Collaborative Problem-Solving & Governance
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Lisa B. Bingham and Rosemary O'Leary. IBM Center for the Business of Government. Networks, Collaboration, and Partnerships Series, 2008.
This 50-page report expands on previous Center reports by adding an important practical tool for managers in networks: how to manage and negotiate the conflicts that may occur among a network's members. The approach they describe - interest-based negotiation - has worked in other settings, such as bargaining with unions. Such negotiation techniques are becoming crucial in sustaining the effectiveness of networks, where successful performance is defined by how well people collaborate and not by hierarchical commands.
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.
Tom Atlee. The Co-Intelligence Institute, 2005.
This article addresses the question of how to connect different forms of citizen dialogue and deliberation - from mass participatory contexts to more complex forms of deliberation with limited participation - to generate collective wisdom that is truly democratic.
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.
Best Practices for Government Agencies: Guidelines for Using Collaborative Agreement-Seeking Processes
The Society for Professionals in Dispute Resolution (now the Association for Conflict Resolution), 1997.
The recommendations in this report were developed through a joint effort of the SPIDR Environmental/Public Disputes Sector and the Consortium on Negotiation and Conflict Resolution in Atlanta, Georgia, supported by the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation. This report focuses on best practices for government agencies and other users in the U.S. and Canada, reflecting the membership of the SPIDR Environmental/Public Disputes Sector. While potentially applicable to other countries, the recommendations will likely need to be tailored to the political frameworks, institutions and cultural norms in those societies.
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.
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 Center is a joint program of California State University, Sacramento and the McGeorge School of Law, University of the Pacific. The mission of the Center is to build the capacity of public agencies, stakeholder groups, and the public to use collaborative strategies to improve policy outcomes. The Center produces a quarterly newsletter called The Collaborative Edge.
National League of Cities, 2006.
Drawing on case studies of successful projects, this guide: explains how to educate, involve, and mobilize citizens in a variety of events and initiatives; describes how communities have used democratic governance approaches to address key issues; builds on city strategies for accomplishing key tasks using shorter-term mechanisms; and describes some of the more permanent, structural forms of democratic governance that have emerged recently. Changing the Way We Govern is an essential tool for anyone who is tired of the conflict and apathy created by old-fashioned citizen involvement methods ? and who wants to tap into the full potential of citizens and public life.
Charrettes are typically a potent combination of modern design studio and town meeting, with a dash of the teamwork from an old-fashioned barnraising mixed in. Most start with a hands-on session for citizens and continue in an around-the-clock, energetic push until a plan is finished about a week later. A charrette can be a breakthrough event that helps overcome inertia and creates a meaningful master plan. Properly executed, this technique can produce a master plan that is more useful, better understood, and more quickly produced than one formed by other methods.
In the summer of 2006, the Case Foundation published Cynthia Gibson's groundbreaking paper "Citizens at the Center: A New Approach to Civic Engagement." The publication generated much discussion and debate, and this blog was created to allow the conversation to continue. Focused on all things "citizen-centered" (a term which includes not only citizens, but also those who aspire to be citizens, including immigrants), the blog attempts to dig down into how we can make civic engagement, civic discourse, political involvement, volunteering, and other good practices part and parcel of everyday life rather than something people do in their spare time or occasionally.
The unique Citizens? Assembly process was pioneered in British Columbia (Canada) in 2004. The process gathered a randomly-selected group of voters together over the course of a year to learn about electoral systems, conduct public hearings, and spend an extended amount of time deliberating about what new electoral system (if any) should replace the existing one. Ontario is following the BC process pretty closely. The Ontario Assembly will meet in three phases: a learning phase, a public hearing phase, and a deliberation phase. The Assembly is empowered to craft a recommendation for a new electoral system that will be put directly to a public referendum....
Elodie Fazi and Jeremy Smith. Study commissioned by the Civil Society Contact Group, 2006.
NGOs play a growing role in shaping the EU project through their participation in a "civil dialogue" with the EU institutions. After several decades of involvement in the European project, the time came for a common reflection on how to make this dialogue between EU and its citizens work better. This study is based on an overview of dialogue with EU institutions and on case studies with a particular focus on national NGOs? involvement, and looks at the practice of dialogue between NGOs and EU institutions, reviewing what works and what doesn?t, and making recommendations for change.
A network of over 100 interdisciplinary and international scholars has been established to focus on the need to enhance the role of deliberative and collaborative methods in democratic governance. The goal of the network is to collaborate on research and theory building to strengthen the capacity of democratic governance institutions to produce better public policy. The Collaborative Democracy Network is being coordinated by the Center for Collaborative Policy at California State University Sacramento.
Center for Collaborative Policy at Ca. State University Sacramento.
As collaborative strategies and methods grow more important in dealing with complex and 'wicked' public policy issues, information about cutting edge developments in collaboration methods becomes more essential. The Collaborative Edge, an internet-based newsletter, provides timely information on collaborative strategies and methods to public agencies, civic organizations, and the public. Each quarterly edition includes articles on success stories, tool kits, challenging issues, and news and resources.
The Collaborative Governance Initiative, a program of the Institute for Local Government, supports informed and effective civic engagement in public decision-making and helps local officials in California successfully navigate among the many community involvement options that bring the public's voice to the table on important issues. Contact them for information or assistance with civic engagement planning. The Institute for Local Government is the nonprofit research and education affiliate of the League of California Cities.
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