National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation's

Local, Regional and National Events

bringing the growing dialogue & deliberation community together

Skip to main content.

ncdd events

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)

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 [email protected]). 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 [email protected].

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):

  • PCNametag (name tags and great name tag ribbons):
  • School Stationers (affordable flip charts, easels, markers and more):
  • PsPrint (high quality full-color printing at the best prices I can find):

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

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

Buzz on yesterday’s NCDD events in Cupertino, CA and Boston, MA    

It’s been a long 3 days, but Andy and I are back home.  The Boston NCDD event was wonderful yesterday, and attendees had these things to say at the event:

  • “This may be the best conference I’ve ever attended.”
  • “The people and conversations here have been amazing!”
  • “You guys really know how to do this.”

Many people told me they were energized by the event, and reminded why the work we do in this field is so important.  I feel the same way having experienced the Boston event:  completely energized and reminded why I put in the long hours.

I’ve been hearing great buzz about yesterday’s NorCal NCDD event in Cupertino, too — Boston and NorCal were both on Friday, and it broke my heart that I couldn’t attend both.

Here’s some of what attendee Craig Paterson sent to his email list last night in reflection:

Today was a very good day! I attended the Northern California gathering of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) in Cupertino, CA. No surprise…it was very well planned and facilitated! The theme for the session was “Making Tough Decisions…Together”…focusing on our natural professional partnerships with city and county administrators where budget shortfalls are causing significant adjustments and turmoil. It wasn’t a good day because of all the turmoil in our current fiscal crisis…it was a good day because once again I was totally impressed with the commitment and capabilities of these NCDD professionals and government administrators.

Credit for designing these smashing events goes to our local planning teams, with a special shout-out to superstars Peg Carlson-Bowen and Jennifer Mair in NorCal and Courtney Breese and Barbara Simonetti in Boston.  More props and kudos to come, for these folks and many others.

Of course, if you’re in Texas or in the Cascadia region, don’t forget to register for the Austin event next Friday (Nov 5) and the Portland event the following Saturday (Nov 13) if you haven’t already.  We’ll easily have over 150 people at each of those events, and you won’t want to miss out.  I’ll be attending both, so I look forward to seeing many of you there!

Friday’s Denver event was a hit!    

Our Denver event was on Friday, and it was a smashing success! Attendee reviews are coming in now, and include:

  • “The collection of people was great. Many different sectors of public life.”
  • “I gained some new connections and reconnected with others, but above all for me, it always reenergizes me to get together with people passionate about this work.”
  • “The energy was high, and I thought the event was a big success.”

Boston is full and NorCal is about to be capped, but you can still join us in Austin (Nov. 5) and Portland (Nov. 13) if you’d like! More details about all of NCDD’s fall regional events is posted at

A huge THANK-YOU to our all-volunteer Denver Planning Team for pulling off the event with grace:

And THANK YOU to our local sponsors (below) as well as all our national sponsors!

Register today for NCDD regionals!    

Don’t wait much longer to register for NCDD’s regional events!  Boston is almost full (and we will have to close registration very soon), and Denver is a little over a week away!  All 5 events are attracting some impressive participants, and you can see the attendee list on each of the registration pages. Altogether, we have about 350 attendees so far!

Like all NCDD events, these events are member-led, highly participatory, and highly creative, and they are bringing together extraordinary people you’ll enjoy meeting and networking with.

Register today or to look over the attendee list by clicking on the event near you at this link:

And if you’re not able to join us and haven’t signed on as a sponsor or partner, consider showing your support by making a small donation to the event of your choice.  We’ll use it to help students and others attend, and contributions of $20 or more will be acknowledged on the NCDD site.

A big thank-you to our event sponsors!    

We’re bringing the much-loved National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation to you this year, with NCDD members stepping up to organize regional one-day events in Austin, Boston, Denver, Portland and the San Francisco Bay Area this fall. The events will connect community leaders, public managers and practitioners to help build knowledge and capacity in solving tough community problems regionally through dialogue, deliberation and action.

The events are quite the community effort, with dozens of people donating their time and expertise to put on valuable events, and with numerous national, regional and local organizations showing their support of the events by becoming sponsors.  We created this post to acknowledge and thank our amazing national (All-Star) and local sponsors.

It’s not too late to add your own organization (or yourself) to the list of Sponsors and Partners!  All-Star Sponsors contribute $1500, Sponsors contribute $500, and Partners contribute $250 to help offset event costs and foster local and national networking and knowledge-sharing (more info on sponsorship).

Our All-Star Sponsors for all 5 upcoming NCDD regional events:

Learn more about our amazing All-Star Sponsors.

Our Sponsors for the Northern California event:

  • De Anza College’s Institute for Community & Civic Engagement (our co-host)
  • City of Cupertino (our co-host)
  • BayNVC
  • California Forward
  • Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership
  • The Institute for Local Government’s Public Engagement and Collaborative Governance program
  • Public Dialogue Consortium

Our Partners for the Northern California event:

  • Cohousing California
  • Common Knowledge
  • Community At Work
  • Institute for Conflict Analysis and Engagement at Antioch University Midwest
  • Municipal Management Association of Northern California
  • San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN)
  • SEEDS Community Resolution Center
  • Deborah Goldblatt of Wiser Together

Learn more about our NorCal Sponsors and Partners.

Our Sponsor for the Denver event:

  • Conflict Resolution Institute at the University of Denver

Our Partners for the Denver event:

  • Co-Intelligence Institute
  • Corporation for Positive Change

Learn more about our Denver Sponsors.

Our Sponsors for the Austin event:

  • St. Edward’s University, New College (our host)
  • The City of Austin
  • Bluebonnet Hills Christian Church
  • Capital Metro
  • E3 Alliance
  • Lower Colorado River Authority

Our Partners for the Austin event:

  • American Planning Association, Central Texas Section
  • Civic Engagement Initiative of the UT Center for Sustainable Development
  • Community Action Network
  • Conflict Resolution Center at the University of Texas in Austin
  • Greenlights
  • Liveable City
  • Omega Point International, Inc.
  • United Way Capital Area
  • Juli Fellows, Ph.D.
  • Linda Anderson Welsh, Ph.D.

Learn more about our Austin Sponsors and Partners.

Our Sponsors for the Boston event:

  • University of Mass. Boston’s Office of Public Collaboration (our host)
  • Clark University Difficult Dialogues Initiative
  • Consensus Building Institute
  • The Democracy Imperative
  • Englewood Area Community Foundation
  • Meister Consultants Group

Our Partners for the Boston event:

  • Diapraxis
  • New England Center for Civic Life at Franklin Pierce University
  • Orton Family Foundation

Learn more about our Boston Sponsors and Partners.

Our Sponsors for the Portland event:

  • City of Portland, Office of Neighborhood Involvement (our host)
  • Healthy Democracy Oregon

Our Partners for the Portland event:

  • Co-Intelligence Institute
  • Countywide Community Forums of King County
  • IAP2 Cascade Chapter
  • Policy Consensus Initiative (PCI)

Learn more about our Portland Sponsors and Partners.

Thank you, so much, to all our Sponsors and Partners, for helping NCDD make these events successful!

Update on Oct 22 networking luncheon in Denver    

If you’re based in Colorado, please plan to join us at the networking luncheon and dialogue we’re holding in Denver on Friday, October 22nd at The Wellshire Inn.  We will meet at 10:30am at the Wellshire, and enjoy lunch and group discussions until 3:30pm. After 3:30, you are welcome to stick around for additional networking and an early happy hour!

The planning team is putting together a great program, with impressive leaders in public engagement playing various roles:

  • Peggy Kerns, Director of the Center for Ethics in Government of the National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Peter Adler, President of the Keystone Center
  • Martin Carcasson, Director of the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University
  • Stan Deetz, Director of the CU Center for the Study of Conflict, Collaboration and Creative Governance
  • Paul Alexander, Director of the Regis University Institute for the Common Good
  • Amanda Roman, Executive Director of the Citizens in Charge Foundation
  • Steve Konieczka, Doctoral Candidate in UC Boulder Communication Department
  • Drew O’Connor, Co-Director of the Civic Canopy

Register now at  Registration is just $30 for dues-paying NCDD members and students ($40 for others).

Our amazing All-Star Sponsors (for all 5 upcoming events) include the National Conference of State Legislatures, AmericaSpeaks, the Public Conversations Project, Everyday Democracy, the Citizens in Charge Foundation and the University of Mass. Boston Office of Public Collaboration.

We’re excited to say that the Conflict Resolution Institute at the University of Denver has stepped up as a sponsor of the Denver event, but they could use some company so let me know ([email protected]) if you’d like more info about sponsorship!

Register now for NorCal event in Cupertino    

I hope those of you in Northern California are planning to join us for the NCDD regional event on Friday, October 29th at De Anza College in Cupertino! Please register for “Making Tough Decisions Together” soon so we know you’re coming.

This is quite the community effort, with numerous local organizations sponsoring (listed below) and the following regional leaders involved in guiding the planning process and leading learning sessions at the event:

  • Dave Knapp, City Manager of Cupertino, CA
  • Ed Everett, City Manager of Redwood City, CA
  • Pete Petersen, Executive Director, Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership/Common Sense California
  • Terry Amsler, Program Director, Collaborative Governance Initiative
  • Daniel Homsey, Director, Neighborhood Empowerment Network

These leaders have been actively involved in making sure this event addresses the real-world issues you face in your communities. You’ll be able to interact with them in a hands-on workshop environment to learn successful ways to engage and mobilize people around difficult issues.

Making Tough Decisions Together is co-hosted by De Anza’s Institute for Community and Civic Engagement (ICCE) and the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD).

This conference will bring together elected officials, local government managers and staff, community leaders, students and public engagement practitioners from across Northern California for a day-long conference and workshop to explore practical and innovative strategies for working together to make the tough choices communities face today.

The day is designed to be highly interactive, focusing on best practices in public engagement and community building taking place in various communities in Northern California, and it’s a good value—registration is just $85 ($70 for NCDD members, $42 for students). Lunch is included.

Download the event flyer, or visit for more info on the event, our sponsors, and our amazing planning team. Registration is live at

Shout-0ut to our All-Star Sponsors for all 5 upcoming NCDD regional events:

  • AmericaSpeaks
  • Citizens in Charge Foundation
  • Everyday Democracy
  • National Conference of State Legislatures
  • Public Conversations Project
  • University of Mass. Boston’s Office of Public Collaboration (MODR)

Our Sponsors for the Northern California event:

  • California Forward
  • Davenport Institute for Public Engagement and Civic Leadership
  • Public Dialogue Consortium
  • The Institute for Local Government

Our Partners for the Northern California event:

  • San Francisco Neighborhood Empowerment Network (NEN)
  • Community At Work
  • SEEDS Community Resolution Center
  • Common Knowledge
  • Deborah Goldblatt of Wiser Together

Learn more about all our sponsors at — and feel free to join their ranks! All-Star Sponsors contribute $1500, Sponsors contribute $500, and Partners contribute $250 to help offset event costs and foster local and national networking and knowledge-sharing (more info on sponsorship).

Workshop opportunities at NCDD Austin event    

Joining us in Austin on Nov. 5th for the NCDD regional event “From Chaos to Collaboration: Raising the bar in public engagement”? The Central Texas D&D Network is looking for a few additional presenters to make their upcoming workshop more interactive, productive and relevant…

Here are three opportunities for you to contribute, with links to an online form you can complete if you’re interested. The deadline for submitting is Friday, October 22.

  1. D&D Marketplace: Sign up for a table at our D&D Marketplace that will take place from approximately from 1:00 - 2:00. This will be an “open space” casual (non-presentation-style) format where you will have an opportunity to share some tools, methods, or insights you have gained.
  2. Practitioner Consultant: Provide two hours of consulting services for free to our conference sponsors following the workshop. As a perk to our $500 level sponsors, we are asking practitioners interested in building their business to donate two hours of consulting time to our sponsors. It’s a win-win situation! You get face time with a potential client and they get two hours of consulting from a potential service provider.
  3. Community Examples: Send information about an example of a public engagement project that we can use as an example of activities taking place in Central Texas.

This is an exciting opportunity to highlight your work and to contribute to our learning community. I hope that you will jump on this chance and I look forward to seeing you on November 5. Also, don’t forget to register and to spread the word.

Learn more about the workshop at and register today at

© 2003-2010 National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation.
Learn more about us or explore this site.