Watch the Confab on Hope for Democracy!

We enjoyed hosting the March Confab Call featuring the new book Hope for Democracy! For those who may have missed it, or those who want to refer back, this post has all the important information from the event.

In Hope for Democracy, John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch introduce new tools for tamping down hyper-partisanship and placing citizens at the heart of the democratic process. They showcase the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which convenes a demographically-balanced random sample of citizens to study statewide ballot measures. Citizen panelists interrogate advocates, opponents, and experts, then write an analysis that distills their findings for voters. Gastil and Knobloch reveal how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics.

The Confab was a great conversation about the Citizens Initiative Review and how it has improved democratic participation in the places it has been utilized. The recording of this event can be found at this link. Our participants asked a whole lot of great questions and our presenters shared several helpful links – if you are curious to see those, you can check them out here.

Our sincere thanks to John Gastil, Katie Knobloch, as well as Robin Teater and Linn Davis from Healthy Democracy for presenting this session. Don’t forget to pick up your copy of the book! If you choose to purchase through Amazon, don’t forget to go to smile.amazon.com and ask Amazon to donate a portion to NCDD!

Confab bubble imageTo learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs. We love holding these events and we want to continue to elevate the work of our field with Confab Calls and Tech Tuesdays. It is through your generous contributions to NCDD that we can keep doing this work! That’s why we want to encourage you to support NCDD by making a donation or becoming an NCDD member today (you can also renew your membership by clicking here). Thank you!

Register for TODAY’S Confab Call on Hope for Democracy

Join us TODAY for our March Confab Call, which will introduce a new book from John Gastil and Katie Knobloch, Hope for Democracy. This free call takes place today, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern/11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today to secure your spot.

Concerned citizens across the globe fear that democratic institutions are failing them. Citizens feel shut out of politics and worry that politicians are no longer responsive to their interests. In Hope for Democracy, John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch introduce new tools for tamping down hyper-partisanship and placing citizens at the heart of the democratic process. They showcase the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which convenes a demographically-balanced random sample of citizens to study statewide ballot measures. Citizen panelists interrogate advocates, opponents, and experts, then write an analysis that distills their findings for voters. Gastil and Knobloch reveal how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics.

The Confab will give folks a chance to ask questions of Katie and John, and Robin Teater from Healthy Democracy, which convenes the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. Subjects will include the Review itself, American politics and deliberative democracy, research partnerships with nonprofits, and anything else that seems even slightly relevant.

This free call will take place in just a couple hours today, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today so you don’t miss out on this event!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Announcing the March NCDD Confab: Hope for Democracy!

NCDD is thrilled to announce our March Confab Call, which will introduce a new book from John Gastil and Katie Knobloch, Hope for Democracy. This free call takes place Tuesday, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern/11 am-12 pm Pacific. Register today to secure your spot.

Concerned citizens across the globe fear that democratic institutions are failing them. Citizens feel shut out of politics and worry that politicians are no longer responsive to their interests. In Hope for Democracy, John Gastil and Katherine R. Knobloch introduce new tools for tamping down hyper-partisanship and placing citizens at the heart of the democratic process. They showcase the Citizens’ Initiative Review, which convenes a demographically-balanced random sample of citizens to study statewide ballot measures. Citizen panelists interrogate advocates, opponents, and experts, then write an analysis that distills their findings for voters. Gastil and Knobloch reveal how this process has helped voters better understand the policy issues placed on their ballots. Placed in the larger context of deliberative democratic reforms, Hope for Democracy shows how citizens and public officials can work together to bring more rationality and empathy into modern politics.

The Confab will give folks a chance to ask questions of Katie and John, and Robin Teater from Healthy Democracy, which convenes the Oregon Citizens’ Initiative Review. Subjects will include the Review itself, American politics and deliberative democracy, research partnerships with nonprofits, and anything else that seems even slightly relevant.

This free call will take place on Tuesday, March 10th from 2-3 pm Eastern, 11 am-12 pm PacificRegister today so you don’t miss out on this event!

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About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk with and hear from innovators in our field about the work they’re doing and to connect with fellow members around shared interests. Membership in NCDD is encouraged but not required for participation. Confabs are free and open to all. Register today if you’d like to join us!

Discount Available for New D&D in Higher Education Primer

Exciting news! There’s a wonderful new resource that was recently published that we encourage those in our network to utilize, especially those working in higher education, called Creating Space for Democracy: A Primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education. The book is edited by Nicholas V. Longo and Timothy Shaffer, with many chapter authors from the NCDD network.

From the book’s brief: “This primer offers a blueprint for achieving the civic mission of higher education by incorporating dialogue and deliberation into learning at colleges and universities.” You can receive 20% off the book when you use the code, “DEM20” at checkout and Amazon has the first chapter available for free. Below is more about the book and the Table of Contents so you can get a sense of the book – read more here.


For the Next Generation of Democratic Citizens

We live in divisive and polarizing times, often remaining in comfortable social bubbles and experiencing few genuine interactions with people who are different or with whom we disagree. For our democracy to thrive at a time when we face wicked problems that involve tough trade-offs, it is vital that all citizens participate fully in the process. We need to learn to listen, think, and act with others to solve public problems. This collaborative task begins with creating space for democracy. This book provides a guide for doing so on campus through deliberation and dialogue.

At the most basic level, this book describes collaborative and relational work to engage with others and co-create meaning. Specifically, dialogue and deliberation are processes in which a diverse group of people moves toward making a collective decision on a difficult public issue.

This primer offers a blueprint for achieving the civic mission of higher education by incorporating dialogue and deliberation into learning at colleges and universities.

This book, intended for all educators who are concerned about democracy, imparts the power and impact of public talk, offers the insights and experiences of leading practitioners, and provides the grounding to adopt or adapt the models in their own settings to create educative spaces and experiences that are humanizing, authentic, and productive. It is an important resource for campus leaders, student affairs practitioners, librarians, and centers of institutional diversity, community engagement, teaching excellence and service-learning, as well as faculty, particularly those in the fields of communication studies, education, and political science.

Table of Contents:
Introducation: Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education—Nicholas V. Longo and Timothy J. Shaffer

1) Discussing Democracy: Learning to Talk Together—Nicholas V. Longo and Timothy J. Shaffer

Part One: Concepts and Theories
2) Readiness for Discussing Democracy in Supercharged Political Times—Nancy Thomas
3) Deliberative Civic Engagement: Toward a Public Politics in Higher Education—Derek W.M. Barker
4) Cultivating Dialogue and Deliberation Through Speech, Silence, and Synthesis—Sara A. Mehltretter Drury

Part Two: Methods of Dialogue and Deliberation
5) Creating Cultures of Dialogue in Higher Education: Stories and Lessons from Essential Partners—John Sarrouf and Katie Hyten
6) Building Capacity in Communities: Everyday Democracy’s Dialogue to Change Approach—Martha L. McCoy and Sandy Heierbacher
7) Sustained Dialogue Campus Network—Elizabeth Wuerz, Rhonda Fitzgerald, Michaela Grenier, and Ottavia Lezzi
8) Educational Justice Using Intergroup Dialogue—Stephanie Hicks and Hamida Bhagirathy
9) The Free Southern Theater’s Story Circle Process—Lizzy Cooper Davis
10) The National Issues Forums: “Choicework” as an Indispensable Civic Skill—Jean Johnson and Keith Melville
11) What IF The Interactivity Foundation and Student-Facilitated Discussion Teams—Jeff Prudhomme and Shannon Wheatley Hartman

Part Three: Dialogue and Deliberation in the Curriculum
12) The Student as Local Deliberative Catalyst: The CSU Center for Public Deliberation—Martín Carcasson
13) Dialogue as a Teaching Tool for Democratizing Higher Education: The Simon Fraser University Semester in Dialogue—Janet Moore and Mark L. Winston
14) Conversations that Matter—Spoma Jovanovic
15) Talking Democracy—David Hoffman and Romy Hübler

Part Four: Dialogue and Deliberation Using Campus Spaces
16) Democracy Plaza at IUPUI—Amanda L. Bonilla and Lorrie A. Brown
17) Academic Libraries as Civic Agents—Nancy Kranich
18) Residence Halls as Sites of Democratic Practice—Laurel B. Kennedy

Part Five: Dialogue and Deliberation in the Community
19) Providence College/Smith Hill Annex—Keith Morton and Leslie Hernandez
20) Lessons from the Front Porch: Fostering Strengthened Community Partnerships Through Dialogue—Suchitra V. Gururaj and Virginia A. Cumberbatch
21) Local Participation and Lived Experience: Dialogue and Deliberation Through Participatory Processes in Landscape Architecture—Katie Kingery-Page
22) “Give Light and the People will Find a Way:” Democratic Deliberation and Public Achievement at Colorado College—Anthony C. Siracusa and Nan Elpers

Part Six: Dialogue and Deliberation Networks
23) New Hampshire Listens: Fulfilling the Land-Grant Mission While Strengthening Democratic Practice—Bruce L. Mallory, Michele Holt-Shannon, and Quixada Moore-Vissing
24) Start Talking, Stop Talking, and Toxic Talking: Resources for Engaging Difficult Dialogues in Higher Education—Libby Roderick
25) Enacting Democracy In “Democracy’s Colleges”—Carrie B. Kisker, John J. Theis, and Alberto Olivas

Conclusion: Sources of Democratic Professionalism in the University—Albert Dzur

You can learn more about the new book, Creating Space for Democracy: A primer on Dialogue and Deliberation in Higher Education, on the publisher’s site here

 

Join the Launch of Harwood’s New Book – Stepping Forward

NCDD member Rich Harwood of The Harwood Institute has an upcoming book coming out that you won’t want to miss the launch of on Tuesday, October 1st! From The Harwood Institute announcement…

In Stepping Forward, Rich Harwood provides a new and inspiring blueprint for how we can rediscover what we share in common and build upon it in a way that engenders authentic hope.

Register below to join Rich on October 1 at 1 PM ET to celebrate the official launch of Stepping ForwardIn a special online event, Rich will be discussing how you can begin to put the principles outlined in this book into action.

The launch of his new book will also kick off the Stepping Forward Campaign! We encourage you to read more about the book and the campaign in the post below, and explore even more on The Harwood Institute site here.


A New Path Forward

Many of us are frustrated by the divisive nature of our public discourse, mistrust and broken promises. We lack hope that we can bridge our divides, come together and get things done.

Rich Harwood offers a new path forward. He argues that we don’t have to accept the divisions, gridlock and negativity happening in our country. He knows, from working in communities for more than 30 years, that we can rediscover what we share in common and actively build upon it.

Stepping Forward shows us how to channel our frustrations, energies, and aspirations to get on a more hopeful path. This book shows us how we can step forward to —

  • Turn Outward to see and hear each other again and afford every person human dignity
  • Rediscover what we share in common by focusing on our shared aspirations, even amid our real difference
  • Recognize we must tap into our innate capabilities to produce meaningful change
  • Forge a new shared responsibility to marshal community resources to solve problems and harness people’s yearning for genuine engagement
  • Create a new can-do narrative by focusing on civic parables that remind us that we can be actors, shapers and builders of our shared lives

To get the country moving in a better direction, these efforts must start in our local communities. Then we can restore our can-do spirit and faith in ourselves. You don’t need to wait. STEP FORWARD.

Stepping Forward Campaign Launches October 1!

A book tour asks you to listen. We’re asking you to step forward.

The Stepping Forward Campaign is a national call to action. Rich Harwood is embarking on a two-year campaign to speak about how we can put our communities and our country on a more hopeful path.

This campaign can help you:

  • Take a leading role in improving people’s lives and doing that work in a way that builds the community
  • Mobilize community leaders and others to take action and improve your community
  • Stop feeling stuck and provide a clear path to move forward
  • Build momentum towards positive, lasting change

The Stepping Forward Campaign launches on October 1, 2019. Be one of the first to host a campaign event and bring this important message to your community.

You can learn more about the Stepping Forward book and campaign on The Harwood Institute site at www.steppingforwardbook.org/#about-the-book-section.

NCDD Members Get 30% Off New Transpartisan Book

We are pleased to share the announcement below from the Bridge Alliance – one of our NCDD organizational members – about the release of its co-founder and NCDD member Mark Gerzon‘s new book, The Reunited States of America, on March 1st. Mark’s book is highly relevant for D&D practitioners, so he and Bridge Alliance are offering a 30% discount for NCDD members with the code “NCDD”. Read more about the book in the announcement below, or find Mark’s book here.


Reunited States of America

We have an exciting offer for you that you won’t want to miss!

Mark Gerzon is releasing his new book March 1st and we want you to be some of the first people with this timely and important tool in hand!  That is why we are offering.30% off of the book when you pre-order as a member of NCDD.

Here are 5 reasons why you want to take advantage of this offer and order your copy of The Reunited States of America TODAY:

  1. This book puts the spotlight on dozens of individuals and organizations that comprise a new narrative for Democracy 2.0. It is a manifesto for a movement that includes the NCDD field – and highlights the importance of what those of us in this field are all trying to do.
  2. It describes problem solving on some of the most difficult and divisive issues, such as: abortion, gun control, sex education, defense spending, criminal justice reform and more!
  3. Gerzon invites us into a movement to reunite our nation and put country before party! This book doesn’t ask party members to forfeit their values, but celebrates the beauty of all diverse voices that grow out of love for your country.
  4. The Reunited States of America explains what you can do starting now to strengthen our nation’s sense of unity while honoring the vital role of conflicting points of view.
  5. While we all know that not one book, one person nor one organization has the power to change the course of American politics. But this new narrative, with your help, can rise up above the barrage of attack ads and spread a message about dialogue, deliberation and real democracy!

Although we come from opposite ends of the political spectrum, we believe our country needs to come together. “The Reunited States of America” will help us do that. It reconnects us to our country’s motto – “out of many, one” –  and helps us meet the challenge of reuniting the country that we all love.

– Grover Norquist, president, Americans for Tax Reform & Joan Blades, co-founder MoveOn.org and LivingRoomConversations.org

For 30% off of your copy of this book click here and use the discount code: NCDD

You bought the book, now what? Here are some easy ways to get the word out and unite America starting today!

Orton’s Community Field Guide Makes Holiday Reading List

If you are looking for something to read during your holiday down time or gift ideas, we encourage you to check out the great community and economic planning reading list that our partners with CommunityMatters shared on their blog. We especially encourage you to learn more about the Orton Family Foundation’s wonderful Community Heart & Soul Field Guide, a resource on the list that is designed to help those of us doing community & civic engagement work. You can read the list below of find the original post here.


CM_logo-200pxThe Center for Rural Entrepreneurship shared its list of top reads of 2014. Included on the list is the Community Heart & Soul™ Field Guide recommended by Erik Pages, a CRE fellow and president and founder of EntreWorks Consulting, an economic development and policy development firm who said: “This is an excellent guide to strategic planning and community building for small towns.”

Thank you Erik! Lots of great reads to add to our holiday wish lists!

Here are the center’s Top 12 Recommended Reads of 2014:

Recommended by Erik Pages, EntreWorks Consulting and Center Fellow: The Tyranny of Experts by William Easterly. While the book is mainly about international development issues, it’s a useful caution that economic development is about individual choice and empowerment – not the latest scheme from so-called “experts.”

Recommended by Don Macke: Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson. This book provides both a framework for exploring the innovation process and wonderful stories of innovation. Check out Johnson’s program on Public Broadcasting.

Recommended to Deb Markley by Angela Lust, Amarillo Area Foundation: The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer. This book is a true story of innovation under the most challenging circumstances. Inspiring!

Recommended by Erik Pages, EntreWorks Consulting and Center Fellow: Community Heart & Soul Field Guide by the Orton Family Foundation. This is an excellent guide to strategic planning and community building for small towns.

Recommended by all Center staff: The Good Jobs Strategy – How the Smartest Companies Invest in Employees to Lower Costs and Boost Profit by Zeynep Ton. This book provides great case evidence that the race to the bottom need not be the rule as businesses struggle to be competitive.

Recommended by Don Macke: Owning Our Future – The Emerging Ownership Revolution and Journeys to a Generative Economy by Marjorie Kelly. For those of us engaged in entrepreneurship as a means to better economies, this is a must read.

Recommended by Erik Pages, EntreWorks Consulting and Center Fellow: Fueling Up – The Economic Implications of America’s Oil and Gas Boom by the Peterson Institute, an economic impact study of shale energy. Not the most scintillating read, but great data that encourages us to be cautious and realistic about the “shale energy revolution.”

Recommended by Travis Starkey, a millennial and educator in eastern North Carolina: “Creative Class Counties and the Recovery.” This Daily Yonder article shows the value of the “creative class” to the economic recovery in some parts of rural America.

Recommended by Don Macke: The End of the Suburbs by Leigh Gallagher. This book provides interesting insight on the changing spatial demographics in the United States.

Recommended by Deb Markley: Sources of Economic Hope: Women’s Entrepreneurship. This Kauffman Foundation research report suggests why accelerating women’s entrepreneurship might be the best thing we can do for the U.S. economy.

Recommended by Don Macke: The Coming Jobs War by Jim Clifton. This book provides insight from the Chairman of Gallup and their unique international view of global competition.

Recommended by Don Macke: What Then Must We Do? – Straight Talk About the Next American Revolution by Gar Alperovitz. Rooted in the value that economies exist to meet the needs and dreams of residents, this book provides insights worth considering as we engage in economic development.

You can find the original version of this CM blog post at www.communitymatters.org/blog/12-great-reads-add-your-list.

Charlie Wisoff reviews “Making Democracy Fun” by Josh Lerner

We just love Making Democracy Fun a great new book by Josh Lerner, an NCDD member and ED of the Participatory Budgeting Project. We love to work with Josh and his ideas – from hosting his great “gamification” talk during the final NCDD 2014 plenary to co-sponsoring PBP’s recent conference – and we hope you’ll read the review of his book written by Charlie Wisoff of the Kettering Foundation below.


In Making Democracy Fun, Josh Lerner addresses a key problem of democracy: “For most people, democratic participation is relatively unappealing. It is boring, painful, and pointless.” This is the case in traditional public hearings that end in bitter conflict and have little impact, but Lerner argues that even idealized forms of participation, such as deliberation, are not intrinsically fun.

To address this problem, Lerner draws on the growing field of game design. Games are defined as, “systems in which players engage in artificial conflict, defined by rules, that result in measurable outcomes.” Lerner has in mind a broad range of games including sports, board games, video games, or play-oriented games like tag. In contrast to the paltry numbers many public engagement processes get, 183 million people in the US report playing computer or video games regularly, 13 hours per week on average.

Lerner suggests utilizing a number of game design concepts and mechanics and applying them when designing democratic processes. He outlines 27 game mechanics organized under the categories of conflict and collaboration, rules, outcomes, and engagement. He also notes that the effectiveness of games does not depend on digital technology, that face-to-face interaction is essential for democracy, and that digital games should only be used to supplement rather than replace in-person engagement.

Throughout the book, Lerner draws on a number of case studies in Rosaria, Argentina and Toronto, Canada to illustrate his points about incorporating games into democratic processes. In a participatory planning process called Rosario Hábitat Lerner notes how a map puzzle game was used to prompt slum residents to make collective decisions about where they want their lots of land to be developed. A core game mechanic highlighted here is group vs. system conflict. This mode of conflict presents a group with a collective challenge, such as limited land, orienting participants towards collaboration rather than competition over scarce resources.

Another game mechanic Lerner highlights is the importance of having enjoyable core mechanics. Core mechanics are the basic activities of a game like bowling a bowling ball or rolling dice, which should be intrinsically enjoyable in a well-designed game. In Rosario, Lerner notes how theater-like games were used to get participants moving while at the same time allowing participants to act-out a new law in particular contexts. In Toronto, during Participatory Budgeting events, simple activities like putting color dots up to rate proposals made a voting process more enjoyable.

Lerner concludes by arguing that, while there “are no simple or universal recipes,” there are certain principles that should guide the application of game design mechanics to democratic processes: engage the senses, establish legitimate rules, generate collaborative competition, link participation to measurable outcomes, and participant-centered design.

For more info or to order Making Democracy Fun, visit www.mitpress.mit.edu/demofun.

A Note from John Gastil, NCDD 2014 Co-Emcee

Before our wonderful community starts arriving in droves for NCDD 2014, we wanted to make sure you all see a message from our  co-emcee, John Gastil. NCDD has inspired John to complete revisions on his best-selling book on democratic methods, and he’s using it to help NCDD continue our work. Read more about it below, and we’ll see in Reston this week!


Gastil BookServing as co-emcee of the NCDD conference spurred me to bring to the finish line a project three-years in the making. I’ve brought into the digital world my very first (and best selling) book, Democracy in Small Groups. And in celebration of NCDD’s conference, all royalties from the first week of sales – from Oct 14-21 – go to NCDD.

Yup, all of ‘em.

Then again, it was NCDD attendees who convinced me to make my next book cheap enough for anyone to buy, so the royalties on a $2.99 book won’t go too far. But everyone needs to buy new office supplies, so it’ll pay for somethin’.

The book’s now available in Kindle format (which can be read via a free Kindle app on phones/PCs/Macs) at http://tinyurl.com/DSG2Kindle

The new edition is expanded and revised, with a special feature built just for online reading. As much as the Internet makes possible, the references link to original sources, so you can drill down as deep as you want while you read.

Twenty one years have passed since the first edition (blackjack!), so there are more than two decades worth of new sources filling out the book’s argument. If you want to make your own groups more democratic or better understand how small groups can change our larger world, this book might help you get there.

Versions for iBooks (I hear ya, iTooners), Nook (anyone using that?), and print will be following shortly.

John Gastil