National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation's

Local, Regional and National Events

bringing the growing dialogue & deliberation community together

Skip to main content.

NCDD Stuff

The NCDD blog has moved to ncdd.org    

We’re finishing the switchover from thataway.org to ncdd.org, so please meet us there! NCDD’s  News & Perspectives blog is now called the Community News Blog, and you can see the latest posts (as well as 7 years of archived blog content) at www.ncdd.org/news.

The NCDD Resource Center is also on the new site, at www.ncdd.org/rc, and features over 2,500 dialogue guides, evaluation tools, videos, books, programs, and all kinds of other resources.

We hope you like our new look, and find the new site easy to navigate!

Find similar posts: NCDD Stuff,projects & goings-on

What would YOU like to Confab about?    

I’d like to get your ideas on topics for future NCDD Confabs: conference calls and webinars for NCDD members where we explore key issues in the dialogue & deliberation community and encourage new connections among members.

We held several great Confabs last year before we became neck-deep in planning the regional events.  We held a webinar with Beth Offenbacker to talk about an upcoming Public Decisions online conference, a conference call with John Engle to discuss the role our community members could play in disaster recovery in Haiti, a conference call with Martin Carcasson to discuss his work on the goals of dialogue & deliberation, and a Maestro call hosted by Amy Lenzo about online engagement strategies.

The Maestro call was our most popular yet, with about 80 people calling into that Confab!  (See the wonderful graphic recording that Teresa Bidlake created on the call.)

I’d like to get us back in the habit of holding regular NCDD Confabs, and I’d love your ideas. What topics, questions, challenges, etc. would you want to focus on?  What thought leaders would draw you?  And perhaps most importantly, who among you would be interested in organizing or leading a Confab call, and on what topics?  Please comment here and share your ideas!

Group Decision Tip: A Way to Talk    

Group Decision Tip iconIn principle, in order for people to avoid conflict there has to be a way for them to talk. When in tension with someone else in my group, rather than talk with them directly, it is easiest to assume a superior position and take steps to prove my righteousness. It is also relatively easy to propose changes to the system in which we both operate: new rules, new policies, new ways of doing things that I think will make the tension go away. But both of these approaches create conflict and/or burden for my group.

Sometimes the barrier to direct communication is of a mechanical nature such as language or physical proximity or connection. But most often the barrier is our own fear about having a hard conversation. We don’t trust ourselves to say the right things or react the right ways. We are afraid that in a one-on-one setting we will lose the battle we are trying to win.

Practical Tip: Don’t view tensions as battles to be won or lost but rather as shared problems to be solved in shared ways. Before doing anything else, seek first to find a way to talk with those who are part of the problem.

If there are mechanical barriers to talking, work to fix them. In today’s world, going to war because one party can’t physically communicate with another is no excuse. If there are personal emotional barriers in the way, work to fix them. You are part of the problem; have a talk with yourself. Creating conflict or requiring your group to consider systemic changes because of your own emotional issues is selfish and inefficient.

And if someone else proposes a way to talk with you about a shared problem, accept the opportunity. Always talk first. Find a way.

-

Group Decision Tips are written by Craig Freshley. At his website you can access a complete archive of all previously published Tips, comment and view comments of others. Free distribution of Group Decision Tips for non-commercial purposes is encouraged with proper credit to Craig Freshley. Providing Group Decision Tips™ to others for commercial purposes and/or for any type of compensation is strictly prohibited.

Rich discussion on best practices for virtual meetings in NCDD LinkedIn group    

Have you joined NCDD’s LinkedIn group yet?  The group has about 800 members, and it’s a great way to stay updated on what’s happening in the field and connect with new people who work in dialogue and deliberation.  We’ve had some rich discussions there as well, like the one on “Groundrules necessary to make the best of virtual meetings” initiated by Martin Pearson about a month ago.

Martin wrote that he was starting to use Skype more for meetings, and asked group members if they have created specific ground rules for their own virtual meetings (like asking people to not to browse the internet while participating in the meeting).  The conversation morphed into a rich discussion on best practices for virtual meetings, with over 30 comments shared.

Group member Geoffrey Morton-Haworth took the time to summarize this excellent conversation, and posted the summary on his yalaworld.net site here (you can also download a PDF of the summary).  Definitely worth checking out!

Group Decision Tip: Decision Method Right-sized    

Group Decision Tip iconIn principle, the amount of energy (time, money, etc.) invested in a group decision should be in proportion to the amount of impact it’s likely to have. The magnitude of the impact is a combination of how many people are affected, how deeply, and for how long into the future.

Consensus decisions are best suited to those that we expect to affect many people and last a long time—decisions that are expected to live longer than the current generation of decision makers. Consensus decisions are characterized by inclusive participation, shared understanding, and acceptance among all key stakeholders. This is when everybody decides for everybody.

Majority rule works well for medium-size decisions: decisions that are expected to last for awhile but are open to challenge and easily changed as majorities change (as generations of decision makers turn over). This is when most of the people decide for everybody.

One person in charge works well for decisions expected to last a short time with limited impact. Here, one person makes decisions on behalf of everybody. (more…)

Find similar posts: ncdd members,resources & tools

Sending Taylor our love and appreciation    

As many of you know, Taylor Willingham is not doing so well.  Taylor, who is a real shining star in our community, was diagnosed with kidney cancer this past fall. Despite multiples surgeries and various treatments, her recovery is not going well at this point.

Though she’s not up for too many phone calls and visitors, she LOVES getting and reading email messages.  Her good friend Diane Miller tells me she prints them out and re-reads them often.  You can email Taylor directly at [email protected], but I want to encourage NCDDers to add a comment to this post with a brief message to Taylor.  I’ll make sure she sees your comments.

I received this sobering message from Taylor today:

My health is deteriorating faster than I expected, but I am fighting to keep my head above water. My goal is to live to see the wildflowers this spring, but this cancer is not going to make it easy on me!

You may certainly let anyone in our network know about my situation. Renal cell carcinoma is not treatable. It can’t be cured. I can only strive to live a few more weeks as pain free as possible. Prayer seems to be a pretty good antidote (in between the morphine and methadone!).

So many things I wanted to do that I will have to leave for others who follow behind. But that is the cycle of life.

If you’ve attended an NCDD conference you probably know Taylor.  She’s a firecracker (that’s the best word I know for Taylor), with boundless energy and enthusiasm for public dialogue work.  You certainly know Taylor if you’re involved with National Issues Forums, as Taylor is an absolute star in the NIF network, having (among other things) co-founded and directed Texas Forums, an initiative of the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum.

Taylor has been a wonderfully active member of NCDD, and served as the Secretary of our Board of Directors for the past couple of years.  She was instrumental in planning the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin (she lives near Austin in Salado, TX), and she was a key member of the planning team for the Austin regional NCDD workshop in October 2010 until she learned of her cancer and needed to pull back on some of her many commitments. She also ran a National Issues Forum event for conference participants and locals on the final day of the 2004 NCDD conference in Denver, Colorado.

Even with stage 4 kidney cancer, Taylor is more productive than most of us!  An email from Patty Dineen on the 17th included this update:

Meanwhile, Taylor continues pretty much full speed ahead, working online, teaching her online university course (via computer in her hospital room), to the point that her family and hospital staff conspired to put a time limit on her “connected” activities so she will rest.  She has the support and presence of her husband Terry, her parents, and other family and friends there with her, and her doctors have put together a team to oversee her treatments and care.  I’m not sure who the doctors believe to be leading the team, but I’m pretty sure that it is really Taylor.

If you know Taylor, please take a minute to add a brief note of appreciation and encouragement as a comment below.  I know she’d love to hear from a lot of NCDDers!

Action alert from Campaign for a Stronger Democracy    

How might the proposed federal budget cuts effect the dialogue and deliberation community, and the larger democracy reform movement D&D is a part of?  What can each of us do to fight for the programs we feel are critically important to our democracy — like public media, national service, civic education, and more?

Take a look at the Take Action page on the Campaign for a Stronger Democracy website. Over the coming weeks, CSD (the campaign that morphed out of Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy) will be using their new site to rally support from across the democracy reform community against cuts to the federal budget that threaten our democracy.  NCDD is involved in and supports the Campaign for a Stronger Democracy, and encourage all of you to check out the Action Alert: Hands Off Our Democracy page and consider how you can best respond.

Join us in taking action today!

Participatory Budgeting Practices, Places, Games and Resources    

Re-posted by Tom Atlee from http://bit.ly/ParticBudgetList1…

Recently I’ve seen a swirl of information (mostly on the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation listserv) about participatory budgeting. Below, you’ll find a sampling of this info, in relatively raw form. I do not know enough to sort it all out, but it looks really fascinating.

Most of this material is about online public budgeting exercises, but some of it also describes the kind of face-to-face, seriously empowered mass-participatory civic budgeting processes developed in Brazil which have spread widely in the last decade or so. (more…)

Wonderful new videos from the Bertelsmann Foundation    

A few days ago, the Bertelsmann Stiftung (Bertelsmann Foundation in the U.S.) added a bunch of new videos to its YouTube channel.  They really are must-see videos for people in our field; they’re very well-made videos (about 4 minutes long each) that feature the finalists in the 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize.  I can see the videos being used in the classroom, in workshops, as part of presentations to local government, and so much more.

I just added them to my dialogue & deliberation playlists on YouTube, where you can find hundreds of D&D-related videos.

With the 2011 Reinhard Mohn Prize, the Bertelsmann Stiftung wants to bring new momentum to the debate on how democratic systems can be made “future ready” by helping them respond to current and future challenges. As many of you know, the 7 finalists of the Mohn Prize (to be awarded this spring) emerged from an international search to identify innovative, exemplary approaches to strengthening democracy through citizen engagement.

Check out the videos for these finalists:

Votes and hosts needed for Conversation Week 2011    

The next Conversation Week is just around the corner: March 24-31 2011!

In late 2009, Bob and Jacquelyn Pogue were offered the stewardship of Conversation Café by Vicki Robin and Susan Partnow, and the stewardship of Conversation Cafe has been transferred to Community Action Dialogues, which now serves as an umbrella for Conversation Café and Richmond Action Dialogues.

Community Action Dialogues invites you to vote on your favorite questions that have been submitted for Conversation Week. Select up to ten of your favorite questions (download them here) and write their numbers down and email them to [email protected] by Tuesday, February 22, 2011.  The votes will be tabulated to determine the final Top-10 Conversation Week Questions.

Regarding the importance of selecting questions, it’s helpful to note Einstein’s approach to problem solving. He said that if given one hour to come up with a solution, he would spend 59 minutes figuring out the right question to ask and then it would probably take about a minute after that to solve the problem.

Host a Conversation During Conversation Week

You are also invited to host a conversation during Conversation Week 2011.  Visit www.conversationcafe.org/host.htm for more details.  Let them know if you are holding a Cafe and if you would like your Cafe posted on the Conversation Cafe website. If you any questions about a hosting a cafe, please feel free to email or call Conversation Cafe at:

CONVERSATION CAFE
P.O. Box 276
Crozier, Virginia 23039
(804) 257-0010 (Leave a message and we will reply within a week.)
[email protected]
www.ConversationCafe.org

Group Decision Tip: Resentments Have Roots in Expectations    

Group Decision Tip iconIn principle, when we have expectations of others that don’t pan out it often leads to resentment which often brews discontent which often causes conflict. I have heard someone say that expectations are planned resentments.

The surest way to avoid resentment is to not have expectations. When I fall into a victim role it’s helpful to remember that I am rarely a victim of others and often I am a victim of my own expectations.

Practical Tip: As a participant in group decisions, I try hard not to develop false expectations. I expect from people only that they have specifically agreed to, and even then I keep in mind that most people are not capable of doing all that they agree to.

I focus on the good things that my group and the people in it have done, and what they could do, rather than what they should do according to my expectations.

-

Group Decision Tips are written by Craig Freshley. Please visit http://www.GroupDecisionTips.com to subscribe and for a complete archive of all previously published Group Decision Tips. You can comment on any Tip and view comments of others. Also find handouts, links, and information about workshops. Group Decision Tips™ is the brand name for a specific set of beliefs and practices that help groups create new benefits and move toward peace in an efficient manner. Providing Group Decision Tips to others in any format is strictly prohibited for commercial purposes and/or for any type of compensation but free distribution for non-commercial purposes is encouraged in this format with proper credit to Craig Freshley.

The Conversational Commons    

The phrase “the commons” refers to domains and resources that belong to or affect the whole of a community.  The “conversational commons” then embraces everything that supports or makes possible the enjoyable and productive conversations of a community — notably including the health and productivity of professions that specialize in serving quality conversation, e.g., conveners and facilitators, mediators and negotiators, diplomats and public engagement professionals, and so on.

A legitimate and important function of professional organizations like the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD), the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), and the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) is (and could be more) the development of the conversational commons — the whole field of activities and resources within which these professionals do their work in service to their communities.

Elements of the conversational commons worthy of our attention include things like the following:

  • Conversational standards, values, and guidelines, such as the Core Principles of Public Engagement
  • Conversational methodologies being known, available and productively used
  • Conversational data, knowledge, understanding, and wisdom — research, databases, know-how, and clear articulations of deep dynamics
  • Capacity for conversation — at the grassroots level, in and among groups and organizations, in officials and leaders, and in communities and societies as a whole
  • Widespread recognition of the value and uses of conversation, including a culture that values it and demands quality dialogue and deliberation wherever it is needed
  • Funding for quality conversations and for research on the subject
  • Cultural qualities that support healthy expressiveness, including respect, listening, emotionality, rationality, and the arts
  • Media that honor, model, encourage, and empower quality conversation, from talk shows to chat rooms to social media to detailed reporting on citizen deliberations and community conversations
  • Conversational traditions, rituals, and institutions — particularly those that improve social capital (especially across cultural divides) and those that shape public decision-making
  • Enough competent people filling necessary conversational “helper roles” like facilitator, mediator, host, etc.
  • Language and other media for exploring shared meaning — and the ability to translate among media or realms of meaning
  • Opportunity times and spaces for conversation — from architectural nooks and free community spaces, to cafes and conferences; from listening booths and online forums to citizen deliberations and stakeholder dialogues; and all the rest…

How often should we be reflecting on questions like these:

  • To what extent are those of us in the conversational professions focused on our own professional development and networking, and to what extent are we focused on working together to create, nurture, and develop the larger social context within which we are all working?
  • To what extent are we seeking funding for our own projects, compared to working together to help major players in the field of philanthropy realize the opportunities and leverage provided by funding conversational efforts?
  • To what extent are we spreading our knowledge at the grassroots so that more and more ordinary citizens know conversational basics and rationales and therefore demand quality conversation in their communities, their work places, and their political lives?
  • How might we invest more time, care, attention, and resources in the development of our conversational commons?
  • What difference would a healthy and expanding conversational commons make in our lives and in the world we live in?

Find similar posts: D&D,ncdd members,resources & tools

Seeking Input for the Deliberative Democracy Workshop Today    

NCDD’s director, Sandy Heierbacher, is in Sydney, Australia taking part in a meeting with other leaders in the deliberative democracy community and is seeking input from all of NCDD on the project proposals being introduced…

NCDD's DirectorHello from Sydney, everyone!

Our group of top practitioners, academics and network leaders in deliberative democracy is inviting YOUR input on which of  the proposals that have been emerging here should go forwarded for seed funding.

I’d love to see lots of NCDDers voting on these proposals at http://bit.ly/eMz5nC .

Don’t wait, though. We’ll be prioritizing these proposals tomorrow morning Sydney time, so  you’ll have until 6pm Eastern time (3pm Pacific) on Friday to get your votes in.  Your input will be used during the decision-making process.  We expect most of these proposals to go forward, but more popular proposals are likely to receive larger amounts of seed funding ($100,000 is available for this).

You can also comment at www.deliberative-democracy.net/workshops or by using the Twitter hashtag #delibworkshop

A bit more about the meeting, which I’ve blogged about previously…

This innovative gathering has brought top deliberative democracy practitioners and academics from around the world to Sydney, Australia, to develop projects that move the research agenda forward.  Dr. Lyn Carson of the Centre for Citizenship and Public Policy at the University of Western Sydney is the driving force behind the meeting, which is supported by the university and by Australia’s Newdemocracy Foundation. The PrioritySpend voting process was developed by Ron Lubensky.  The meeting design is based on the Deliberative Democracy Consortium’s three “R&P” (research and practice) meetings.

Best,  
Sandy

Update from Matt Leighninger: Results of the #delibworkshop voting are now up at http://bit.ly/hKTKvb. Thank you to everyone who took part!

Group Decision Tip: Self-Evident    

In principle, the best decisions are made when the answer is self-evident to everyone. When a group of reasonable people have a shared goal and they freely share information about the current situation and options for achieving that goal, they are very likely to come to a shared conclusion about what to do.

When the decision making process allows all participants to see all the evidence, the right thing to do reveals itself.

Practical Tip: Do not lead a group to a pre-established conclusion but rather provide opportunity and structure to consider and analyze all views. Be open to all possibilities and openly share all relevant information.

If you really want the best decision for the group as a whole, evidence-gathering may take a while: many conversations, several meetings, time for individual processing.

If there is not enough time, decide only as much as you have good information to support. Guessing, gambling, or rushing to judgment often causes more problems later.

-

Craig FreshleyI’m posting the above Tip because it’s related to Tom’s recent post on Creative Deliberation.

Group Decision Tips are written by Craig Freshley. Please visit www.GroupDecisionTips.com to subscribe and for a complete archive of all previously published Group Decision Tips. You can comment on any Tip and view comments of others. Also find handouts, links, and information about workshops. Group Decision Tips™ is the brand name for a specific set of beliefs and practices that help groups create new benefits and move toward peace in an efficient manner. Providing Group Decision Tips to others in any format is strictly prohibited for commercial purposes and/or for any type of compensation but free distribution for non-commercial purposes is encouraged with proper credit to Craig Freshley.

The Citizens’ Toolbox: What’s in Yours?    

NCDD is a proud sponsor of The Citizens’ Toolbox: What’s In Yours? — a conference aimed at connecting students with those engaged in a broad and varied set of experiments and projects in Dialogue and Deliberation and other tenets of civic and democratic life. Join us March 16-19 at Miami University of Ohio in Oxford, Ohio, as we all ask what’s in our own toolboxes, and open those up for each other to explore and engage.

Join us in this opportunity to share and gain skills related to:

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

The conference is aimed at connecting students to professionals, academics, and everyday citizens who are eager to gain new tools, build on the ones we have, and use these tools for action. Find out more at thecitizenstoolbox.org.

Call for Proposals: We are accepting proposals for poster sessions, workshops, and learning exchanges until Friday, February 4th (honorariums may be available for you!). Learn more and submit yours today!

Early Bird specials- Don’t Delay!
We are offering Early Bird pricing for all conference participants that register before February 11th. Learn more at register at http://thecitizenstoolbox.eventbrite.com/thecitizenstoolbox.org.

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

###