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Other Models & Techniques

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A Conversation About Conflict Great for Beginners

Search for Common Ground's "Conversations About Conflict" are 1.5- to 2-hour workshops that can be run for any given audience interested in conflict resolution. The purpose of the Conversation is to help people develop a new awareness of conflicts in our lives - how we currently respond to them, what they cost us, and the alternative approaches that can be used to deal with them in a more constructive manner. SFCG offers a dialogue guide and other resources to help you lead Conversations About Conflict.

Resource Link: http://www.sfcg.org/resources/training/resources_conversation.html

A Planning Tool for Thinking About the Future of the Public Service

Clerk of the Privy Council, 1996.

This document describes the process and the results of the Task Force commissioned by the Clerk of the Privy Council in August 1995. The Task Force used scenario building methodology to look at the future. This process, pioneered by the Royal Dutch Shell Group of companies in the early 1970's and increasingly used by the private and public sectors around the world, is essentially a method of encouraging and facilitating strategic thinking, planning, and dialogue.

Resource Link: http://www.myschool-monecole.gc.ca/Research/publications/pdfs/psfuture.pdf

A Selected Study of the Benefits of Dialogue in Small Groups and Implications for Symbolic Dialogue in Larger Groups

John I. Spady, Forum Foundation.

The purpose of this study is to examine the benefits of the use of dialogue as a strategy for the successful functioning of small groups. Using the methodology of grounded theory, literature published between the years 1990 and 2000 are examined and interpreted. Conclusions list the benefits of dialogue attributed to small groups and relate ways to scale them to larger groups using the technique of symbolic dialogue as defined by Spady and Bell (1998).

Resource Link: http://homepage.mac.com/jspady/.Public/Benefits%20of%20Dialogue.pdf

Americans Talk Issues

The ATI Foundation promotes a democratic process that combines repeated large-scale, random polling of Americans with 30-minute deliberations between individual voters and unbiased professional interviewers. The result is a consensus of public opinion, which sometimes includes unexpected positions and solutions. As explained in the book Locating Consensus for Democracy, Public Interest Polling provides an inexpensive, practical way to locate a consensus of all Americans on major national issues.

Resource Link: http://www.publicinterestpolling.com

Ascentum Highly Recommended

Ascentum is a Canada-based professional services firm that combines a unique technology expertise with specialized management consulting services. Dialogue Circles is Ascentum's intermodal approach to consultation that aims to maximize the synergies between the traditional and online worlds of consultation and dialogue. Dialogue Circles provides clients with the flexibility to hold online or traditional consultation and dialogue. According to Ascentum, many of the most successful consultation and dialogue endeavors now involve a mix of online tools and traditional face-to-face approaches that complement one another.

Resource Link: http://www.ascentum.ca

Ascentum's Dialoguecircles Training

Ascentum's dialoguecircles training series includes a wide array of courses on consultation and dialogue (Introduction to Intermodal Consultation and Dialogue, Dialoguecircles Methodology for Consultation and Dialogue, Analyzing Results from Consultation and Dialogue Projects, etc.) designed to meet your needs. All courses and certification programs are based on our proven dialoguecircles methodology. Developed by Sandra Zagon, Joseph Peters and Manon Abud, experts in the consultation and dialogue field, our training courses are practical, relevant and dynamic.

Resource Link: http://www.dialoguecircles.com/training

Backcasting

Backcasting is a method of analysing alternative futures, often energy futures. Its major distinguishing characteristic is a concern with how desirable futures can be attained. It involves working backward from a desired future end point or set of goals to the present to determine the physical feasibility of that particular future and the policy measures that would be required to reach that end point. End points are usually chosen for a time 25 to 50 years in the future.

Building a More United America: Final Report of the Uniting America Series

The American Assembly, 2002.

This report provides a summary of the four-year series of national Assemblies in the Uniting America series, and is designed to catalyze a national dialogue on ways to help reverse some of the most divisive forces within American society. The Uniting America series was created to deal with some of the most divisive tensions in our society and move us toward a more united America. Since the horrors of September 11, 2001, our purpose has become even more significant, as many underlying tensions within our society have become obscured by a sense of national unity. As a companion to this report, we have written a manual that offers suggestions for organizing community dialogues.

Resource Link: http://www.americanassembly.org

Case Study of the Fernald, Ohio Citizens Advisory Board Great for Beginners

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.

Resource Link: http://www.thataway.org/exchange/files/docs/Fernald_case.doc

Center for Strategic Facilitation (CSF)

CSF is a partnership of consultants experienced in training, facilitation and organizational development, who collaborate to expand the use of participatory approaches and methods by individuals, organizations and communities. CSF is affiliated with The Institute of Cultural Affairs, a leader over the past four decades in promoting lasting positive change in communities, nonprofit organizations and businesses. They utilize a distinct and proven approach developed by the ICA called the Technology of Participation (ToP), and offer a number of trainings on facilitative leadership and group facilitation methods.

Resource Link: http://www.strategicfacilitation.com

Civic Reflection Great for Beginners Highly Recommended

Civic reflection is the practice of bringing together a group of people who are engaged in common civic work to read and talk about fundamental questions of civic life. This form of dialogue draws upon the rich resources of the humanities--using readings of literature, philosophy, and history, and the age-old practice of text-based discussion--to help civic leaders think more carefully and talk more comfortably about their values and choices.

Co-Laboratories of Democracy: How People Harness Their Collective Wisdom to Create the Future

Alexander N. Christakis, with Kenneth C. Bausch, Institute for 21st Century Agoras. Information Age Publishing Inc., 2006.

We have all experienced the benefits of dialogue when we openly and thoughtfully confront issues. We have also experienced the frustration of interminable discussion that does not lead to progress. Co-Laboratories of Democracy enable large, diverse groups to dialogue and generate positive results.

Resource Link: http://www.globalagoras.org

Commonway Institute

Sharif Abdullah, an attorney who quit law frustrated with its adversarial nature, formed the Commonway Institute in Portland, Oregon. Abdullah helps Commons Café organizers recruit a group of about 40 participants from both sides of a cultural divide and foster a discussion group.

Resource Link: http://www.commonway.org

Conducting Your Community Dialogue Manual

The American Assembly - The National Dialogue, 2002.

The manual provides the essential tools you will need to conduct a Uniting America community dialogue: ways for defining 'your community,' for choosing a format and for creating discussion questions. In addition, the series report, Building a More United America, will give your dialogue a national context as well as provide a convenient reference for well-considered policy options. The American Assembly's unique process builds a constructive consensus for action, and collectively, the dialogues will deepen the engagement of individuals in their communities and strengthen the quality of public opinion nationwide.

Resource Link: http://www.americanassembly.org/unitingamerica.org/dialogue/ndorg.htm

Consensus Statement and Survey for Wise Democracy Victoria II

The statements in this survey were formulated by local residents who agreed to meet as a Wisdom Council for Victoria on June 22-23, 2007. Wisdom Councils create consensus statements which are presented to the public or an institution in a public meeting. The public meeting starts a discussion that engages the broader community. In order to gauge the public's level of agreement with the Wisdom Council's statements, an online OpinionnaireŽ (a tool being demonstrated for this event by the Forum Foundation) is being used to reveal degrees of consensus for those who participate. We are posting the contents of the survey as a great example of two dialogue and deliberation organizations combining their assets to help promote, evaluate, and further a D&D; program.

Resource Link: http://opn.forumfoundation.org/index.php?pid=30

Conversation Dinners or Conversation Meetings

The concept of the "Conversation Dinner" seems to have come from Theodore Zeldin. For this simple process, people are split into pairs and given a "conversation menu" from which they can choose their conversation topics. The menu could have a subject area theme such as "intergroup dialogue" or it could be a generic menu listing personal questions designed to help people to get to know each other. Conversation Meetings may or may not happen over meals; sometimes partners are encouraged to take walks together. Whatever the situation, privacy is key.

Cooperative Inquiry Highly Recommended

Cooperative inquiry is a research method that provides a framework for participants to use their own experience to generate insights around an issue that is of mutual concern. Participants form a group, usually of about 7-8 people, define a pressing question and agree to meet on several occasions over a period of time. During meetings, members reflect together on their work as it relates to the question. Between meetings, members inquire into their own practice, observe their experiences and implement new actions that might help them learn something new about the question.

Cooperative Inquiry

"In traditional research on people, the roles of researcher and subject are mutually exclusive. The researcher only contributes the thinking that goes into the project, and the subjects only contribute the action to be studied. In co-operative inquiry these exclusive roles are replaced by a co-operative relationship of bilateral initiative and control, so that all those involved work together as co-researchers and as co-subjects. They both design, manage and draw conclusions from the inquiry, and they undergo the experience and action that is being explored. This is not research on people, but research with people."

Democs

Democs (deliberative meeting of citizens) is part card game, part policy-making tool that enables small groups of people to engage with complex public policy issues. It helps people find out about a topic, express their views, seek common ground with the other participants, and state their preferred policy position from a given choice of four. Participants can also add their own policy positions.

Resource Link: http://www.neweconomics.org/gen/democs.aspx

Dialogos, Inc.

Founded by William Isaacs, Dialogos promotes the spirit and practice of dialogue for strategic use at all levels of leadership within and across organizations. They work with client organizations to meet their business objectives by transforming taken-for-granted limits in ways of thinking and acting.

Resource Link: http://www.dialogos-inc.com

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