resources & tools

Crossing Arizona documenary on immigration worth checking out    

Here’s an interesting resource from Lindsay Dedo, Director of Educational Programming at The Cinema Guild. Sounds like a good film to lead into a timely dialogue on immigration – in the classroom, in libraries, and elsewhere…

This past weekend, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer signed into law the “nation’s toughest bill on illegal immigration,” (NY Times, April 23, 2010), which aims to identify and deport illegal immigrants from the state.  Highly controversial, the immigration issue has been a hotly-debated topic in Arizona politics in particular over the past few decades.  Rarely is this debate more thoroughly examined than in the award-winning film, CROSSING ARIZONA, a critical tool in educating students to all sides of this debate.

CROSSING ARIZONA, Directed by Joseph Mathew & Daniel DeVivo A Sundance festival favorite, Crossing Arizona offers a far-reaching and up-to-the-moment look at the hotly debated issue of illegal immigration as captured at America’s current flashpoint – the Arizona border. (more…)

Identifying experts in keypad technology    

On Friday, I emailed NCDD’s main listserv to see who in the community has expertise in keypad technology.  Keypads are audience response devices that look like little calculators (learn more here), and once in a while I get requests from people looking for keypad facilitators or trainers.  David Campt and Chris Bui are two skilled keypad experts I know personally, but I wanted to have a longer list at the ready.

I received a variety of great responses and recommendations for experts in keypad technology – and in using cell phones as an alternative to keypads.  I thought I’d share the responses here so we all have access to this list for future reference. (more…)

New Blog by Miki Kashtan    

As Einstein famously asserted, today’s toughest issues cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.  Since 1996, NCDD member Miki Kashtan has dedicated her formidable experience, skill, insight and passion into honing and sharing the use of Nonviolent Communication (NVC) as a guiding compass to be able to fully live and look at life through a different lens than the one which created our world as it is. A different thinking, consciousness, paradigm to think about and reflect on our inner life, relationships, and the larger issues of our society and the world at large.

Now you can have access to Miki’s unique wisdom on her new blog, The Fearless Heart. On the blog, Miki is already sharing her inspiring thinking, astute self-inquiry, and real life examples of applying a consciousness of collaboration and dialogue based on compassion for our shared humanity. Miki hopes that reading it will richly contribute to a sense of meaning, purpose, and power in your own lives, and provide inspiration for bringing this consciousness to projects for social change. Visit Miki’s blog at (more…)

How to Hold a Public Meeting    

Archon Fung (professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government) sent me an email a few days ago letting me know about a short article he wrote that was published in the March/April 2010 edition of Capitol Ideas, the magazine of the Council of State Governments.

Archon’s article can be seen online at, and outlines 5 tips for holding an effective public meeting: be clear on the purpose, get help (he links to NCDD here!), avoid the usual format, go beyond the usuals, and avoid promises you can’t keep.  It’s a nice, concise one-pager worth sharing with public officials and others.

No Better Time 2010 report released    

In July 2009, more than 250 campus and community leaders (including myself and many members of NCDD) came together at the University of New Hampshire to talk about the “deliberative democracy” field, the tide of civic change on campuses and in communities, and what those changes mean for the practice and teaching of democracy. “No Better Time: Promising Opportunities in Deliberative Democracy for Educators and Practitioners” was hosted by two NCDD organizational members, the Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) and The Democracy Imperative (TDI).

TDI and the DDC work to promote best practices, research, and teaching for a strong democracy. “No Better Time: A 2010 Report on Opportunities and Challenges for Deliberative Democracy” not only summarizes what happened during the conference, but brings you up to date on projects and activities that began there, as well as other related developments in the field. It is now available at  NCDD member Tim Bonnemann of Intellitics has reviewed it at

2 great YouTube videos on deliberative democracy    

Check out these two videos on YouTube by Matt Leighninger (pictured), E.D. of NCDD organizational member the Deliberative Democracy Consortium.

The videos feature photos of deliberation, voice-over about how democracy is evolving to incorporate more citizen input, and footage of Matt’s three boys. The videos were produced for the No Better Time conference and the recent Recentering Democracy Around Citizens meeting.  One of the videos is about 6 minutes long and the other is 4 minutes long, and most of the content of the shorter one is included in the longer version.

You can view both videos at

I also added these to a couple of the public playlists I’m managing on YouTube. The 7 playlists organize over 100 videos that either show or introduce people to dialogue and deliberation, and they can all be found at this shortcut link:

Free Deliberation Materials on “America’s Role in the World”    

The National Issues Forums (NIF) has released new issue book materials titled America’s Role in the World: What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century? A limited supply of material packets will be available FREE to individuals or groups interested in hosting a deliberative community forum this spring.

Free packets include:

  • 5 copies of the issue book with questionnaires
  • 10 copies of the issue book issue map and
  • 1 DVD starter video

Call AIT at 1.800.600.4060 and ask for the free NIF materials on America’s Role in the World.  You can also contact Deborah Witte if you have questions, at [email protected] or 800.221.3657.

More about National Issues Forums from the NCDD website:

National Issues Forums are characterized by choice work, deliberation, and working toward common ground for action or a shared sense of purpose. In forums, people find places where their values, interests, and goals overlap. By giving citizens a chance to deliberate about public issues, National Issues Forums offer a place at the table where decisions are made that affect their lives. Forums, which are generally two hours long, can engage from a dozen to hundreds of people in one room around small tables. Forums are open to the public, and organizers often publicize widely to ensure that a variety of viewpoints are present. (more…)

Issue Guide on Building a Community in a “Connected Age”    

Check out the guide “Fulfilling Our e-State Potential: Building Community in a ‘Connected’ Age” on Everyday Democracy’s Issue Guide Exchange.  This issue guide is designed to help citizens deliberate about ways to use e-state technology to help enhance community and civic life.  It’s designed to be used during a one-day symposium and includes an exploration of community, scenarios to help explore e-state opportunities and challenges, an exercise to identify e-state values, and opportunities to identify action steps.

Help the Federal Government Understand Participation    

We have a simple opportunity to advise the federal government about public participation.  We have so many great ideas that we routinely share with each other on our email list, so let’s spend a few moments to share them with the federal employees that are just now entering this space.  Our NCDD colleagues within the federal government at the EPA and CDC have demonstrated that just a handful of individuals with the right knowledge can make a tremendous impact, so let’s spread that knowledge!


New blog on reinventing change management    

Just wanted to share a quick announcement about Slim Lambert’s new blog on Reinventing Change Managerment.  Lambert has implemented numerous change management programs in global international companies focused on changes such as collaborative corporate cultures, delivering the people side of re-organisations and using talent management practices to empower people to develop their talents.

His new blog is about sharing ways to build REFRESHING change management process. That is, Resistance free, Empowering, Fair, Result focused, Event based, Solution focused, High speed, Involving, Non-disruptive of delivery, Guided by the people. In other words, a process that is fast, fair, empowering and collaborative. It is a way to address the fact that the current 80% failure rate of change management processes is not acceptable anymore because change management has become too important. It is about new, radically different ways of designing and driving a change management process. Slim Lambert can be reached at [email protected].

Reflecting on NCDD in 2009    

The National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) moved in some new directions in 2009, in large part in response to President Obama’s focus on open government and citizen participation. Our work with the Open Government Initiative and on the Principles for Public Engagement both invigorated our membership and raised NCDD’s profile and status in many people’s eyes. NCDD continues to be one of the most trusted organizations in the field of public engagement, and seems to have more respect in the field now than ever before.

We made significant progress in 2009 on several of the priorities identified by NCDD’s Board of Directors in our February 2009 retreat. Namely, we found ways to refocus on what it means to be a “coalition” and to move on things we can uniquely do “in coalition,” and we focused more on moving the field forward, with special attention paid to the five challenge areas we addressed at the last NCDD conference.

The following projects defined 2009 for NCDD:

  1. NCDD’s role in the Open Government Initiative (the White House’s open government dialogue, the collaborative evaluation of that dialogue, keeping the network informed about news and opportunities related to the Initiative, participation in Strengthening Our Nation’s Democracy).
  2. Taking the lead in creating the Core Principles for Public Engagement, with prominent partners, many dozens of practitioners and scholars contributing to the drafting process, and over 80 leading organizations endorsing the Principles.
  3. Responding to the fall healthcare town halls by creating and distributing several tools (a flyer and several articles for web and print) to help public officials and community leaders hold more effective, engaging public meetings about contentious issues.
  4. Playing a major leadership role at the September IAP2 conference in San Diego (co-organizing the final day plenary, Sandy’s speech during that plenary, etc.).
  5. Writing about two of the five challenges (embedding D&D in our systems and framing D&D in more accessible ways) for the International Journal for Public Participation (article here).
  6. Writing about members’ perspectives on democratic governance and on two challenges (embedding D&D in our systems and strengthening the link between D&D, action and policy change) for the Kettering Foundation (full report here).
  7. Creating, in close communication with Martin Carcasson, Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec, the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic based on Carcasson’s 2009 article Beginning With the End in Mind. The graphic emphasizes improved community problem solving and increased civic capacity as longer-term goals of public engagement work, and Sandy’s leadership in creating the graphic and NCDD’s role in distributing it and sharing Carcasson’s insights marked a new direction for NCDD.
  8. Reaching beyond our existing network using social media tools (our FaceBook group currently has 1700 members, and our LinkedIn group has 453, for example).

What do YOU think about NCDD’s projects and accomplishments in 2009?  If you were a member of NCDD in 2009, did these projects make you feel engaged?  Represented?  Bored?  What new or different directions do you think we should be moving in?  We would love to hear your thoughts on this!

NCSL’s The Rise and Fall of Town Meetings    

Check out this 66-minute video of the NCSL (National Conference of State Legislatures) 2009 Fall Forum held on Friday, Dec. 11. “The Rise and Fall of the Town Hall Meeting” video features three legislators talking about the effective use of town hall meetings and deliberation.

One of the legislators featured is NCDD member and Hawaii State Senator Les Ihara. The other speakers included: Representative Sheryl L. Allen (Utah), Representative Ellen Roberts (Colorado), and Katie Ziegler (NCSL).

Senator Ihara’s presentation cites NCDD’s work heavily.  He talks at length about our Upgrading the Way We Do Politics resources, which we created in response to last fall’s town halls on health care reform, and he presents the 7 Core Principles for Public Engagement, explaining that the D&D community worked together to agree on the Core Principles in response to Obama’s memorandum on transparency, collaboration and public participation.  You can view or download Senator Ihara’s powerpoint presentation here.

Here’s the description of the Fall Forum from NCSL:

Town hall meetings have traditionally been a wonderful opportunity for legislators to meet with their constituents, both to hear what is on people’s minds and to tell them about legislative news. However some recent town hall meetings have seen disruptive and uncivil behavior. This session described some recent legislator experiences and examined methods to hold productive and courteous meetings. Presenters provided tips and best practices and also explained how to use a legislator’s “power to convene” to hold collaborative meetings to solve community problems.

New Books by NCDD Members!    

Here are five books by NCDD members which have recently come to our attention that I highly recommend you add to your library…

Standing in the Fire: Leading High-Heat Meetings with Clarity, Calm, and Courage
by Larry Dressler

Focusing on how to stay “cool” during high-heat deliberations, consultant, author, and NCDD member Larry Dressler drew on his 25-years experience facilitating high-stakes meetings and also interviewed 40 other veteran practitioners for this new book, co-published by Berrett-Koehler and ASTD and available this February. To read a description of the book, sample chapters, and free resources visit You can also pre-order it from

Who Dialogues? (and when and where and how?)
by the Network for Peace through Dialogue

Network for Peace through Dialogue’s new 51-page book Who Dialogues? (and when and where and how?) provides a solid introduction to the subject through the personal stories of 10 practitioners who use dialogue in their work. Among the variety of uses these practitioners describe are: laying the groundwork for conflict resolution, designing a large UN conference, helping to heal the wounds of the Holocaust, teaching in a university, working with youth and conducting dialogue online. The book is available directly from the Network for Peace through Dialogue and costs $5.00 plus shipping. Ordering details can be found at their website and you can call them at 212-426-5818 for more information.

The Talking Point: Creating an Environment for Exploring Complex Meaning
by Thomas R. Flanagan and Alexander N. Christakis
(A Collaborative Project of the Institute for 21st Century Agoras)

The Institute for 21st Century Agoras is proud to announce an important new book, The Talking Point: Creating an Environment for Exploring Complex Meaning. The authors, Agoras president Tom Flanagan and Agoras founder Aleco Christakis, present user-friendly stories of how Structured Dialogic Design continues to generate significant social innovation. Available at

Democracy as Discussion: Civic Education and the American Forum Movement
by William M. Keith

Using primary sources from archives around the country, Democracy as Discussion traces the early history of the Speech field, the development of discussion as an alternative to debate, and the Deweyan, Progressive philosophy of discussion that swept the United States in the early twentieth century. Available at

When the People Speak: Deliberative Democracy & Public Consultation
by James S. Fishkin

In this book, NCDD member James Fishkin combines a new theory of democracy with actual practice and shows how an idea that harks back to ancient Athens can be used to revive our modern democracies. The book outlines deliberative democracy projects conducted by the author with various collaborators in the United States, China, Britain, Denmark, Australia, Italy, Bulgaria, Northern Ireland, and in the entire European Union. The book is accompanied by a DVD of “Europe in One Room” by Emmy Award-winning documentary makers Paladin Invision. Available at

New Blog on the OGD from AmericaSpeaks and Ascentum    

Two NCDD organizational members, AmericaSpeaks and Ascentum, just launched a great new blog called Open Government Directions.

Open Government Directions will be a resource for those who care about the Open Government Directive and creating a more participatory and collaborative government. At this point, as Joe Goldman explains, it includes four kinds of resources:

  1. Several thought pieces that we have written about best practices in open government, as well as links to resources that others have written. Specifically, we have written a few interesting pieces on key questions that agencies should ask before launching an online dialogue as well as recommendations for what agencies should include in their open government web sites. These will be regularly updated and added to
  2. Online dialogues about best practices in online engagement using IdeaScale and Mixed In
  3. A newsfeed with links to new stories and articles about Open Government
  4. And links to specific elements of the Open Government Directive

Be sure to also check out the Open Government Playbook, a wiki-based resource site launched by NCDD member Lucas Cioffi of As knowledge about the OGD is spread out across the Web; the purpose of the Playbook is to serve as a directory to those resources.

New Book on Online Deliberation (Free Download!)    

ODBook-site-logoTodd Davies sent an announcement to the main NCDD listserv tonight about the new book he and Seeta Peña Gangadharan edited, titled Online Deliberation: Design, Research, and Practice. This looks like a great resource for the field, and I’m so glad they’re allowing people to download the full book at no charge! You can also order the book from the University of Chicago Press for $25 or download individual chapters here.

Here’s the book description:

Can new technology enhance local, national, and global democracy? Online Deliberation is the first book that attempts to sample the full range of work on online deliberation, forging new connections between academic research, web designers, and practitioners. Since the most exciting innovations in deliberation have occurred outside of traditional institutions, and those involved have often worked in relative isolation from each other, research conducted on this growing field has to this point neglected the full perspective of online participation. This volume, an essential read for those working at the crossroads of computer and social science, illuminates the collaborative world of deliberation by examining diverse clusters of Internet communities.

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