Reports

Reports from NCDD 2008: Evaluation Challenge    

At the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we focused on 5 challenges identified by participants at our past conferences as being vitally important for our field to address. This is one in a series of five posts featuring the final reports from our “challenge leaders.”

Evaluation Challenge: Demonstrating that dialogue and deliberation works

How can we demonstrate to power-holders (public officials, funders, CEOs, etc.) that D&D really works? Evaluation and measurement is a perennial focus of human performance/change interventions. What evaluation tools and related research do we need to develop?

Challenge Leaders:
John Gastil, Communications Professor at the University of Washington
Janette Hartz-Karp, Professor at Curtin Univ. Sustainability Policy (CUSP) Institute

———-

Report on the Evaluation Challenge:

The most poignant reflection of where the field of deliberative democracy stands in relation to evaluation is that despite this being a specific ‘challenge’ area, there was only one session in the NCDD Conference aimed specifically at evaluation – ‘Evaluating Dialogue and Deliberation: What are we Learning?’ by Miriam Wyman, Jacquie Dale and Natasha Manji. This deficit of specific sessions in evaluation at the NCDD Conference offerings is all the more surprising since as learners, practitioners, public and elected officials and researchers, we all grapple with this issue with regular monotony, knowing that it is pivotal to our practice.

Suffice to say, this challenge is so daunting that few choose to face it head-on. Wyman et al. made this observation when they quoted the cautionary words of the OECD (from a 2006 report): “There is a striking imbalance between time, money and energy that governments in OECD countries invest in engaging citizens and civil society in public decision-making and the amount of attention they pay to evaluating the effectiveness and impact of such efforts.”

The conversations during the Conference appeared to weave into two main streams: the varied reasons people have for doing evaluations and the diverse approaches to evaluation.

(more…)

Find similar posts: NCDD2008, Program & Content, Reports

Reports from NCDD 2008: Framing Challenge    

At the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we focused on 5 challenges identified by participants at our past conferences as being vitally important for our field to address. This is one in a series of five posts featuring the final reports from our “challenge leaders.”

Framing Challenge: Framing this work in an accessible way

How can we “frame” (write, talk about, and present) D&D in a more accessible and compelling way, so that people of all income levels, educational levels, and political perspectives are drawn to this work? How can we better describe the features and benefits of D&D and equip our members to effectively deliver that message? Addressing this challenge may contribute greatly to other challenges.

Challenge Leader:
Jacob Hess, Ph.D. Candidate in Clinical-Community Psychology at the University of Illinois

———-

Report on the Framing Challenge:

Jacob Hess provided us with the most in-depth examination of a challenge area at the conference. His sixteen page report is too long to include as a blog post so we are instead providing it as a downloadable PDF file.

Download the Report on Framing Challenge (pdf)

Find similar posts: NCDD2008, Program & Content, Reports

Reports from NCDD 2008: Action & Policy Challenge    

At the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we focused on 5 challenges identified by participants at our past conferences as being vitally important for our field to address. This is one in a series of five posts featuring the final reports from our “challenge leaders.”

Action & Change Challenge: Strengthening the relationship between D&D and action and policy change.

How can we increase the likelihood that D&D engagement streams of “exploration,” “conflict transformation,” and “collaborative action” will result in community action? How can we increase the likelihood that the “decision making” engagement stream will result in policy change? What can we learn from promising D&D efforts that did not result in the action or policy change desired?

Challenge Leader:
Phil Mitchell, Director of the Greater Seattle Climate Dialogues

———-

Report on the Action & Policy Challenge:

We are here to make the world a better place. Sometimes good process in itself is enough. Usually it is not. Usually good process must contest for power in places where power does not give up without a fight, ie., everywhere. What can we do to maximize the chance that our processes will bear fruit in terms of desired action and policy outcomes?

(more…)

Find similar posts: NCDD2008, Program & Content, Reports

Reports from NCDD 2008: Inclusion Challenge    

At the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we focused on 5 challenges identified by participants at our past conferences as being vitally important for our field to address. This is one in a series of five posts featuring the final reports from our “challenge leaders.”

Inclusion Challenge: Walking our talk in terms of bias and inclusion.

What are the most critical issues of inclusion and bias right now in the D&D community and how do we address them? What are the most critical issues related to bias, inclusion, and oppression in the world at large and how can we most effectively address these issues through the use of dialogue and deliberation methods?

Challenge Leader:
Leanne Nurse, Program Analyst for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

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Report on the Inclusion Challenge:

Core Questions

1. What are the most critical issues of inclusion and bias right now in our D&D community and how do we address them?

2. What are the most critical issues related to bias, inclusion and oppression in the world at large and how can we most effectively address these issues through the use of dialogue and deliberation methods?

Opening Comments

1. Why is this work so urgent?
– Continued oppression and suffering kills the sprit and the body
– Three poisons of anger, greed and ignorance mangle the genius that is in each of us

2. This moment in history offers us a unique window of opportunity to:
– Have the conversations we don’t like having
– Meet the people who aren’t like us
– Do the work we may have put off

3. How can we do this now when others have tried before us?
– Co-creating the world we promised our grandchildren demands that we both revolt and evolve. If we choose, we can use this weekend to revolt against old patterns and beliefs.
– The daily work of deep self-reflection reminds us that we possess an unlimited store of wisdom and compassion. We can spur our own human evolution despite institutional opposition.

If we are the people we’ve been waiting for, let’s use this time together to make a great leap forward toward a just, sustainable world.

Conference and Workshop Observations and Comments

Comment 1

What was the beginning of NCDD like? Picture NCDD as being conceived using DNA mainly from white, middle-class, well-educated people, and then grown in the Petri dish of American culture, with all the biases inherent in that culture. NCDD grows, and we hear continual laments that we need more diversity. We need to include more people of color, to appeal to more people of different ages, from different social classes, and with different levels of education; people from different religions and from different parts of the political spectrum. So NCDD tries to “bring in” more diversity. In trying to have more people of color, is this too much like a white family adopting some African-American kids?

Maybe what we really need to do is to go back to the original kernel, the original Petri dish and DNA. Maybe we can’t genuinely grow in ways that overcome bias and increase inclusivity unless we are willing to question the original kernel, the first seed at the start of the NCDD, and ask: “What kind of DNA do we need in order for the organization that grows from it to naturally develop diversity, to naturally include inclusivity? What “culture” would the Petri dish need to hold to provide a nurturing environment for the DNA to grow in?

What would growth from a seed that contained the DNA of people of color, working class people, people with less formal education, younger people, conservative people, look like? Do we need to ”start over” in some sense, with a different DNA mix placed in a different “multicultural” medium in the Petri dish, in order to truly address the Bias and Inclusivity Challenge?

(more…)

Find similar posts: NCDD2008, Program & Content, Reports

Reports from NCDD 2008: Systems Challenge    

At the 2008 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, we focused on 5 challenges identified by participants at our past conferences as being vitally important for our field to address. This is one in a series of five posts featuring the final reports from our “challenge leaders.”

Systems Challenge: Making dialogue and deliberation integral to our systems.

Most civic experiments in the last decade have been temporary organizing efforts that don’t lead to structured long-term changes in the way citizens and the system interact. How can we make D&D values and practices integral to government, schools, organizations, etc. so that our methods of involving people, solving problems, and making decisions happen more predictably and naturally?

Challenge Leaders:
Will Friedman, Chief Operating Officer of Public Agenda
Matt Leighninger, Executive Director of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium

—-

Report on the Systems Challenge:

Although no formal report was submitted, Will and Matt identified the following as common themes that emerged in this challenge area:

  • the recognition that this work is (and must be) action-oriented
  • the recognition that all of us (not just government) can be public problem-solvers (that we need to further develop the concept of policy with a small ‘p’)
  • that these must be non-ideological/neutral arenas
  • that we need to start with increased collaboration among the ‘involvers’
  • that there are traditions to draw on to learn about embedding, such as New England town meetings
  • that there are government agencies that are committed to embedding
  • deliberative practices and are actively working on it

Find similar posts: NCDD2008, Program & Content, Reports

Notes from 1-31-09 Austin Focus Group    

On Saturday, January 31st, we conducted an intentionally small focus group with just a few people from the Central Texas conference planning team. Present were Diane Miller, Juli Fellows, Tobin Quereau, Steven Fearing, Patricia Wilson, Taylor Willingham and Terry Crain.  We wanted to discuss two things with the focus group:

1. A local D&D network
What would you want from a local network of dialogue and deliberation folks? What can NCDD to support a local network? How can we make the network as low-maintenance and self-organized as possible?

2. A local, multi-process D&D “demonstration project”
What might a demonstration project look like in Austin? What role would NCDD have? What role could outside NCDD members/method leaders have? See www.thataway.org/events/?p=221 for more info about the demonstration project idea that came out of the 2008 NCDD conference.

Here are some things group members seemed to agree on…

Asset mapping and project mapping.
We need to map the existing resources (D&D, but also broader civic engagement) in Central Texas. We want to know who’s doing what work in Central Texas, and be able to connect with each person/organization. We need to figure out what technology will best enable us to do this.

Assessment and learning.
We want people to start doing some basic reporting on their programs. What were the successes? What was challenging? We want to capture learnings from public engagement initiatives, and make them available to those doing this work.

Coordinate activities.
In any given issue (health care, climate change, etc.), there are many activities being run already. Rather than start from scratch on a demonstration project, why not start recording and assessing what’s already happening? We can agree in principles, on elements we think should be consistent across programs, and on assessment measures, and then ask people to practially continue what they’re already doing. This would strengthen our capacity without starting from scratch, and give us data to amplify citizens voices and make a greater impact.

Learning community.
The people in the room were more interested in forming a small learning community than in establishing a larger local network. Members of a learning community would meet to share learnings and challenges, and might work together on projects. They would run professional development activities for each other, such as informal trainings in different D&D methods. Although NCDD would want to help with a more exclusive learning community however we can, we are determined to help create the space for a larger, open local network of practitioners and scholars.

Demonstration project.
The group felt that they had the human resources locally to be able to design and run a multi-process D&D demonstration project, without much involvement of outside process leaders. The involvement of NCDD was most welcome in several ways:

  1. To bring in additional funds (it was felt that, as a national organization, NCDD would be more successful with national and local funders)
  2. To provide guidelines and evaluation mechanisms that could be standardized among multiple programs
  3. To collect and amplify the results of public engagement programs

Group members agreed that any demonstration project should focus on one particular topic that is timely in the community. They agreed that the issue needed to be one where we could have some control over the process (local government is not already planning a major engagement initiative around the issue, for example). And they felt that a key ingredient of any project would be to have specific goals, and be very clear about what you’re trying to accomplish (too many things have been happening lately with no clear endpoint or purpose).

A couple of clear next steps emerged…

Larger-Scale Networking
NCDD is going to create a larger listserv to help public engagement folks in Central Texas connect, share resources, and announce opportunities (or we partner with Texas Forums to do this together).

Mapping Resources and Projects
Research technology that would allow us to map out who’s doing what D&D work in Central Texas. Look into whether we can also get people to start doing basic reporting on their programs (what were the successes? what was challenging?).

A small group met to talk about these things in depth.  What do others from Central Texas think about the idea of a demonstration project, or how best to run a local D&D network?  Your ideas and feedback are most welcome!

Find similar posts: Feedback Wanted, NCDD2008, Reports, Texas

Summary of Demonstration Project Idea    

The idea of an NCDD-led “demonstration project” emerged at the 2008 NCDD conference from a two-part workshop titled “How can WE revitalize democracy with D&D?” The workshop was co-led by DeAnna Martin of the Center for Wise Democracy and Adin Rogovin of the Co-Intelligence Institute.

The workshop brought together method leaders and practitioners in a dynamically facilitated fishbowl conversation to explore how we can weave together our work to enhance democracy. Workshop attendees were invited to observe the process and a couple of chairs in the fishbowl were left available so audience members could join in.  At different times the fishbowl conversation included: Tom Atlee, Theo Brown, Lucas Cioffi, Peggy Holman, Sen. Les Ihara, Julianna Padgett, Pete Peterson, Jim Rough, Elliot Shuford, John Spady, Patricia Wilson, Landon Shultz, Alexander Moll and others.

A demonstration project could…

  1. Give us the opportunity to collaborate on a tangible project that helps us learn and move forward together
  2. Generate momentum and resources for ongoing, sustainable, integrated method use
  3. Help us learn how to better meet the interests of decision makers
  4. Introduce a variety of D&D methods into governance, and integrate these methods into a system that is a citizen platform for having citizens make wise decisions in an inclusive way
  5. Build capacity at the local level and build capacity for our field – through capturing case studies, stories, and bringing leaders together to learn from one another
  6. Funnel into national processes (and vice versa) (more…)

Find similar posts: Feedback Wanted, NCDD2008, Reports

Summary of the Pre-Conference Online Dialogue on the Framing Challenge    

Challenge B: Framing this Work in an Accessible Way

Articulating the importance of this work to those beyond our immediate community (making D&D compelling to people of all income levels, education levels, and political perspectives, etc.) – and helping equip members of the D&D community to talk about this work in an accessible, effective way. Below is an outline of the great conversation we had at CivicEvolution.org about the Framing Challenge six months before the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin.

Summary created by Madeleine Van Hecke

I. What is currently happening that makes talk about D & D inaccessible or ineffective?

  • Off-putting Language (too touchy-feely at one end, too abstract and academic at the other) alienates people who might otherwise be attracted to D & D.
  • Uninspiring “colourless” language fail to engage people emotionally and so d & D approaches don’t capture the imaginations of others and don’t rally people to political engagement.
  • Language that others can’t/don’t relate to because it’s not part of their culture or is viewed negatively in their culture.
  • Using “liberal” sounding language that has troubling connotations to more politically conservative folks.
  • Using language that is blatantly disrespectful to more politically conservative folks.

II. What might we do to help D and D members talk about this work more effectively?

  • Use Graphics and Imagery to make basic D and D ideas more accessible and understandable.
  • Develop principles about what D & D means and base PR on that meaning.
  • Brainstorm with others to develop more vivid and understandable terminology.
  • Review what language is currently being used by D & D members that seems to be effective in their area.
  • Explore what is off-putting about some of our current language.
  • Explore the language used by people who are using D & D processes but don’t call them that.
  • Use language that explicitly connects D & D to solving the particular problem that the other person or group is grappling with.
  • Have people available to demonstrate what D & D is.
  • Create a guide that translates the different languages that D & D practitioners speak.
  • Encourage respect for the different languages that D & D practitioners speak.
  • Look at the “pattern language” that Tom Atlee and Peggy Holman explore in their pre-conference workshop as a possible resource.

Full Summary

Articulating the importance of this work to those beyond our immediate community (making D&D compelling to people of all income levels, education levels, and political perspectives, etc.) – and helping equip members of the D&D community to talk about this work in an accessible, effective way.

Clarifying Challenge B, defining some proposals for that challenge.

PROBLEM: Given the excitement and real curiosity I’ve experienced in people from all walks of life intrigued with D&D processes-teachers, parents, youth, elders, particularly, this challenge appeals to me. What simple tool would (easily) help us disseminate D&D and empower community or do we have it already?

SOLUTION: Clarify, edit the language of this challenge to clearly address it with an on-going team of 4 – 6 people in regular dialogue. Synthesizing what’s working/not working in this challenge. Develop proposals to make D&D processes accessible – effectively, simply and sustainably. Deliver them through NCDD 08 conference to vote on those proposals.

I. What is currently happening that makes talk about D & D inaccessible or ineffective?

A. Off-putting Language

The language some people use to describe D & D turns some people off because it is too new agey using “touchy-feely” jargon (talking about heart and meaning, love, togetherness) and turns others off because it is too ivory tower using academic jargon that goes over people’s heads (referring to deliberative democracy, whole-systems change, multi-stakeholder engagement).

Example: “I have seen many of our friends and colleagues in this field shoot themselves in the foot when they unknowingly use language that turns off young people, conservatives, power-holders, and others. It’s a problem, but they are very attached to the terms they use and can’t see the negative impact those terms have on people they’d like to reach.”

B. Uninspiring “colourless” language

The language currently used to label D & D work tends to be abstract and “bloodless,” so it isn’t terribly meaningful to people who don’t already know that the terms mean and it doesn’t trigger an emotional response (such as dialogue and deliberation, capacity-building, civic renewal, the arts of democracy). This also makes it hard to increase national awareness of D & D.

Example: Developments (in dialogue and similar approaches) “have flown under the national radar. One of the main reasons is the abstract, technical, unappealing language used to describe the work. Terms like “deliberative democracy” have so far failed as a rallying cry for citizens, public officials, or other audiences… The relationship between citizens and government is undergoing a dramatic shift; our language about democracy needs to reflect these changes. (Matt Leighninger)

C. Language that others can’t/don’t relate to.

“Many of my colleagues (people who I think are brilliant, are doing terrific work and who get a lot done and many of whom do not live or work in the U.S.) do not feel a part of or are interested in becoming a part of NCDD… partly because of language that creates a wall. For example, one colleague of mine said her clients talk a lot about decision making but do not relate to the term deliberation – even if their processes are what many of us would call deliberation. Another colleague says he would never use the term democracy because it’s too loaded and manipulative when used in the contexts he works in.” (Erin Kreeger)

D. Using “liberal” sounding language that has troubling connotations to more politically conservative folks.

Example: Jacob Hess notes that right-leaning students at the University of Illinois aren’t inclined to sign up for their dialogue program because it’s described as reflecting a “social justice” paradigm, a portrayal that remains negative to many social conservatives-code for ‘the liberal/diversity agenda.’”

E. Using language that is disrespectful to more politically conservative folks.

“At the last NCDD conference there were quite a number of times when I cringed at things I heard. Different speakers made references to “Carter = good, Reagan = bad” (which was accompanied at the appropriate times by cheers and boos) and to “Joe Sixpack” (accompanied by scattered snickers of derision). I couldn’t help thinking that if I were more conservative, I would definitely feel isolated, unwelcome and put down by such comments. I hope that we can all be more conscious of how we use language in ways that may turn away the very people we most need to engage.” (Dave Joseph)

Inspirational Quote:

“Language can either inhibit or facilitate the development of meaningful human relationships, so it is worthwhile to be careful and intentional about the words we use.” – – Landon Schultz

II. What might we do to help D and D members talk about this work more effectively?

A. Use Graphics and Imagery

Put some of the basic D and D ideas into a graphic form to make it more accessible to visual learners and to be more memorable and understandable to everyone by conjuring up images that have emotional pull in people’s minds. (Deborah Goldblatt and Avril Orloff)

B. Develop principles about what D & D means and base PR on that meaning

Develop a concise set of principles about what D & D means – “a basic floor of understanding beneath our feet which will allow us to have consequential interaction with the public (and each other) instead of continually re-establishing what D&D means” -  that could serve as a PR platform. (Brian Sullivan)

C. Brainstorm to develop more vivid and understandable terminology.

Brainstorm with others to develop introductory terminology that is understandable to beginners that can act as one public face of D & D, using methods such as generating metaphors, recalling the kinds of phrases people often use when referring to the problems D & D is attempting to solve, etc.

Examples:

Landon Schultz “I would like to propose ‘Resonance’ as a key term for the work we are doing in dialogue.”

Deborah Goldblatt offers some of the phrases that often come up in intergenerational dialogue: “in my day we would never have tolerated…,” “you mis-heard me,” boxed-in, “yeah,yeah,yeah…blah,blah,blah…I got it, I got it…,” generative listening, uncovering blind spots, resonance…very cool, learning a lot, when can we do this again?

D. Review what language is currently being used by D & D members that seems to be effective in their area.

Example: Some wisdom circles in sustainable agriculture create “citizen think-do” tanks that attempt to bring the common good back into the center of our communities to work towards “a future worth having,” phrases that appeal to both rural conservative people and urban environmental members. (Joseph McIntyre)

E. Explore what is off-putting about some of our current language to see what we might want to avoid in the language we do use, such as excluding others who don’t share our academic background.

Example: “What is it about these words, phrases, expressions that turns people off? …Personally, the bureaucratic language turns me off because … it excludes those who aren’t versed in the jargon… maybe “heart language” is a problem to others because it sounds insincere …” (Avril Orloff).

F. Explore the language that people who use D & D processes but don’t call them that use to describe their work. Consider integrating some of that language into our descriptions of D & D.

Example: Others talk more in terms of solving problems and addressing issues, and think more in terms of outcomes and content than process. Everyday Democracy now describes their work this way: “We help your community find ways for all kinds of people to think, talk and work together to solve problems.” (Sandy Heierbacher)

NCDD site says: “Welcome to the online hub for those dedicated to solving tough problems with honest talk, quality thinking and collaborative action.”

G. Use language that explicitly connects D & D to solving the particular problem that the other person or group is grappling with.

Example:  “Coming from a background of mediation I’ve learned that the most effective way to bring people to the table is to address the question of ‘what’s in it for me?’ … In the political environment in which I work I often face resistance to “process” as time consuming, touchy-feely” and too difficult as an alternative to just having the powers that be mandate. What has been effective for me with politicians is to talk about building “political will” which only exists when people believe that the solution meets THEIR needs and interests.” (Judith Mowry)

H. Have people available to demonstrate what D & D is.

Form an “ambassadorial team” from the NCDD skilled network who would be called on to demonstrate D&D on a voluntary basis when requests come through NCDD. A standard presentation could be created for a variety of purposes: for example – a rotary club, community councils, peace and conflict departments in schools….etc.

I. Create something that translates the different languages that D & D practitioners speak.

Create a thesaurus or “cross-walk” that shows how all the different terms relate to one another rather than asking or expecting people to give up their ingrained or preferred language. (Rod Reyna)

J. Encourage respect for the different languages that D & D practitioners speak.

Urge everyone to be respectful of other people’s language, viewing it as a gift to the larger group (Rod Reyna) and also “be a bit forgiving …In what we say, and in what we hear from others with different experiences.” (John Spady)

K. Look at the “pattern language” that Tom Atlee and Peggy Holman explore in their pre-conference workshop as a possible resource.

Summary of the Pre-Conference Online Dialogue on the Systems Challenge    

The “Systems Challenge” focuses on rooting the values and practices of dialogue and deliberation in our public and private systems (governance, schools, organizations, etc.) so that using more democratic methods of involving people, making decisions and solving problems can happen more naturally and more easily in such systems. Below is an outline of the great conversation we had at CivicEvolution.org 6 months before the 2008 NCDD conference in Austin.

Summary created by Madeleine Van Hecke

A. What makes it hard to root D & D values into larger systems?

  1. Lack of accessible language to communicate with others about D & D.
  2. Dysfunctional democratic institutions that impede genuine democracy.
  3. Educational systems that discourage inquiry and dialogue.
  4. Difficulty in making D & D practices used to address temporary issues standard practices.

B. What might help to root D & D values into larger systems?

  1. Envision what “success” in rooting D & D in larger systems would look like – and what the steps needed to achieve that would look like.
  2. Model D & D as a normative practice.
  3. Work to create structural changes in the system.
  4. Have a conference session to explore how people are using film and other media to introduce D & D ideas.
  5. Demonstrate that D and D practices can help solve a problem important to the system.
  6. Make D & D practices part of the professionals’ tool kit.
  7. Make D & D practices part of the ethical code of professionals.
  8. Make more people responsible for decision-making.
  9. Find ways to use technology to advance D & D without leaving behind those who are not part of the technological culture.
  10. Influence educational settings so that they encourage D & D practices and help students develop D & D values and principles.
  11. Encourage changes to make schools more humane and more conducive to students’ learning D & D principles.
  12. Ways to explore this challenge further in a conference session.

Full Summary

I. What makes it hard to root D & D values into larger systems?

A. Lack of accessible language to communicate with others about D & D

We need an accessible language (see Challenge B which deals directly with this need) in order to make D & D integral to other systems. Decision-makers won’t support the use of dialogue, facilitation, etc. until they experience “that heartfelt feeling that some essential (and heretofore missing) piece in the puzzle of their understanding has just slipped into place,” and for that to happen, we need “clear identity as a field” that is expressed in compelling and accessible language. (Brandon Williamscraig)

B. Dysfunctional democratic institutions that impede genuine democracy.

“We (NCDD) talk about democratic agencies and conversations as if they were not tainted” (but) “as long as governments represent the wealthy and powerful and dominant white cultural values, few people can have “access to, or a functional relationship with our government… we need to embed dialogue (not deliberation) into our institutions” in order to remove the sense of separateness and isolation and regain our sense of society as “an infinitely diverse totally interdependent occurrence held together by love.” How to do this? “There was a great model proposed in 5th century Athens, and Socrates gave his life for it.” (Rogier Gregoire)

“I’ve spent many an hour (and brew) contemplating the chicken or the egg question of democracy and D&D in a top-down culture. It probably calls for broadly democratic movements willing to put narrow agendas aside to build democratic culture and D&D literacy at the same time.” (Dennis Boyer)

C. Educational systems that discourage inquiry and dialogue.

“The misunderstanding or resistance to dialogue in the society is the result of a 100 years of social engineering in our schools (which is based on) an answer driven instructional model that discourages if not outright prohibits inquiry, essential to dialogue.” (Rogier Gregoire)

D. Difficulty in making D & D practices used to address temporary issues standard practices.

Most of the civic experiments that have emerged in the last decade have been temporary organizing efforts, mobilizing a diverse, critical mass of people to address an important public issue over a short period of time. (But) Even when they are successful … temporary efforts don’t often lead to structured, long-term changes in the way citizens and government interact. So “how can we ‘embed’ democratic principles in the work of our public institutions, so that deliberation and democratic governance become commonplace in the way that our communities (and countries) conduct their public business?” (Matt Leighninger)

Caveat about this challenge:

(Caveat from Jacob Hess) “While supporting the goal of making D & D integral to various systems, Jacob Hess reminds us that sometimes establishing an alternative approach separate from the dominant system is more effective than trying to integrate a new approach into a system which resists change and may dilute or distort that ‘authentic alternative’ – so let’s do ”both-and.”

II. What might help to root D & D values into larger systems?

A. Envision what “success” in rooting D & D in larger systems would look like – and what the steps needed to achieve that would look like.

“If we start by describing the desired state then we might have another way of describing this challenge and the title of the challenge… (would success be) when a town hires a Director of City-wide D&D to help people talk about their problems using D & D… Or is it “success” when they no longer need a position dedicated to D&D because it is so second nature, it is a pattern of behavior, the norm of the community and everyone has the skill to lead and/or participate? (Taylor Willingham)

B. Model D & D as a normative practice (rather than “convincing” systems to adopt D & D)

“If we are living D&D in our own practice and orgs and communities etc. then that introduces and models and becomes a norm of practice in a way that doesn’t focus on convincing.” Erin Kreeger reflects on her experience in coming out as a lesbian in high school and then being asked to educate others through speaking on panels and at conferences. She found that she “made a lot more progress by “being out” than “coming out.” … (that is) “When I treated me being a lesbian as something normal, it truly became more normal for other people.” Should we approach D & D in this way, as a “normal” way of relating/communicating?” (Erin Kreeger)

C. Work to create structural changes in the system

Matt Leighninger describes the structural changes that he believes necessary to have D & D that leads to action and policy change occur in our lives. Basically, it needs to be “an organized effort, staffed, structured, connected to decision-makers” – and to be sustained it needs “to be staffed more permanently, made politically legitimate, and incorporated into an updated legal framework for citizen participation.” (Matt Leighninger) Matt discusses this in this book Visions of Embeddedness, 2006, Vanderbilt University Press.

D. Have a conference session to explore how people are using film and other media to introduce D & D ideas.

“Documentaries often have D&D materials to support their media. For example, see Unnatural Causes, a film currently running on PBS: http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/. I would love to see a workshop at the conference on how people are using film to stimulate discussion” using guides based on D & D principles.” (Taylor Willingham)

E. Demonstrate that D and D practices can help solve a problem important to the system.

One way to introduce D and D into larger systems is to identify a “felt need” that D & D can address. Example: The problem of bullying is being addressed in some schools through what is essentially having children and teens experience a dialogic process. For a documentary film showing the teens in some of these sessions, see the clip entitled “Teen Files” at http://www.challengeday.org/our_program/videos.html”http://www.challengeday.org/our_program/videos.html (Madeleine Van Hecke)

F. Make D & D practices part of the professionals’ tool kit.

For public administrators and policy analysts D&D could be regarded as a part of the professional toolkit and might also be installed in “best practices.” (Dennis Boyer)

G. Make D & D practices part of the ethical code of professionals

For those within regulated professions with codes of ethics or standards it may be worth the effort to expand the concepts of public input, open meetings,due process, and other procedure requirements to include more fully deliberative means of public governance interaction. (Dennis Boyer)

H. Make more people responsible for decision-making.

There might be ways to install D&D in employment relations, corporate social responsibility, and regulatory environments through enlarging deliberative obligations to broader categories of stakeholders, shareholders, and employees. (Dennis Boyer)

I. Find ways to use technology to advance D & D without leaving behind those who are not part of the technological culture

How do we insure the techno savvy advanced enable those without the means to participate fully in the conversations ? … Perhaps one year is devoted to making NCDD technologies available to as many populations as possible. (J. Allen Johnson)

J. Influence educational settings so that they encourage D & D practices and help students develop D & D values and principles

Explore what educational strategies D & D has that can be imported into an educational environment that supports transformation and encourage the spread of the “best educational” practices when these involve students learning the tools needed for D & D. Encourage “transformative changes in the teachers themselves in terms of how they view education, learning, children’s capabilities, etc.” (Patricia Boone-Edgerton Longoni)

Make sure that theses “best practices” represent efforts at transformation and that they they are sensitively adapted to the new situation. (Rogier Gregoire)

K. Encourage changes to make schools more humane and more conducive to students’ learning D & D principles.

These changes would include:

Improve the ability of teachers to collaborate openly in the management of classroom practice; rethink the design of the modern school in ways that lead to transformation from within, not imposed; implement a methodology for determining instructional effectiveness that is not based on everyone producing the same right answer; abandon competition as a motive for intellectual effort; promote civic sensibilities, fellowship, and communal responsibility as an aspect of instruction; support critical thinking and an an inquiry based pedagogy; question the assumptions and mythologies that promote and perpetuate racism, for one critical but practical policy. (Rogier Gregoire)

L. Explore this challenge further in a conference session

Have a conference session that focuses on how to introduce D & D into larger systems, including how to describe what D & D can do for that system that would make its value apparent to decision-makers.

Sample Questions to be addressed:

1) What are some effective ways to make more organizations aware of the benefits of D and D?

2) What keeps organizations from adopting these approaches (e.g., lack of confidence in their ability to implement some of the approaches?)

3) What can the D and D organization do to help the organizations address those obstacles?

4) What are some creative ways to use media (films, documentaries, a work of fiction, etc.) to illustrate D and D to newcomers?

5) What are some creative ways to get top-level decisions makers (e.g., CEO’s) in a situation where they personally experience the benefits of D and D?

6) When D and D has been adopted and made an integral part of a system, how did that happen? (Madeleine Van Hecke)

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