics, Policy and Citizen Participation in City Governance
  • Learning from efforts to launch city-wide dialogues on contraception in Gloucester, MA
  • Questions about Online Dialogue and What Works
  • Working Wisely with “Unsolvable” Problems: Managing Polarities in Public Dialogue

Have you seen NCDD’s new Resource Guide yet?    

Have you seen NCDD’s new Resource Guide on Public Engagement?  If you’ve attended our regional events this fall, you have.  Those of you gathering together in Portland this weekend (see you there!) will get a copy.

Others can download the doc from  We’re planning on raising funds for the next round of printing by charging small amounts ($5 each; $3 each if you want more than 20?) for the printed copies we have leftover from the events.  Everybody seems to want them, which is great!

Showcasing NCDD’s best work (like the Core Principles for Public Engagement and the Engagement Streams Framework), NCDD’s October 2010 Resource Guide on Public Engagement also recognizes a lot of the great work that has been done by others in our field.

Created to supplement our 2010 regional events (all attendees receive one copy of the publication), this resource guide was developed to share stories and resources with the dialogue and deliberation community, public managers, and anyone else with an interest in public engagement. It’s a must-have resource, and people have even told us it’s worth the cost of registration!

Advice on buying/renting tablecloths for World Cafe?    

I’d like to tap into our wonderful network here to find out where people recommend buying tablecloths for World Cafe-style dialogue — and what type of tablecloths you recommend (fabric, paper, color, etc.).  For the regional NCDD event in Portland this weekend, we are holding an evening World Cafe on Friday that is open to the public.  Then we’ll be holding our one-day Cascadia Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation all day on Saturday.  So we’ll need to use the tablecloths both days.

We’re renting 36″ 4-person round cafe tables, which is ideal for World Cafe and should serve us well for the whole program.  But renting the tables costs about $9 each (we need 50 for an expected 200 attendees), and it actually costs an additional $10 per table plus additional staff time to also rent linens for the tables.  We’ll pay that if we have to, but a quick google search implies that you can actually buy fabric tablecloths for half that price!  (And then we could give them to a planning team member to use again.)

I’d love to know if any of you have a company you recommend buying tablecloths from (we need to buy them asap so they can ship to arrive in Portland by Friday), what type of tablecloths you recommend, and what size we should order for 36″ tables.  I’ve always gotten them from the venue, so this is new to me.

To reciprocate, here are a few links to the places I always work with for our events (best prices, great service):

Please add a comment here on the NCDD blog today with your tips if you have experience with this:

Find similar posts: All,ncdd events

As seen on a T-shirt at the Restore Sanity rally…    

“Saniteer: One who advocates for, practices and defends rational discourse and civility towards all people, regardless of political views. Collectively, our nation’s best hope for restoring honor, respect and functionality. D.C. 10.30.10″

- from Peg Carlson-Bowen, the inimitable leader of our NorCal planning team (for the October 29th NCDD regional event in Cupertino, CA)

Some Reactions to Last Week’s Events at De Anza College & UMass Boston    

We have received so many thank you’s and kind comments that we just can’t list them all here, but we appreciate them so much and return them in kind because we cannot hold these events without the participation and wisdom of our community.

There have been a few (and more to come, I’m sure) that I would like to share, including the previous post featuring Edwin Rutsch’s fantastic videos.

Vicky Schubert, of Inspired Alliance Coaching, who attended the Boston event, wrote to thank us and added about the NCDD community: “What thoughtful, capable, powerful people.”  She has a post up on her blog about last weeks event on the UMass Boston campus.

Ted Heinz, who attended the NorCal event at De Anza College, wrote:

Fridays event at De Anza College was a very meaningful experience for me. Going in I thought the conference might be limited only to citizen participation as far as making policy decisions.  But now I see that the vision is much bigger and open to many new possibilities.  I find the NCDD Resource Guide on Public Engagement an inspiration and a great way for me to tie up the loose ends of Friday’s experience.

Craig Paterson, of the California NIF Network, who also attended the NorCal event, shared the following:

…it was a good day because once again I was totally impressed with the commitment and capabilities of these NCDD professionals and government administrators. Here are a few snippets from the day:

-  If it doesn’t start with kindness, it cannot truly serve the community
-  A necessary city-wide mantra: “Build a great community…together”
-  Residents need to move from being ‘customers’ to being ‘citizens’
-  Civic engagement is not selling the public on something…or getting votes for something…or a process where government staff or non-profits control the outcome…it is a way for public officials to use their skills to encourage and incorporate citizen input in critical, local decisions
-  The public must become active participants in solving problems…not just taxpayers or advisory committee members
-  The concept of the ‘facilitator steward’ needs more consideration…recognizing the need to treat group process in public deliberation as a valuable investment for the future

Find similar posts: ncdd events

Fantastic Videos from NCDD 2010 Event at De Anza College    

Edwin Rutsch from the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy has uploaded a series of great videos from our NorCal event to his website, including the following four minute overview which captures, so well, the spirit and energy of the day.

There are nearly two hours of content, including videos from the “Moving from Challenge to Opportunity in Public Engagement” session with civic leaders Jim Keene of Palo Alto, Mark Linder of Cupertino, and Ed Everett of Redwood City; the “Public Engagement: What Makes It the Real Thing?” session with Pete Peterson of Common Sense California; and the “Building Sustainable Community Networks: Collaboration & Partnerships” session with Ed Everett of Redwood City and Daniel Homsey of the San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network.  You can watch them all here.

Find similar posts: ncdd events

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