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Archives for July 2009

New Framework for Understanding the Goals of Public Engagement    

In a new occasional paper published by Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE), NCDD member Martin Carcasson of Colorado State University’s Center for Public Deliberation outlines three broad categories of goals for deliberation. The essay explores how a clearer understanding of the goals and purposes we are trying to achieve through public engagement can sharpen our methods and increase our impacts. It offers a practical framework to help practitioners systematically consider both their short-term and long-term goals and the strategies that will set them up for success.

Carcasson’s paper is titled Beginning with the End in Mind: A Call for Goal-Driven Deliberative Practice (Summer 2009), and can be downloaded for free from I was deeply impressed by the paper and Carcasson’s brilliantly simple “Goals of Deliberation” framework. Carcasson points out that although “first-order goals” like issue learning and improved democratic attitudes are often discounted as we focus on our primary goals related to concrete action and impact on policy, those first-order goals still impact the big-picture goal of increasing a community’s civic capacity and ability to solve problems.

DD Goals GraphicAt the No Better Time conference in July 2009, I spoke to Carcasson about expanding his “Goals of Deliberation” framework slightly so public dialogue for purposes of conflict resolution or conflict management are also emphasized in the framework (he was very interested). In the paper, Carcasson writes about “improved relationships” between individuals and groups as a first-order goal, and mentions that conflict management is another second-level goal… yet his framework figure did not feature those goals.

In close communication with Carcasson as well as Will Friedman and Alison Kadlec of Public Agenda, I expanded on the framework to create the Goals of Dialogue & Deliberation graphic pictured here. Click on the graphic to view a larger image.

Both the original and the adapted frameworks emphasize improved community problem solving and increased civic capacity as longer-term goals of public engagement work. As we work from project to project, we can lose sight of the fact that our work is contributing to the bigger picture goal of more democratic, effective communities and cultures. In the online dialogue we held at on the “Action & Change” challenge before the 2008 NCDD conference, Joseph McIntyre of the Ag Futures Alliance noted that although public engagement work can lead to numerous types of action outcomes and products, often “D&D is simply plowing the field and planting the seeds that will result in the changes needed. In my case, D&D is part of an evolutionary change.” (more…)

4 Great New Papers from Public Agenda    

The team at Public Agenda’s Center for Advances in Public Engagement (CAPE) — an organizational member of NCDD, we’re proud to say — has recently released four great new papers, all examining the latest developments for professionals in deliberative democracy, and all worth reading and freely downloadable from!

Here are the papers: (more…)

First IAF Caribbean Conference Coming Up in September    

NCDD member Sharon Almerigi wants to let everyone know that the first Caribbean Conference of the International Association of Facilitators (IAF) will take place in Barbados September 23-25, 2009. Sharon is the IAF Regional Representative for Latin America & the Caribbean.

Visit to see the conference program.

Christina Baldwin Encouraging Birthday Cards for Obama    

I received an interesting email from Christina Baldwin this weekend, and thought some of you might be interested. If you don’t know who Christina is, you may have heard of her PeerSpirit Circle Process, or seen her book Calling the Circle, the First and Future Culture.  Christina is leading a campaign of sorts to get people to send “citizen letters” to President Obama in honor of his upcoming birthday. (more…)

Peace Games in NYC Seeks Executive Director    

PeaceGamesLogoI just heard word that Koya Consulting LLC is leading an Executive Director search for Peace Games in New York, NY. Peace Games is an innovative school-based violence prevention/social-emotional learning program that teaches students in grades K through 8 to be peacemakers.  The unique Peace Games approach engages whole school communities - families, teachers, volunteers, and students - to teach lessons of cooperation, communication and conflict resolution using games and community service projects.

Peace Games seeks an Executive Director with a blend of experience and entrepreneurial spirit to lead their program in their New York office. The position builds from a strong base of existing assets, including a solid plan, a growing group of excited supporters, a strong track record of results with local schools, an experienced program director to manage day-to-day operations in the schools, and strong fundraising and program expertise. The ideal candidate will have strong fundraising and operational management skills, deep cultural competency, and a passion for the Peace Games mission and goals. See the complete position description. (more…)

Can “Open Government” Bridge the Partisan Divide?    

Check out the July 20th article by John Geraci in the Huffington Post called The New Axis in Politics, or, What Obama Meant When He Said ‘Change’. Here’s an excerpt…

Since the advent of the U.S. government the political field has existed along one axis. Left to right, liberal to conservative — all political action, expression and viewpoint fell somewhere along that single line.

Suddenly though there’s a new idea about governance taking root, one that is not inherently liberal or centrist or conservative, and in fact appeals to all camps equally. This is the new axis that has appeared in the political field, and it is the idea of open government.

Open government — the notion that all government data should be open and accessible to everyone, and, taken a step further, that that data should be writable by anyone — meaning I can not only get data from government but I can input data to government — is a game-changing notion that defies old ideas of liberal vs conservative.

Using Social Media in the D&D Community    

Nonprofits and consultants in our field are still learning how best to harness increasingly popular social media outlets like FaceBook, LinkedIn and Twitter.  The growth rates for such platforms is staggering, and since building a presence on such sites is free, we would be remiss not to get into the action.

Of course NCDD’s on FaceBook, LinkedIn, and Twitter.  But did you know we also have over 1,000 pictures posted at Flickr?  And that we’ve created public playlists organizing dozens and dozens of D&D videos on YouTube? (more…)

SFU’s Centre for Dialogue Launches Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement    

Simon Fraser University’s Centre for Dialogue in Vancouver, BC (Canada) just launched a new program.  The Certificate in Dialogue and Civic Engagement is aimed at those interested in the design and implementation of community and/or civic engagement methods and practices.  The certificate includes courses on the principles and practice of civic engagement, citizens engaging citizens, and civic engagement around public issues. Courses start in September. More at

Online Course on Effective Techniques for Engagement    

NCDD member PublicDecisions is offering a 3-part live, online course this October on “Effective Techniques for Engagement.” Dues-paying NCDD members save 20% on PublicDecisions trainings. Email Paul Coelus at [email protected] for details on registering at the discounted rate. (More members discounts.)

John Stephens, another NCDD member, is the instructor for this course.  John is Associate Professor of Public Administration and Government at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The course will be taught in three 90-minute sessions on October 6th, 7th, and 8th. Each class is held from 1:00 to 2:30 pm Eastern. High-speed internet and long-distance telephone service is required to participate. (more…)

Job Opening for Head of Research at UK’s Involve    

InvolveLogoUK-based Involve is looking for a Head of Research to join their management team, with a focus on further refining, developing and promoting their research strategy. The post-holder will play a key role in the future development of Involve, particularly through developing and raising funds for new research programs and projects.  Closing date is August 21st.

Involve are public participation specialists; bringing institutions, communities and citizens together to accelerate innovation, understanding discussion and change. Involve makes a practical difference by delivering the highest quality public participation processes possible as well as undertaking rigorous research and policy analysis into what works. Their reputation and policy advice are built on a solid research foundation.  Learn more at

Early Rate Extended to July 25th for DD&PE Certificate Program    

If you have been thinking about participating in Fielding Graduate Institute’s extraordinary Dialogue, Deliberation and Public Engagement Certificate Program (DDPE), now’s the time to apply.  The early bird registration deadline has been extended to the 25th, so you can still save $250 in tuition.  Plus - dues-paying NCDD members are eligible for an additional 10% discount!

Tuition is $3,740 if you register before July 25, 2009. NCDD members’ tuition is $3,365 (a 10% discount of $375).

This year’s graduate certificate program runs from August 10, 2009 through January 20, 2010.  NCDD Board member Taylor Willingham, Director of Texas Forums at the LBJ Presidential Library and Museum, says this about the program:

“What an amazing faculty! I was interacting on a regular basis with people I had only known previously through their writing. Who would have ever thought that I would not only get to know them, but get to take advantage of their wisdom! It was an incredible experience.”

Learn more about the program at

Beth Noveck to Present about Wiki Gov’t on Second Life    

Thanks to NCDD organizational member PublicDecisions for the heads-up about this…

Beth Noveck talks about Wiki Government in Second Life on Monday, July 20th

Please join a Second Life simulcast, from the Markle Foundation, of Beth Simone Noveck, now the deputy Chief Technology Officer at the White House responsible for Open Government, presenting her new book, WIKI GOVERNMENT: How Technology Can Make Government Better, Democracy Stronger, and Citizens More Powerful. The presentation will be followed by a Q&A, in which participants from both Second Life and in person can ask questions of the author. (more…)

IJP2 Call for Papers - Special Obama Issue    

Here’s an important announcement from NCDD member Steve Pyser, who is the Editor of IAP2′s online journal, the International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2).

Call for Papers - International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2) – Special Symposium Issue (January 2010)

The International Journal of Public Participation (IJP2) brings together academicians and practitioners interested in a multidisciplinary forum for the exchange of information among researchers, practitioners, decision-makers, and citizens about public participation and its impact around the world.  It has been created with the specific intention of bridging the arenas of research and practice within the field of public participation.

Beginning with the presidential campaign, moving to the transition period, and once in office, the Obama team has sought to alter the relationship between American citizens and their government.  IJP2 is interested in learning and sharing the perspectives of all stakeholders about the Obama Administration’s public engagement efforts and invites both scholars and practitioners to respond to our inquiry.

IJP2 will publish in its January 2010 issue a set of essays of 3000 to 5000 words, from both scholar and practitioner perspectives.  We seek manuscripts reflecting all voices and diverse political viewpoints from our worldwide readership.  Submitted essays can address one of the following questions, or authors may choose a different question or set of questions to address. Case studies, experiences, and conclusions based on data are welcome. (more…)

Obama, Public Engagement, and the D&D Community… An (Extraordinary) Half-Year in Review    

With the transition to a new presidential administration that focused its campaign on getting people involved in government, 2009 has been a whirlwind year of unprecedented opportunity and possibility for the dialogue and deliberation community and all those working in public engagement.  Below is an outline/timeline of what’s happened so far this year that’s relevant to our community of practice.

On his first day in office, U.S. President Barack Obama issued a memorandum to leaders of executive departments and government agencies calling for a new era of transparency and open government.  In the memo, Obama asserted “we will work together to ensure the public trust and establish a system of transparency, public participation, and collaboration,” and called for an Open Government Directive “that instructs executive departments and agencies to take specific actions implementing the principles set forth in this memorandum” on transparency, public participation, and collaboration.

The memo caused a number of things to be set into motion that have excited, mobilized, and sometimes troubled the entire public engagement community to an unprecedented degree.  Many in NCDD and related networks were concerned that since our field had not yet collectively embraced a standard set of principles or criteria for quality public engagement, people would end up pasting the label of “public engagement” on manipulative efforts that were more about public relations than about learning from or empowering the public.  Others were concerned that the many networks and organizations active in our field would essentially end up competing with each other to be heard by the administration, and that, with our mixed messages, we might drown out each other’s voices in the process.

NCDD, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), and the Co-Intelligence Institute responded to this excitement and concern by leading a collaborative, open process for members of our networks to develop a set of Core Principles for Public Engagement.  Numerous leaders and thinkers in public engagement were involved in the commenting, drafting, and editing process, and the Core Principles document has since been enthusiastically endorsed by dozens of leading organizations in this work, including the National League of Cities, the U.S. Institute for Environmental Conflict Resolution, the League of Women Voters, AmericaSpeaks, Everyday Democracy, Public Agenda, the Institute of Cultural Affairs (ICA), the International Association of Facilitators (IAF), and many others. (more…)

Registered for IAP2 San Diego Yet, with NCDD Discount?    

IAP2 logoAs you may know, the International Association for Public Participation’s annual conference, IAP2 2009: Making Sustainable Decisions, is taking place in San Diego, California this September 21-23.  NCDD is an official “Partner” of the conference, and members of NCDD save $100 on the registration fee; just be sure to enter the code NCDD on the online registration form!  To register or learn more, go to  And please note that early bird registration ends on the 21st.

I am co-presenting the morning-long plenary session on the last day of the conference, with my friends Myriam Laberge and Brenda Chaddock of the Masterful Facilitation Institute.  This practitioner keynote and plenary session, titled “Dare to Dream! Exploring a New Era of Public Engagement,” will explore one of our field’s most pressing challenges: how do we make public engagement more integral to our systems?

We’re also holding an informal networking meeting for NCDD members before the Core Values Awards gala on the evening of Monday, September 21st.  Let me know if you’ll be there!  (Email me at [email protected].)

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