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decision making

The “decision making” stream of practice is focused on influencing decisions and policy, and improving public knowledge. Some of the methods that fall under this category are National Issues Forums, Citizens Juries, Deliberative Polling, 21st Century Town Meeting, Citizen Choicework, and Consensus Conference.

Job opening at Public Agenda for Public & Stakeholder Engagement Associate    

Public Agenda, a national non-profit, non-partisan research and civic engagement organization, and an NCDD organizational member, is seeking a public & stakeholder engagement associate. Public Agenda (www.publicagenda.org) is at the forefront of the vibrant field of public & stakeholder deliberation/collaborative problem solving and is pleased to offer this opportunity for a confident, motivated professional.

Public Agenda’s public and stakeholder engagement methodologies and practices include issue framing, community forums, leadership dialogues, and on-line engagement strategies. Current projects involve work with community-based organizations and leaders at all levels across the United States to build capacity for engaging critical stakeholders in problem solving on issues around K-12 and higher education reform, economic development/regional planning, the environment/energy use, health care and others. The engagement associate will work on a variety of research and writing tasks, on field–based work on diverse projects, and will assist with organizational tasks in support of a busy department.

Public Agenda is looking for a highly motivated, collaborative fully bi-lingual (Spanish/English) individual who is interested in joining their team in New York City and developing into a project leader over time. (more…)

Submit your nominations for Vitalizing Democracy through Participation award    

Hi, everyone!  I’ve announced before that the 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize is focused on the work that many of you do:  “Vitalizing Democracy through Participation.”  The prize carries a value of €150,000.  NCDD member Hans-Peter Meister is one of the leads on the research team for this award, and I know he would like to see more submissions from NCDD members.  Matt Leighninger (another NCDDer) is also on the research team. (Note: the deadline for nominations is August 22nd.)

Nominees should be governmental institutions (departments, administrations, towns, etc.) that have shown innovative democratic leadership by making a strong and lasting contribution to vitalizing democracy through participatory projects, program or structural measures. The prize will be awarded to a governmental institution – possibly in cooperation with a non-governmental actor – which has initiated successful projects (or programs) to vitalize democracy, to integrate underrepresented citizens and to establish new forms of democratic problem-solving capacities through participation. It is crucial that the projects and actions can be adapted to the German context, as the Bertelsmann Stiftung aims to draw on these examples of international best practice as inspiration for possible future projects.

At this point it looks like there are about a dozen nominations posted, so the odds are not too shabby if you submit a new nomination.  The current nominations (which you can vote and comment on now) including Roger Bernier’s Public Engagement Project on Pandemic Influenza Vaccine Priorities, CaliforniaSpeaks, Bridgeport, CT Community Conversations, and a few others you might recognize.

Below is the full announcement I received this morning… (more…)

Keep track of today’s national town hall on the budget    

As you hopefully know because we’ve posted about this numerous times, today is AmericaSpeaks’ national town hall on “Our Budget, Our Economy.”  NCDD has served as a promotional partner for the event, and many NCDDers are involved in various capacities (I’d be there myself, but tonight is my 20-year high school reunion).

Across the U.S., thousands of people have come together to take part in this national discussion.  I’ve been following the day’s events off and on today, by watching the live feed at http://ht.ly/23CXB (which is showing real small-group discussions happening in different cities; it’s pretty cool and fascinating to watch) and following what people are posting on twitter today with the hash tag #usabudget.  Thought some of you might want to check out these links, too!

Final chance to sign up for national deliberation on Our Budget, Our Economy    

I wanted to remind everyone that on June 26th, thousands of concerned citizens — and a whole bunch of NCDDers — are coming together for an unprecedented national conversation on our budget and economy hosted by NCDD organizational member AmericaSpeaks. (NCDD is a promotional partner for this event.)

Together, we’ll find common ground on the tough choices our nation will have to make in the years ahead in order to ensure that growing debt payments don’t crowd out our national priorities, like education, healthcare, national defense, and transportation infrastructure.  Learn more about Our Budget, Our Economy at http://usabudgetdiscussion.org/.

If you’re not already signed up (or facilitating!), I encourage you to participate in the event nearest you this Saturday (June 26) – and help spread the word by sharing this message with others in your networks.

Can you participate in a meeting near you on June 26?

The event you attend will link you to thousands of other Americans around the country via satellite video, webcasts, and interactive technologies. Experts will brief us on the basic budget challenges we’re facing, and then we’ll work together to identify shared priorities and discuss options we have to reduce the national debt. Most importantly: the results of all the meetings across the US will be compiled into a report that will be submitted to the White House and Congress later this summer.

We are working to have this non-partisan citizen discussion reflect the political, socioeconomic, and ethnic diversity of the United States. So, please invite your friends — and I hope to see you there.

Also- for those interested, the issue guide for Our Budget, Our Economy, titled Federal Budget 101: An Introduction to the Federal Budget and our Fiscal Chalelnges, can now be downloaded here.

OpenGov and the Gulf Coast Restoration Plan (July 16th)    

I just got an invitation from NCDD member Lucas Cioffi for July’s Open Government Community Summit (July 16 from 9-12 EST, location in D.C. TBD).  Previous summits and workshops have been hosted by the Department of Transportation, the General Services Administration, the US Department of Agriculture, and the US Department of Treasury.

Who: This workshop is open to federal, state, and local officials involved in restoring our nation’s Gulf Coast.  Members of the Open Gov Community from the private sector and non-profit organizations are also welcome to participate. RSVP here by July 14th: http://gulf-coast-restoration.eventbrite.com/

What: The summit will focus on the intersection of open government and the Gulf Coast Restoration Plan which President Obama assigned to the Secretary of the Navy on June 15th. (more…)

App Deadline Extended to July 2 for Fielding DDPE Certificate Pgm    

If you’ve been thinking about enrolling in Fielding’s award-winning Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Certificate program, now may be a good time. They’ve just extended the deadline to apply for sponsorships to July 2nd and wanted to invite all NCDD members to apply!

Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Certificate (DDPE)
August 16, 2010 – January 18, 2011

SPONSORSHIP OPPORTUNITY

Deadline Extended to July 2, 2010

The dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement certificate helps you build mastery by working with a scholar-practitioner model of collaborative learning and reflective practice. An exceptional faculty of scholar-practitioners who do real world work in diverse contexts and cultures, will support your learning and provide coaching for a culminating capstone project over 19 weeks of online, telephone, and 2 face to face workshops. (more…)

New report by Barnett & Kim Pearce on public managers’ views of public engagement    

The February 2010 report to the Kettering Foundation, “Aligning the Work of Government to Strengthen the Work of Citizens: A Study of Public Administrators in Local and Regional Government,” was written by my friends (and NCDD members) Barnett Pearce (pictured here) and Kimberly A. Pearce. The Pearces’ report surveys California administrative leaders from cities and counties, noting their changing views of “public engagement.” The main research question for the study was “What do public administrators need to know and to do in order to promote and respond constructively to an engaged community?” Downloadable here from the NCDD site.

The primary research method was participatory action research. The Pearces took advantage of an opportunity to work with Common Sense California (CSC), a multi-party, nonprofit organization founded in 2005 whose purpose is “to help solve California’s public problems by promoting citizens’ participation in governance.” They offered their services in helping design and evaluate a series of seminars for public administrators in exchange for access to those seminars and contacts and information gathered in other CSC projects.

The report is chock-full of useful quotes from public managers like this one:

“It is part of our job to get the public engaged to give a meaningful voice and ultimately have control over their government…[civic engagement] is not in addition to, but it is the work…if we are going to be as good as we can be in serving the community.”

- David Bosch, Manager, San Mateo County

Here are the sections included in the must-read conclusion of this paper:

  • Public administrators question the public’s will or ability to communicate responsibly in civic engagement.
  • Public administrators think of civic engagement in the context of their professional responsibilities.
  • Public administrators are reassured by the experience of their peers and adaptable examples.
  • Civic engagement involves “culture change” and “authenticity.”
  • Public administrators have powerful motivations to support civic engagement.
  • Public administrators know that they need to develop new skills for supporting civic engagement, but are not sure what those skills are.

About the Authors: Barnett Pearce is Professor Emeritus at Fielding Graduate University; Kim Pearce is Professor at De Anza College. Both are Principals of Pearce Associates, Inc. and Founding Members of the Public Dialogue Consortium

Job Opening: Director of Online Engagement & Participation at AmericaSpeaks    

There’s a great job opening at AmericaSpeaks for those looking…

The Director of Online Engagement and Participation will lead AmericaSpeaks’ initiatives to design, facilitate and organize online participatory processes that provide citizens and stakeholders with a greater voice in governance processes. The Director will be responsible for generating new projects through which AmericaSpeaks may engage the public online, representing AmericaSpeaks in discussions with federal agencies about how to use online methods to create a more open government, managing a group of online associates and partners to deliver online engagement programs, and forming and nurturing partnerships with other online innovators. The Director will also oversee the organization’s online and social media presence. Full job description below. (more…)

Deliberative democracy master class and workshop with John Dryzek    

Susanna Haas-Lyons just shared this with the NCDD Discussion list, and I thought it was worth posting here for those of you in the U.K…

Deliberative Democracy Master-class and Workshop, John Dryzek, 30 June – 2 July 2010

John Dryzek will be leading a one-day master-class in deliberative democracy at the London School of Economics on 30 June 2010. Immediately following the master-class (1 and 2 July) there will be a two-day workshop of presentations on the theme ‘The epistemic potential and empirical realities of deliberative democracy’. (more…)

Facilitators needed on June 26 for national town meeting on the economy    

On June 26, 2010, thousands of Americans across the country will participate in the AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy National Town Meeting, an unprecedented national discussion on finding solutions for the budget and deficit. The National Town Meeting will take place in locations all across the country, connected live via satellite video, webcast and interactive technologies.

The purpose of this national discussion is to find common ground on tough choices about our budget. Throughout the day, Americans across the country will weigh-in on strategies to ensure a sustainable fiscal future and a strong economic recovery. The national discussion will be a chance to demonstrate that the American public can find common ground across demographic, geographic and political divides and that we as a nation can govern ourselves in a new way.

Skilled volunteer table facilitators are crucial to the success of the meeting and the work is varied, challenging, and fun. Facilitators are responsible for drawing out equal participation from their table of ten participants, focusing the group’s conversation, and holding respectful space for differences of opinion and communication styles.

AmericaSpeaks is currently recruiting table facilitators for the following Town Meeting locations: (more…)

Article on Deliberative Polling published in The Economist    

NCDD member Jim Fishkin was just featured in an article in The Economist print edition. If you aren’t familiar with Jim yet, he’s Director of the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford and creator of the Deliberative Poll.

The article, titled “Ancient Athens online: Democracy is about discussion, not just voting” can be viewed in full at this link. It begins with a bit of history about the use of random selection for public deliberation…

REFLECTION and representation are not an easy fit. For an individual voter, being well-informed about every twist of public policy is an irrational use of time. But leaving a self-selecting elite of wonks and careerists in charge of policy-making is unappealing. In ancient Athens, which invented both democracy and the dilemma, a machine called a kleroterion picked a random 500 people to make policy from the 50,000-odd polity. The jury excluded women and slaves and the decisions it reached were sometimes dodgy (condemning Socrates was probably a mistake). But the approach is returning in a modern guise, under the label of “deliberative democracy”.

It also included some helpful stats about the impact of deliberative polls in participants’ opinions…

Discussions and briefing often lead to a shift away from populist viewpoints. In a recent poll in Britain support for making party manifesto promises legally binding plunged from 41% to 18%. In recession-hit Michigan a discussion raised support for bigger taxes (from 27% to 45% for income tax, for example). By contrast, support for cuts in corporate taxes rocketed 27 points to 67%: the more people thought about the issue, the more they wanted a better business environment and a lower deficit. But some results are discomfiting (at least for those with this newspaper’s views). A pan-European poll in October 2007 found that support for European Union membership for Turkey and Ukraine fell by a fifth as the discussion progressed. Deliberation counts for something, with a statistically significant shift in opinion on three out of four questions, and the biggest changes coming from those whose gains in knowledge are the greatest.

50-page lit review on citizen participation    

Now HERE’S a resource for you… the 50-page Understanding Participation: A Literature Review covers a wide range of participatory activities that are often viewed in isolation. Download it here.

The review brings together different bodies of literature on participation, including literature on community development, volunteering, public participation, social movements, everyday politics and ethical consumption. It looks at the historical and current drivers of participation, the activities and actors of participation and different theoretical approaches that contribute to a better understanding of participation. It closes with our emerging ‘participation framework’ that we aim to further develop and refine in the subsequent stages of the project.

This literature review forms part of a major national research project called “Pathways through Participation: What creates and sustains active citizenship?” led by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) in partnership with the Institute for Volunteering Research (IVR) and Involve. All three UK-based organizations have a history of researching the different forms of participation that will be explored in the project.

(A shout-out to NCDD members Steven Clift and Taylor Willingham, both of whom reached my inbox today with this announcement.)

Save the date: national town meeting on the U.S. economy on June 26    

AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy is a national discussion to find common ground on tough choices about our federal budget.  Americans from across the country will come together to weigh in on strategies to ensure a sustainable fiscal future and a strong economic recovery.  As a part of this national discussion, on June 26, 2010, thousands of Americans across the country will participate simultaneously in an unprecedented National Town Meeting.  For those who do not live near the large conversations, the dialogue can occur in Community Conversations.

We encourage U.S.-based members of the NCDD community to consider hosting a Community Conversation in your city or town on June 26th.

What is an AmericaSpeaks: Our Budget, Our Economy Community Conversation?

Community Conversations are volunteer-led events, where participants use materials provided by AmericaSpeaks (an NCDD organizational member) to engage in a discussion about our federal budget. Conversations can take place in businesses, schools, libraries, places of worship, community centers, homes, or anywhere else a group chooses to meet. They may be as small as 8 people or as large as several hundred. AmericaSpeaks will provide you with all the materials and information you need to bring the national discussion on Our Budget, Our Economy to your community.

You can volunteer to host a Community Conversation at a public venue (like a library or office) near you or in your home.  We’ll provide you with all the materials and information you need to bring the national discussion on Our Budget, Our Economy to your neighborhood. You can create a Community Conversation by filling out the form here:

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/5874/p/salsa/event/common/public/create.sjs?distributed_event_KEY=127

To find out more about the project, www.usabudgetdiscussion.org.

New Report on Creating Spaces for Change    

Matt Leighninger, Executive Director of The Deliberative Democracy Consortium (an NCDD organizational member), recently announced the release of his report Creating Spaces for Change: Working Toward a “Story of Now” in Civic Engagement. Creating Spaces for Change draws heavily on the views and experiences of the people who participated in the Kellogg Foundation’s Civic Engagement Learning Year and the conference convened by DDC and The Democracy Imperative called “No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners.”

Matt encourages those who see opportunities to use the report in ways that will catalyze future discussions and action to improve civic engagement to contact him (click on his name above for contact details).  Here is Matt’s announcement… (more…)

Nominations sought for Bertelsmann Prize in “Vitalizing Democracy”    

I heard about this through NCDD member Hans Peter-Meister the other day, and then was reminded of it in the DDC’s newsletter…

The search for next Bertelsmann Prize has begun! As one of Europe’s largest charitable foundations, the German Bertelsmann Foundation awards a significant monetary prize every year.  In 2011, the prize will celebrate and recognize governmental institutions (departments, administrations, towns, etc.) that have shown innovative democratic leadership by making a strong and lasting contribution to “Vitalizing Democracy through Participation.”

Any participation project begun in the last five years is eligible for the prize. The strongest candidates will be projects that have made a demonstrable impact on a public problem, influenced policy-makers, and succeeded in engaging previously marginalized and disadvantaged members of the community.

Please take this opportunity to nominate a project, and help the Bertelsmann Foundation highlight the responsibility and capacity of governments to support democratic innovation. The nomination form is brief; contact Christina Hanley () for nomination information.

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