Most Highly Recommended Resources
These resources are recommended highly by NCDD for many reasons. Some are highly regarded by practitioners or scholars. Some have caused a buzz in the field. Some have proven themselves to be highly effective when put into practice. And some are just the best resources of their kind. As these distinctions are highly subjective, we are open to your feedback and ideas for other resources we should recommend.
Here are all of the resources in this category that NCDD recommends most highly. Too many choices? Narrow your results
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A Community Builder's Tool Kit: 15 Tools for Creating Healthy, Productive Interracial/Multicultural Communities
Anti-Racism Initiative of the Institute for Democratic Renewal and Project Change, 2001.
This primer for revitalizing democracy from the ground up can be downloaded for free or ordered for $1.50 per copy.
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.
Public Conversations Project.
The model described here was developed for the single session introductory dialogues on abortion that Public Conversations Project conducted in 1990-1992 (eighteen sessions) and 1995-1998 (ten sessions). Most of these dialogues took place on weekday evenings between 6:00 and 9:30 and involved four to eight participants who did not know one another ahead of time. Several participants were activists but few were highly visible leaders. All groups were evenly balanced with people who described themselves as ?prochoice? or ?prolife.?
Chris Carlson and Jim Arthur. Policy Consensus Institute.
This 75-page step-by-step handbook walks readers through the stages of sponsoring, organizing, and participating in a public policy consensus process. Designed primarily for government agencies or departments, the guide also is useful for any other sponsor of - or participant in - a consensus building process.
Harold H. Saunders, International Institute for Sustained Dialogue. St. Martin's Press, 1999.
Harold Saunders, former Assistant Secretary of State and negotiator of the Camp David Accords and now Director of International Programs at the Kettering Foundation, distills over 35 years of experience working with conflicts across the globe. This book describes how sustained dialogue can help conflicting groups of citizens move toward resolution.
The World Café is an easy-to-use method for creating a living network of collaborative dialogue around questions that matter to the real-life situations of your organizations or community. In this beautifully illustrated booklet, Juanita Brown collaborates with Nancy Margulies and the World Café Community to articulate seven guiding principles for people to use to host their own Café. Learn about the thousands of people on five continents who have experienced the World Café, a model for setting up the ideal Café for your group, the roles of the hosts, crafting powerful questions, Café assumptions and etiquette, and more.
Julie Pratt. West Virginia Center for Civic Life, with support from the Kettering Foundation.
Issue framing is rooted in the belief that democracy depends upon people making choices together about how to deal with problems in their communities. Framing an issue for public deliberation requires us to examine a problem from many angles. It encourages us to be curious about - and even compassionate toward - ideas that differ from our own, so that our deliberations may help us discover common ground for action. A well-framed issue will be inclusive of differing perspectives and will be framed in public terms that citizens can relate to. This great 22-page workbook takes you through the various components or steps of framing an issue for public deliberation.
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.
The World Cafe Community Foundation, 2002.
This concise 7-page guide to the World Café covers the basics of the process. It includes brief outlines of each principle, a description of Café Etiquette, an outline of key elements of the World Café conversations, and tips for creating Café ambiance.
Christina Baldwin, Peer Spirit. Bantam, 1998.
The original small-press edition of Calling the Circle has become one of the key resources for the rapidly-growing 'circle' movement. This newly revised edition brings Baldwin's work to an even broader audience ranging from women's spirituality groups to corporate development teams. Includes detailed instructions and suggestions for getting started, setting goals, and solving disagreements safely and respectfully.
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.
League of Women Voters Education Fund, Pub #2070, 2005.
This League of Women Voters booklet is designed to share some of the basic principles involved in public dialogue processes and to acquaint the reader with what is needed to organize various types of gatherings, from small- and large-group interactions to online formats. Included are some basic planning questions as well as resources to help the reader conduct citizen engagement through dialogue at the community level. Citizens Building Communities is designed to help users understand some of the basics and guide them to resources so that they can foster dialogues at the community level.
National Civic League. The National Civic League, 1999.
This revised edition of the Civic Index is a 12-point community self-evaluation tool. The Civic Index assesses what the National Civic League calls civic infrastructure (the characteristics that communities possess to effectively solve problems). Whether the challenges being faced are economic development, low-income housing, transportation planning or any other, the healthy functioning of the 12 components of the Civic Index is vital for success.
Doug Henton and John Melville (Collaborative Economics), with Terry Amsler and Malka Kopell (Hewlett Foundation). The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, 2006.
This 47-page guide focuses on collaborative governance, an emerging set of concepts and practices that offer prescriptions for inclusive, deliberative, and often consensus-oriented approaches to planning, problem solving, and policymaking. Collaborative governance typically describes those processes in which government actors are participants and/or objects of the processes.
Olivia Gude, Editor. Chicago Public Art Group.
The Chicago Public Art Group claims that their web-based Public Art Guide is the most comprehensive manual for making public artworks through collaboration with community that has ever been produced. The website represents the collective experience of dozens of dedicated community public artists, working on hundreds of projects, with thousands of participants.
Larry Dressler. San Francisco, CA: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc., 2006.
At a time when organizational hierarchies are flattening, workforces are becoming more geographically dispersed, and workers are demanding a say in what they do, consensus is more needed than ever. Consensus Through Conversation guides leaders and facilitators toward the proper use of consensus and away from applications that create the 'illusion of inclusion' and false agreement. It is a handy, vital reference readers can turn to in their efforts build enthusiasm and commitment on high-stakes issues.
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