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."
Participatory Budgeting (PB) programs are innovative policymaking processes. Citizens are directly involved in making policy decisions. Forums are held throughout the year so that citizens have the opportunity to allocate resources, prioritize broad social policies, and monitor public spending. These programs are designed incorporate citizens into the policymaking process, spur administrative reform, and distribute public resources to low-income neighborhoods. Download the 32-page guide directly from the NCDD website.
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.
J. Abelson, P-G. Forest, J. Eyles, P. Smith, E. Martin, F-P Gauvin. Deliberations about Deliberation: Issues in the Design and Evaluation of Public Consultation Processes, McMaster University Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Research Working Paper 01-04, June, 2001.
This PDF document presents a 5-page matrix of public participation and consultation methods, both deliberative and non-deliberative. Included are Citizens Juries, Citizens Panels, Planning Cells, Consensus Conferences, Deliberative Polling, focus groups, consensus building exercises, surveys, public hearings, open houses, Citizen Advisory Committees, community planning, visioning, and more.
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.
Ratnesh Nagda. Study Circles Resource Center.
The tool-kit is a community-centered and user-friendly guide to evaluation for study circles organizers. It focuses on empowerment evaluation and the logic model.
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. Submitted to the 2006 National Conference on Dialogue & Deliberation, 2006.
This 33-page research report presented at NCDD's 2006 conference examines AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meeting - one important model for facilitating citizen participation through large scale (100-5,000) dialogue in which citizens come together, listen to each other in a public arena, and make decisions as a collective community. Many researchers ask why there is a gap between scholarship and practice in the field of deliberation; this study responds to the call for empirical testing by examining the AmericaSpeaks model of a 21st Town Meeting. Specifically, this study examines agenda setting, implementation, and outcomes in the context of three different cities where the Town Hall Meetings occurred.
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).
The Institute for Local Government of the Collaborative Governance Initiative.
A brief overview of ideas that can assist in making civic engagement efforts more inclusive and representative of your community.
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.
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