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Today’s NCDD Confab Call: “Online Engagement” Using Maestro    

Visual recording by Teresa Bidlake.

Nearly 80 people joined us today for our latest NCDD Confab call where we discussed online engagement through a World Cafe-style conversation using Maestro, a conference call / online tool that provides both traditional conference call features with the ability to create small group conversations amongst the participants of the same call.  Teresa Bidlake, of Concepts Captured, was kind enough to offer her services as graphic facilitator and provided us with the visual recording above.  The conversation is being continued online at the newly re-activated NCDD Forum where we will be assembling stories and information about online dialogue & deliberation in conjunction with our Fall 2010 events.

Don’t forget to register for tomorrow’s NCDD Confab on online engagement    

Lots of people have signed up for tomorrow’s “NCDD Confab” (June 30th, 12 noon to 1:45pm EST), but it’s not too late to register! Our confabs provide members and potential members of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) a chance to network with one another while delving into an important issue in our field.

Register at the following link (once you register, you’ll receive call-in details):

Tomorrow, we’ll be using Maestro conference call software to run a World Cafe on the topic of online engagement. World Cafe is an easy-to-use method for fostering collaborative dialogue, particularly in large groups.

Our host for this Confab is new NCDD member Amy Lenzo of the World Cafe Community. The call is co-sponsored by the World Cafe Community and Maestro Conference. NCDD member Ben Roberts will be co-facilitating, and members Greg Keidan and Lynn Adams helped us design the call.

I’m particularly excited about the Maestro conference call system, which is a new technology that provides hosts with some unique, exciting options that are really appropriate for our community — like breaking people up into small groups in separate virtual rooms (for small group dialogue) and setting up polls that people can participate in just by pressing numbers on their phone (like keypad polling).

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the technology yet; aside from registering for the call, you just need to call in with the phone number and access code on the 30th like any other conference call (there’s nothing to download and no site to visit during the call). Though unlike typical conference calls and webinars, you can’t get away with much multitasking because you’ll be actively engaged and involved throughout the call.

Note: “NCDD Confabs” are conference calls and webinars for NCDD members where we explore key issues in the dialogue & deliberation community and encourage new connections among members. (Potential NCDD members and members of the World Cafe Community are welcome to join us for this call.)

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!

An Experiment in Blending Dialogue Media    

Picture of the US flag on a political button.What’s working in our political system? What isn’t? Our company is OnlineTownhalls and we are passionate about improving the quality of our national dialogue. We recently joined the Open Model for Citizen Engagement Working Group here in Washington, DC which inspired us to give this a shot.

From June 23-27, 2010 we are conducting an experiment called the American Townhall on National Politics. Our mission is to find deeper ways to discuss critical issues facing our democracy combining tools for discussion online, in-person, and over the phone.  The target audience is not the general public; we’re testing these tools on our own communities: opengov, NCDD, e-democracy, transparency, etc.  When we learn what works and what doesn’t, then we’ll repeat the experiment with the general public and publicize the method for others to replicate.

Image of a hand-held camera.Join Us In-Person:

We’ve kick-started the townhall by conducting video interviews on the National Mall in Washington, DC. We’ll be asking visitors to our nation’s capital what they think is broken and what they think is working well in our national politic system. All the videos are available here and are included in the OnlineTownhall mentioned below where others participants can build on these ideas.

Image of a phone receiver.Join Us on the Phone:

The central question for the three-day show is, “What is working in our national political system, and what isn’t?” We’ll be joined by Wayne Burke of the Open Forum Foundation and the lead organizer of the Open Model for Citizen Engagement, key staff in the Sunlight Foundation, and members of the National Coalition of Dialogue and Deliberation (if you’d like to be interviewed about your dialogue work, 6:30pm EST is open on Thursday and Friday; email [email protected] if you’re interested).

We have three live call-in radio shows:

  • Wednesday, June 23 from 5pm-7pm EST. Click HERE to listen.
  • Thursday, June 24 from 5pm-7pm EST. Click HERE to listen.
  • Friday, June 25 from 5pm-7pm EST. Click HERE to listen.
  • From June 23-27, join this OnlineTownhall to discuss the ideas raised in the radio shows.

Want to call into the radio show? Dial (917) 889-2510 to join the discussion during the times listed above. You can also add your thoughts via email to [email protected] or through Twitter using the tag #ATHNP (for American Townhall on National Politics). We look forward to hearing what you have to say!

A quill and paper.Join Us Online:

Using this conversation at OnlineTownhalls, participants will be able to take the conversation started on the videos and the radio show deeper from June 23-27.

OnlineTownhalls is different than standard commenting software; it helps participants visualize all the branches in a conversation and see which issues are controversial and which are common ground.

For those that would like a brief orientation to the software, we will be available over the phone. The dial-in number for the live walk-through is 605-715-4920 with an access code of 616033 from 7pm-9pm EST on June 23-25. The online discussion will be open through June 27.

If you’re comfortable with online tools, you’ll probably be able to figure out the townhall technology after watching this three minute intro video.

Registration open for NCDD Confab on online D&D - June 30 at noon EST    

Our next “NCDD Confab” is scheduled for Wednesday, June 30th from 12:00 noon to 1:45 pm Eastern (9am Pacific), and I invite everyone interested in the topic (and connecting with NCDDers) to join us!  We’ll be using Maestro conference call software to run a World Cafe on the topic of online engagement.

Registration is open at this link, and I recommend you register today (once you register, you’ll receive call-in details):

Our host for this Confab is new NCDD member Amy Lenzo of the World Cafe Community.  The call is co-sponsored by the World Cafe Community and Maestro Conference.  NCDD member Ben Roberts will be co-facilitating, and members Greg Keidan and Lynn Adams helped us design the call.

I’m particularly excited about the Maestro conference call system, which is a new technology that provides hosts with some unique, exciting options that are really appropriate for our community — like breaking people up into small groups in separate virtual rooms (for small group dialogue) and setting up polls that people can participate in just by pressing numbers on their phone (like keypad polling).

Don’t worry if you’re not familiar with the technology yet; aside from registering for the call, you just need to call in with the phone number and access code on the 30th like any other conference call (there’s nothing to download and no site to visit during the call).  Though unlike typical conference calls and webinars, you can’t get away with much multitasking because you’ll be actively engaged and involved throughout the call.

Note: “NCDD Confabs” are conference calls and webinars for NCDD members where we explore key issues in the dialogue & deliberation community and encourage new connections among members. (Potential NCDD members and members of the World Cafe Community are welcome to join us for this call.)

Neighbors Online Report Issued Today    

NCDD member Steven Clift of e-democracy.org just sent a message about this to the main NCDD Discussion list

A very important report came out today called the Neighbors Online Report. The report shows that Americans use a range of approaches to keep informed about what is happening in their communities and online activities have been added to the mix. Face-to-face encounters and phone calls remain the most frequent methods of interaction with neighbors, while internet tools are gaining ground in community-oriented communications.

Be sure to check out Steven’s blog post on the report, titled Neighbors Online – What have 27% of Internet Users Discovered? Women Lead the Way. Need More Inclusion, at http://blog.e-democracy.org/posts/858.  Steven also let us know you can join the “hosts” of neighborhood online hosts in a Q&A with the report author at: http://e-democracy.org/locals.

In short:

  • 27% of American adult Internet users (or 20% of adults overall) use “digital tools to talk to their neighbors and keep informed about community issues.” - Steve’s spin: Very exciting.
  • Lower income, rural, and Latino Internet users are being left out -Steve’s spin: We need to fix this.

Save the date: next NCDD Confab on June 30th at noon EST    

Our next “NCDD Confab” is scheduled for Wednesday, June 30th from noon to 1:30 pm Eastern (9am Pacific), and I wanted to encourage you to add it to your calendars now if you’re interested.  The Confab calls are free (you pay your regular long-distance phone charges) and open to all NCDD members.

Our host for this Confab is Amy Lenzo of the World Cafe Community (and a new NCDD member!), and we’ll be using Amy’s Maestro account to organize a virtual World Cafe to further examine a question we’ve been exploring on the NCDD listserv lately:  What constitutes quality online/virtual engagement?

We’ll be using the Maestro conference call system, which is a new technology that provides hosts with some unique, exciting options that are perfect for our community — like breaking people up into small groups in separate virtual rooms (for small group dialogue) and setting up polls that people can participate in just by clicking numbers on their phone (like keypad polling).  The good news:  all YOU need to do is call in to the conference call, like any of the conference calls we’ve done in the past!  Well, you’ll also need to register for the call, but we’ll include all the details you need in future announcements.

Please save the date in your calendars if this Confab interests you!

By the way, our last “Confab” of sorts was our May 14th webinar with PublicDecisions featuring Caroline Lee and Francesca Polletta.  A bunch of you participated, and it was a great webinar.  The presentation and audio recording are available for download at http://www.publicdecisions.com/publicforum_2010May14_recording.html.

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…)

Coffee Party Mvmt looking for good videos for training moderators    

Update on this post: We compiled the most relevant suggestions we received from the NCDD community (videos and books) in this PDF document. It may be easier to go through than looking through all the comments added to this post. Thank you to NCDD intern Cait Kershner for compiling everyone’s recommendations!

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I’m sure most of you have heard of the Coffee Party Movement (CPM) by now; launched early this year on Facebook by Annabel Park, it quickly gained over 100,000 fans and initiated hundreds of face-to-face “coffee parties” across the country (fans now exceed 212,000!).  A left-leaning alternative to the Tea Party Movement, CPM The Coffee Party Movement is embracing civil discussion and collaboration as a means to impacting public policy.

I had a great conversation with Annabel Park a couple of days ago, and she felt that CPM’s coffee party moderators could really benefit from the expertise in our community of practice.  For starters, she wondered if we could help identify some great videos on group facilitation they could encourage their moderators to watch. (In my opinion, any group that is bringing so many people together for civil political discourse - from any side of the political spectrum - deserves our help with process.)

What training videos would you recommend? Videos/films/clips that are freely available for online viewing - or could be made so - are highly preferred!

Knowing the dialogue & deliberation community, you guys will recommend all kinds of resources that are great for new facilitators, and that’s fine (just please include titles, brief descriptions, and links).  I’ll compile everything here on the NCDD blog as it comes in (I’ll be sending this request to various listservs, LinkedIn groups, facebook groups, etc.).  Let’s show Annabel and other civic pioneers how responsive and generous our community can be!

Learn more about the Coffee Party Movement at www.coffeepartyusa.com or www.facebook.com/coffeeparty?ref=ts if you’re on Facebook. And check out this February post on the CPM site, which talks about how they “want the political process broken down into three steps: 1) open and respectful dialogue, 2) thoughtful and informed deliberation, 3) competent and decisive execution.”

NCDD’s 2010 Events…    

As many of you know, since 2002 NCDD has been holding biennial national conferences on the even years. We wanted to formally announce that in 2010, rather than holding a single National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we are in the process of mobilizing our members to organize a number of smaller one-day NCDD events.

We are looking into holding events in fall 2010 in the locations we feel best equipped to mobilize our members: Austin, San Francisco, Washington DC and Denver, where we’ve held past NCDD conferences, as well as cities like Boston and Portland where dialogue and deliberation are thriving.

We feel that holding regional, largely self-organized events in 2010 has the potential to move NCDD and the field forward in vital ways.  We hope the events will position members of the D&D community to successfully navigate new opportunities that are emerging in open government and online engagement so they can make a greater impact in their communities. (Learn more about our concept for the 2010 events.)

At this point, we are looking for dedicated people to help move things forward in most of the locations mentioned above. Our first priorities are (1) to find and secure affordable venues so we can set the dates and (2) to start identifying partners and co-sponsors who share our goals.  Please contact me (Sandy Heierbacher, NCDD’s Director) at [email protected] if you are interested in getting involved.

Identifying experts in keypad technology    

On Friday, I emailed NCDD’s main listserv to see who in the community has expertise in keypad technology.  Keypads are audience response devices that look like little calculators (learn more here), and once in a while I get requests from people looking for keypad facilitators or trainers.  David Campt and Chris Bui are two skilled keypad experts I know personally, but I wanted to have a longer list at the ready.

I received a variety of great responses and recommendations for experts in keypad technology - and in using cell phones as an alternative to keypads.  I thought I’d share the responses here so we all have access to this list for future reference. (more…)

GlobalPulse 2010 starts Sunday    

On Sunday, March 29th the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) is launching a 3-day online brainstorming discussion – GlobalPulse 2010 – to bring together socially-engaged participants and organizations throughout the world to discuss critical global issues.  I hope to see some NCDDers participating!

USAID has partnered with the U.S. Departments of State, Commerce, Education, and Health and Human Services to design and implement the event

Global Pulse 2010 is part of President Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world as a result of his speech in Cairo last year.

You can participate and collaborate on 10 critical issues facing the global community in the fields such as science, technology, entrepreneurship and human development.

The goal is to connect, engage and enable collaboration among thousands of participants across the globe on today’s critical global issues. The results will be used to help inform US foreign assistance and diplomatic strategies based on the key themes that emerge.

How will the event work? Each of the 10 designated issues will be led by moderators — recognized thought leaders and subject matter experts in the related field of interest — who will guide the conversation by posting comments and replies in their assigned forums. These moderators will encourage participation, help to develop deeper thinking, and offer insight into the topic at hand.

To register, visit https://www.collaborationjam.com/minijam3/globalpulse2010/registration/

To learn more, please visit the Global Pulse 2010 homepage at www.GlobalPulse2010.gov

If you are having any issues registering or would like additional information, please email the Global Pulse 2010 Team at [email protected]

Stay up to date on key event activities by joining GlobalPulse 2010 on Facebook, Twitter and Flickr.

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Note: John Kamensky, Senior Fellow and Associate Partner at the IBM Center for The Business of Government, thought some NCDDers might be interested in an opportunity to participate in a unique global dialogue that is part of Obama’s outreach to the Muslim world as a result of his Cairo speech last year.  Feel free to share this announcement with your own networks!

Storytelling and Online Dialogue    

Hi, all!  I am a new NCDD blogger, and I am also the founder of Idealogue, Inc., which develops interactive web platforms to empower people and organizations to solve difficult challenges through dialogue and collaboration.

The active NCDD listserv recently addressed the question of the ability of online dialogue to provide value to the practitioner’s toolkit. At Idealogue, Inc. we have been developing an online platform for dialogue on difficult and pressing issues. On the one hand, online interaction and social networking is enormously popular, but on the other hand, public discussion boards and comment systems are not the first place many people think of for constructive dialogues-me included.

Maybe the lack of face-to-face interaction is part of the problem, but can we also better implement technology?

A recent experience with our first dialogue site, BeyondTolerance.org, an online network that promotes discussion and understanding within academic and non-profit communities about religious, social and political issues, illustrated to me that some important elements of in-person dialogue can be transferred online. (more…)

The February Open Government Directive Workshop    

This article is co-authored by Lucas Cioffi and Alexander Moll, the two NCDD members who co-organized the February Open Government Directive Workshop in partnership with the US General Services Administration, the National Academy of Public Administration, NCDD, and GovLoop.

Summary and Purpose of the OGD Workshop

The February 17th OGD Workshop in Washington, DC was a blast.  We convened sixty participants working in-person and online, from the public and private sectors, and across agencies.  Third in an evolving four-part workshop series, this workshop was designed to help the federal government implement its recent Open Government Directive.  Fellow NCDD member Kaliya Hamlin facilitated the previous two workshops.

Since federal agencies are currently working on their individual open government plans that are due on April 7th, frontline federal managers needed the opportunity to exchange best practices across agencies.  The purpose of this particular workshop was to provide that opportunity, to synthesize, cross-pollinate, and transform great ideas into actionable recommendations.

(more…)

Audio from yesterday’s NCDD Confab on online conferences    

We held our first “NCDD Confab” yesterday, and we want to thank our featured guests and everyone who participated!  We had close to 20 people on the call, and you can listen to the audio by clicking below if you’re interested (press the play button or download the mp3 file).  NCDD member Beth Offenbacker from PublicDecisions was our featured guest, and she talked with us about the upcoming Including the Excluded Online Conference (March 2-4) and about online conferences in general.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

Or download: NCDD Confab - February 17, 2010: Including the Excluded Online Conference (~40 MB)

The NCDD Confabs are a new series of regular conference calls for NCDD members only where we’ll explore dialogue & deliberation’s role in current issues, learn about exciting projects and interesting methods from fellow NCDD members, and just get to know each other a little better.  Our second Confab call will focus on Haiti, and the role of practitioners and facilitators in the current crisis and its aftermath - so you may want to add that to your calendars now (it will be Thurs, Feb. 25 from 2-3 pm Eastern).

Also, note that NCDD is an affiliate of the Including the Excluded online conference, and members of the NCDD community (basically, anyone who hears about the conference through NCDD!) are eligible for a special conference rate of just $139 USD (a $40 savings) the full 3-day conference, or just $70 for a one-day pass. By registering, you’re also supporting NCDD, since we receive a portion of each registration fee. Be sure to use the discount code NCDDSpecial when registering at www.seconf.org.

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