Collaborative Problem-Solving & Governance
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AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meeting method creates engaging, meaningful opportunities for citizens to participate in public decision making. This unique process updates the traditional New England town meeting to address the needs of today's citizens, decision makers and democracy.
Bill McAuliffe. Minneapolis-St. Paul Star Tribune, April 22, 2007.
Nan Skelton at the University of Minnesota brought this article to our attention, which she says is a great local story that shows the Mayors in St. Paul and Minneapolis beginning to make the paradigm shift to a culture of citizen-government partnership. The subtitle of this article is "It's called global warming, but cities and towns, including the Twin Cities, are waging the war."
Brian Auvine. Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1981.
The role of group facilitator is often pivotal to good results for groups making the transition to consensus. The Manual is a great introduction to the concept of approaching the role of facilitator as someone who welcomes both rational and emotional input. The staff of the Center for Conflict Resolution put their experience in working with groups into A Manual for Group Facilitators. This is an informal outline detailing useful and effective techniques to help groups work well. More than a simple 'how to,' the manual contains a discussion of the values, dynamics, and common sense behind group process that have been verified by our own experience.
The Alliance for Regional Stewardship (ARS) is a national, peer-to-peer network of regional leaders working across boundaries to solve tough community problems. They come from business, government, education, and the civic sectors, but they share a common commitment to collaborative action and achieving results. The ARS Network is for proven leaders who recognize that economic competitiveness, a sustainable quality of life, and strong communities are all connected. ARS supports these leaders and their efforts by helping them learn about effective practices from other regions, develop their own civic leadership skills, and design and carry out strategies for breakthrough results.
Sandy Heierbacher. National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD), 2004.
Collaborative technology can create an interactive learning environment involving people who are hundreds or thousands of miles apart. Businesses are far more savvy with the more sophisticated packages of high-tech tools available than we are in the dialogue and deliberation community, and the prohibitive cost of many of the tools, software and services primarily marketed to businesses is the most obvious reason for that.
Lisa-Marie Napoli, Ph.D., Becky Nesbit and Lisa Blomgren Bingham.
This 20-slide PowerPoint presentation provides an overview of research conducted on multiple AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meetings. The goal of the study was to examine the relationship of the deliberation event to the policy process. The researchers concluded that 21st Century Town Meeting agendas are citizen-driven; that citizens and and client organizations need more clarity up front about the relationship between the forum and the policy process; and that impacts will depend on follow through, and right now there is limited evidence of government making concrete use of the plans or agendas from the meetings.
Lynne M. Borden and Daniel F. Perkins. Journal of Extension [On-line], 37 (2)., 1999.
This tool offers a self-assessment exercise which allows groups to rate their collaboration on key factors including goals, communication, sustainability, evaluation, political climate, resources, catalysts, policies/laws/regulations, history, connectedness, leadership, community development, and understanding community. The tool helps groups identify the factors that need to be worked on so groups can develop strategies to address these issues, thus allowing the group to move forward and accomplish their goals.
Vivien Twyford, Max Hardy, John Dengate, Stuart Waters and Dr. Vicki Vaartjes. Published by Twyford Consulting, 2007.
Beyond Public Meetings challenges myths and assumptions associated with community engagement and provides organisations, including all layers of government, with a comprehensive guide to why and how communities can be engaged to make better decisions. Written by five internationally recognised experts in the field of community engagement, the book provides a best practice guide to community engagement, building upon the successful framework developed by the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2).
This 2-page document was used as a handout for the workshop entitled "Collaborative Governance in Local Government: Choosing Practice Models and Assessing Experience" given by Terry Amsler, Lisa Blomgren Bingham, and Malka Kopell at the 2006 NCDD Conference. The handout offers suggestions for achieving better representation in public involvement and civic engagement efforts that were compiled by the Institute for Local Government?s Collaborative Governance Initiative.
The Brisbane Declaration drew on numerous definitions and aspirations for community engagement, including IAP2's core values and the Queensland Government's community engagement resources. A draft of the Declaration was reviewed and revised to reflect the feedback from the community of practitioners, academics, policy advisers, government and citizens who responded to a questionnaire. Importantly, there were also a number of deliberative sessions on the Declaration held during the 2005 International Conference on Engaging Communities. Feedback from these sessions was incorporated into the final version of the Declaration.
Aaron Schneider and Ben Goldfrank. Institute of Development Studies, Brighton, Sussex, England, 2002.
Budgeting institutions in the state of Rio Grande do Sul bring participatory democracy to public finance. A chief impact of participatory institutions is to change the relative power of groups within society. In this case, with the Workers' Party in state office, participatory decision-making strengthened lower-class groups interested in redistribution to the poor. Putting participatory budgeting in place was no easy task, however, as it required overcoming the difficulties of incorporating face-to-face decision-making at a scale unprecedented in terms of the number of people and the amount of money at stake.
Pennie G. Foster-Fishman, Shelby L. Berkowitz, David W. Lounsbury, and Nicole A. Allen. American Journal of Community Psychology, 29(2), 241-261., 2001.
This article presents the results of a qualitative analysis of 80 articles, chapters, and practitioners' guides focused on collaboration and coalition functioning. The purpose of this review was to develop an integrative framework that captures the core competencies and processes needed within collaborative bodies to facilitate their success. The resulting framework for building collaborative capacity is presented. Four critical levels of collaborative capacity - member capacity, relational capacity, organizational capacity, and programmatic capacity - are described and strategies for building each type are provided. The implications of this model for practitioners and scholars are discussed.
Michael Briand. Pew Partnership for Civic Change, 1995.
A 36-page booklet introduces the reader to the role deliberation can play in creating new opportunities for communities to work together in more productive ways. The report draws on statistical and educational research to support the thesis that deliberative discussions can help a community learn its own strengths and weaknesses and can help bolster its confidence in its ability to change itself for the better. Using a Community Convention (a contemporary version of the New England town meeting) as a vehicle, the report explores the possibility of achieving a representative voice from all community segments.
National League of Cities, 2005.
As the role of local officials in reforming public involvement increases, the National League of Cities (NLC) believes there is a need to assist them as they choose how to get citizens involved and at what level of engagement. This 84-page report from NLC's CityFutures Program provides principles, suggestions, and ideas for local elected leadership on citizen involvement.
Building Strong Neighborhoods: A Study Circle Guide for Public Dialogue and Community Problem Solving
Study Circles Resource Center (SCRC), 1998.
A four-session discussion guide on many important neighborhood issues including: race and other kinds of differences; young people and families; safety and community-police relations; homes, housing and beautification; jobs and neighborhood economy; and schools.
Michael Avery, Brian Auvine, Barbara Streible and Lonnie Weiss. Center for Conflict Resolution; reprinted by the Fellowship for Intentional Community, 1981.
Consensus decision making in groups can maximize cooperation and participation of all group members. Consensus brings together the needs, resources, and ideas of every group member by means of a supportive creative structure. This classic introduction to secular consensus was recently brought back into print by the Fellowship for Intentional Community. It is an excellent explanation of what it means to make the switch from voting to consensus, and how to unlock the potential of groups working with the whole person. Highly recommended, it is the companion publication to A Manual for Group Facilitators.
The Canadian Institute for Public Engagement is a new national, non-profit organization dedicated to building and improving best practices in public engagement. Located in Ottawa, with representation across Canada and international connections, the Institute reports to an experienced Board of Directors and receives input from a dedicated and knowledgeable Advisory Committee. The Institute is building its membership base and will be seeking input from members along the way.
Case Study 2 - Porto Alegre, Brazil: Participatory Approaches in Budgeting and Public Expenditure Management
World Bank / World Bank and Participation / Participation Sourcebook, 2003.
This 5-page case study presents a broad review of an experience in Participatory Budgeting introduced by the Workers Party (PT) in the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre, as part of their agenda of deepening democracy through ?popular administration? of government. Having won several municipal elections in 1989, including Sao Paulo with over 10 million people, the PT began a creative experiment of engaging a wide spectrum of people to formulate city budgets. The Porto Alegre case in particular, having been nominated by the 1996 UN Summit on Human Settlements in Istanbul as an exemplary ?urban innovation?, has stood out for demonstrating an efficient practice of democratic resource management.
Sandy Heierbacher. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, 2003.
The Board of Technology was established by the Danish Parliament in 1986 to help ensure that technology decisions are made wisely. In its assessments of technology issues, the Board makes use of expert knowledge as well as the insight and experience of non-expert citizens. Armed with this knowledge, the Board of Technology is able to serve as an independent source of high-quality advice and assessment to the Parliament regarding technology issues. The Board of Technology also encourages decision-makers and citizens to engage in informed debate and discussion about technology issues.
Sandy Heierbacher. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2003.
FCAB provides advice to the U.S. Department of Energy on issues pertaining to the remediation (clean-up) of the DOE site in Fernald, Ohio. The site was used to produce uranium for nuclear weapons from 1951 to 1989, during which time over one million pounds of uranium were released into the surrounding environment. FCAB recommendations and advice provide the DOE with an understanding of the issues and concerns that are important to local stakeholders and ensure that these perspectives influence activities pertaining to the clean-up and future use of the Fernald site.
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