The Wise Democracy Project

The Wise Democracy Project was initiated by Tom Atlee of the Co-Intelligence Institute with impetus and tremendous help from Martin Rausch in Switzerland, between July 2016 and March 2017.

The Wise Democracy Project has been created to inspire the formation of a community of practice around approaches and innovations that can further the development of a democratic system capable of generating wise public policy and collective activities. “Wise” in this context means taking into account what needs to be taken into account for long-term broad benefit. D&D – and conversation and generative interaction generally – are central to this worldview and are contextualized for their gifts among many other dimensions of a wise democracy.

The project includes both broad theory and, in particular, an initial “pattern language” of 70 design guidelines, each of which can be applied through many different modes and approaches, using different tools and resources. The pattern language site (and its accompanying set of freely downloadable modular cards) provides a space for the gathering of additional examples and resources in each design category – and the analysis of any given case of democratic practice or vision, clarifying its specific gifts and improvable shortcomings.

The Wise Democracy Pattern Language was inspired by – and is a large-system companion to – the GroupWorksDeck.org pattern language for group process, which is familiar to many NCDD members. In fact, there is a parallel project underway linking the two pattern languages into a more coherent whole.

The relevance of the Wise Democracy Project to NCDD is that it adds a larger dimension to the work of D&D professionals, a vision of a civilization capable of generating actual collective wisdom. D&D practitioners can, if they choose, view their work as part of that larger civilizational mission and, using the models, patterns and networks associated with the Wise Democracy Project, focus their efforts in ways that empower that larger undertaking.

About The Co-Intelligence Institute
The nonprofit Co-Intelligence Institute (CII) promotes awareness of co-intelligence and of the many existing tools and ideas that can be used to increase it. The CII embraces all such ideas and methods, and explores and catalyzes their integrated application to democratic renewal, community problems, organizational transformation, national and global crises and the creation of just, vibrant, sustainable cultures. The goal of the CII is the conscious evolution of culture in harmony with nature and with the highest human potentials.We research, network, advocate, and help organize leading-edge experiments and conversations in order to weave what is possible into new, wiser forms of civilization.

Resource Link: www.wd-pl.com/

This resource was submitted by Tom Atlee, co-founder of The Co-Intelligence Institute via the Add-a-Resource form.

Not in Our Town Quick Start Guide

The Not in Our Town Quick Start Guide: Working together for safe, inclusive communities, was created by Not in Our Town (NIOT) and updated March 2013. The guide gives five steps to begin a campaign in your town or school to stop hate, address bullying, and build safer communities together

Below is an excerpt from the guide, which can be downloaded from NIOT’s site here or at the link at the bottom of the page.

From the guide…

You may be someone who is concerned about divisions in your neighborhood or school, or you may live in a community that has experienced hate-based threats or violence. Even just one individual or a small group can start a movement to stand up to hate.

Not In Our Town is a program for people and communities working together to stop hate, address school bullying and build safe, inclusive environments for all.

This quick guide provides steps for starting a Not In Our Town campaign that fits your local needs.

The ideas in this guide came from people in communities like yours who wanted to do something about hate and intolerance. Their successful efforts have been a shining light for the Not In Our Town movement.

Guiding Principles:
The steps that follow align with these core ideas…

– Silence is acceptance.
– Visible inclusion sends a positive message.
– Change happens when we work together.

Steps for Starting a Not in Our Town Campaign:

Step 1: Map out your allies
Think big, but don’t be afraid to start small. Change can start with a handful of people. But creating broad-based support will not only help your campaign, it will pave the way for deeper connections throughout your town or city.

Whether you have an existing group or are creating a new one, do an inventory of the people and organizations who support diversity, want to foster inclusion, and who may share your concerns about hate activity. Be sure to reach out to community groups that represent the targets of hate.

Step 2: Convene a meeting to launch efforts
Arrange an initial meeting with the above groups and individuals. Develop an agenda that allows time for introductions and getting to know each other. Acknowledge that standing up to hate and fostering inclusion is a long-term problem that takes time, but there may be some issues that need swift action. Discuss how to build and maintain an ongoing group that suits local needs, keeps everyone informed, and allows for meaningful participation for everyone.

Then, get busy.

Step 3: Identify issue(s) of highest concern
Every Not In Our Town campaign takes on the characteristics of the community and responds to local issues and needs. Hate and intolerance take on many forms, and your first meeting is likely to surface one or more issues of concern. Is it racism, religious intolerance, sexual orientation bias, bullying in schools? What group is most affected by these acts of hate? What can the group do about it together? Who are the key leaders of the affected groups? How can they be included in the group planning?

Step 4: Make your values visible develop an inclusive community-based action plan

Create a plan to respond to the issues of highest concern in your community. You may adapt one or more ideas for your group:

– Public Events
– Pledges and Petitions
– School Engagement
– Film Screenings and Dialogue
– Public Displays of Support
– Proclamations and Welcome Signs

For examples from the Not In Our Town movement, including videos, how-tos and sample materials, see accompanying guide, “Ten Ideas for Sparking Action in Your Town.”

Step 5: Analyze success, connect, and learn from others

Talk to each other and your community about what’s working and what isn’t, what to do next time, and how to resolve any conflicts that arose between group members. Change is hard, and disagreements are inevitable, but they can be worked out if people commit to long-term, agreed upon goals.

Don’t forget to publicize and document your efforts so the ideas can spread and help recruit new community members. Take photos, film interviews, write articles and collect materials to share with the Not In Our Town community around the world. Email items to web@niot.org for inclusion on www.niot.org.

Map your story here: www.niot.org/map. On NIOT.org, you can share your successes, challenges and your town’s story, and connect and learn from others.

About Not in Our Townniot_logo
Not In Our Town is a movement to stop hate, address bullying, and build safe, inclusive communities for all. Not In Our Town films, new media, and organizing tools help local leaders build vibrant, diverse cities and towns, where everyone can participate.

Our unique approach is based on the premise that real change takes place at the local level. We focus on solutions to inspire and empower communities to create a world where:

  • All residents stand together to stop hate and promote safety and inclusion for all
  • Students and school leaders work to prevent bullying and intolerance, and promote kindness
  • Law enforcement and communities join forces to prevent hate crimes and violence

Follow on Twitter: @notinourtown

Resource Link: www.niot.org/guide/quickstart

Ships Passing in the Night

The 20-page report, Ships Passing in the Night (2014)was written by David Mathews and supported by the Cousins Research Group of the Kettering Foundation. In the article, Mathews talks about the two major movements in civic engagement; one in higher education and the other found growing among communities able to work together. He uses the analogy of the wetlands, like how life thrives in the wetlands, it is in communities that can come together, where democracy thrives. Because it is these opportunities for people to discuss details and issues of their lives, that people will become more engaged in the issues that matter to them.

Mathews explores the question, “Why, though, are these two civic movements in danger of passing like the proverbial ships in the night? More important, how might these efforts become mutually supportive?”

Below is an excerpt of the report and it can be found in full at the bottom of this page or on Kettering Foundation’s site here.

From the guide…

kf_shipspassingThe Shaffers of academe are one of the forces driving a civic engagement movement on campuses across the country. Not so long ago, the civic education of college students was of little concern. Now, thanks to educators like Shaffer, that indifference is giving way. Leadership programs are common, and students are taught civic skills, including civil dialogue. There are also more opportunities to be of service these days, which is socially beneficial as well as personally rewarding. These opportunities are enriched by students’ exposure to the political problems behind the needs that volunteers try to meet. University partnerships with nearby communities offer technical assistance, professional advice, and access to institutional resources. Faculty, who were once “sages on the stage,” have learned to be more effective in communities by being “guides on the side.” All in all, there is much to admire in the civic engagement movement on campuses.

Another civic engagement movement is occurring off campus. At Kettering, we have seen it clearly in communities on the Gulf Coast that are recovering from Hurricane Katrina…

People wanted to restore their community—both its buildings and way of life—and felt that they had to come together as a community to do that. The community was both their objective and the means of reaching that objective. This has been the goal for many of the other civic engagement movements in communities that are trying to cope with natural disasters, economic change, and other problems that threaten everyone’s well-being.

Interestingly, a year or so after Katrina, a group of scholars studying communities that survived disasters validated the instincts of Don, Mary, and their neighbors. These communities were resilient because they had developed the capacity to come together. And the resilience proved more important than individual protective measures like well-stocked pantries.

People with a democratic bent like Don, Mary, and their neighbors don’t want to be informed, organized, or assisted as much as they want to be in charge of their lives. And they sense that this means they need a greater capacity to act together despite their differences. That is why they say they want to come together as communities to maintain their communities. Unfortunately, they often have difficulty finding institutions that understand their agenda.

Nongovernmental organizations, according to a recent Kettering and Harwood study, are often more interested in demonstrating the impact of their programs than in facilitating self-determination and self-rule. Even citizens may be uncertain of what they can do by themselves and want to put the responsibility on schools, police departments, or other government agencies…

The Wetlands of Democracy
We don’t have a name for what we are seeing, but the more we see, the more we have come to believe that we are looking at something more than civil society at work, more than revitalized public life, and more than grassroots initiatives. We don’t think we are seeing an alternative political system like direct democracy; rather, we are looking at the roots of self-rule. Democratic politics seems to operate at two levels. The most obvious is the institutional level, which includes elections, lawmaking, and the delivery of services. The other level is underneath these superstructures, and what happens there is much like what happens in the wetlands of a natural ecosystem.

We have been experimenting with a wetlands analogy to describe what supports and sustains institutional politics. Wetlands were once overlooked and unappreciated but were later recognized as the nurseries for marine life. For example, the swamps along the Gulf Coast were filled in by developers, and the barrier islands were destroyed when boat channels were dug through them. The consequences were disastrous. Sea life that bred in the swamps died off, and coastal cities were exposed to the full fury of hurricanes when the barrier islands eroded. The wetlands of politics play roles similar to swamps and barrier islands. They include informal gatherings, ad hoc associations, and the seemingly innocuous banter that goes on when people mull over the meaning of their everyday experiences. These appear inconsequential when compared with what happens in elections, legislative bodies, and courts. Yet mulling over the meaning of everyday experiences in grocery stores and coffee shops can be the wellspring of public decision making. Connections made in these informal gatherings become the basis for political networks, and ad hoc associations evolve into civic organizations.

In the political wetlands, as in institutional politics, problems are given names, issues are framed for discussion, decisions are made, resources are identified and utilized, actions are organized, and results are evaluated. In politics at both levels, action is taken or not; power is generated or lost; change occurs or is blocked. We aren’t watching perfect democracy in the political wetlands because there isn’t such a thing. But we are seeing ways of acting, of generating power, and of creating change that are unlike what occurs in institutional politics.

Why the Disconnect?
It would seem that two civic engagement movements, occurring at the same time and often in the same locations, would be closely allied—perhaps mutually reinforcing. That doesn’t seem to be happening very often. Research reported by Sean Creighton in the 2008 issue of the Higher Education Exchange suggests the connection is quite limited. Even though academic institutions have considerable expertise and a genuine interest in being helpful, they don’t necessarily know how to relate to the self-organizing impulses of Don, Mary, and their neighbors…

This is an excerpt of the report, download the full guide at the bottom of this page to learn more.

About Kettering Foundation
KF_LogoThe Kettering Foundation is a nonprofit operating foundation rooted in the American tradition of cooperative research. Kettering’s primary research question is, what does it take to make democracy work as it should? Kettering’s research is distinctive because it is conducted from the perspective of citizens and focuses on what people can do collectively to address problems affecting their lives, their communities, and their nation.

Follow on Twitter: @KetteringFdn

Resource Link: ships_passing_in_the_night

Leading Organizational & Community Change

Leading Organizational & Community Change (LOCC) is an academic program available through Humboldt State University’s College of eLearning & Extended Education. Participants can take the courses individually to develop professional skills around collaborative decision-making processes; or may complete the five core courses to achieve a Leading Organizational & Community Change certificate.

To learn more about the courses and certificate program, check out the excerpt below or go directly to LOCC’s site here.

From the site…

The Program
Become a notably effective and engaging organizational leader, public official, facilitator, or consultant through practical, inspiring, and skill-based learning in the Certificate Program in Leading Community and Organizational Change.

Grounded in the behavioral and brain sciences, the curriculum is designed build your knowledge and develop your skills so you can work collaboratively and constructively with colleagues, constituents, neighbors, and clients to solve problems, resolve conflicts, build lasting agreements, develop public policy, and plan for the future.

Gain a solid understanding of the foundational and advanced skills of designing, convening, leading, and participating in collaborative planning and decision-making processes in order to strengthen organizations, boards, communities, and democratic institutions.

Designed for Professionals Like You
This program is designed for a broad audience: anyone who wants to be more effective in their roles and more skillful in creating desired change at work and in their communities or municipalities. This includes organizational managers, community leaders, elected officials, city managers and planners, facilitators and consultants, or members of communities and organizations in all sectors: government, business, education, and not-for-profit.

This certificate program is recommended for anyone who wants to either be more collaborative as a leader or who wants to help others find new and innovative solutions to tough issues through participatory planning and collaborative decision-making.

Five Core Courses
To earn a certificate, you must complete the five core courses. Courses are non-credit, with a credit option. Courses may be taken individually; completion of certificate is not required.

Graduates of the Cascadia Center for Leadership 10-day program need only complete Foundations of Meeting Mastery, Advanced Meeting Mastery, and Designing Collaborative Processes to be eligible for the certificate.

  • Foundations of Meeting Mastery: A Key to Vibrant Organizations & Communities: Learn and practice the essential elements of planning, opening, conducting, closing, and following up on meetings at work, in communities, or public “hearings.” Discover methods for collaboratively solving problems and finding mutually agreeable solutions among individuals, stakeholder groups, and organizations.
  • Advanced Meeting Mastery: Apply Theory, Tools & Skills: Increase and strengthen your process know-how as a facilitative leader or neutral facilitator. Add process tools and facilitative behaviors to your tool kit. Each participant will build on the knowledge and skills developed in Foundations of Meeting Mastery (or equivalent experience) and have the opportunity to practice leading or facilitating groups, dealing with difficult behaviors, and receive supportive and constructive feedback from participants and instructors including optional video review.
  • Designing Collaborative Processes for Communities & Organizations: Solve Tough Problems, Plan for the Future & Create Change: To effectively take on and solve complex issues, organizational and community leaders need to know how to design processes that involve a series of meetings over time with diverse stakeholders. Making such processes inclusive, understandable, transparent and collaborative is key to creating constructive and productive interactions. Participants will have the opportunity to learn about actual successful collaborative processes and receive help designing your own.Foundations of Meeting Mastery or equivalent experience is required. Advanced Meeting Mastery is helpful but not required.
  • Self Mastery: Who You Are Leads: Increase self-awareness and appreciation of your strengths so that you can make more conscious and considered choices about how to be as constructive as possible in your words and actions in everyday and difficult interactions.
  • Communication & Leadership Skills for Productive Interactions: Learn how to increase your ability to have your expertise and experience more fully utilized and your recommendations implemented. Whether you work as an independent consultant or in a staff position in your organization (e.g., planning, human resources, engineering, legal or financial), you will be better able to establish and maintain effective partnerships with your clients.

Above are the five available core courses; to see the complete list of current courses, check out LOCC’s site here

Resource Link: www2.humboldt.edu/locc/

The Reunited States of America

The 192-page book by Mark Gerzon, The Reunited States of America: How We Can Bridge the Partisan Divide, was published February 2016. This book is a manifesto on how to bridge the political divide in America, during a time when the political environment is deeply poisoned. Gerzon shares the experiences of 40 individuals and organizations that are already doing the work of finding common ground, and working together around challenging and divisive issues. Here you will find a toolkit to join the emerging movement towards a transpartisan political environment and help reunite the states of America.

You can find the book on Mark Gerzon’s site here and also, in physical copy or audio format from Amazon here.

Reunited_StatesFrom the book…

We Americans are solving problems and achieving positive results not despite but because of our differences. Many or our fellow citizens are living evidence of this third story. They are putting country before party. They are drawing the outlines of a new political map that connects us rather than divides us. They are forming networks and organizations that are building bridges rather than walls. They are bridging the partisan divide- in living rooms and in communities, in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill.

Story #3 does not mean agreeing on everything. Nor does it mean being “nice” or being “moderate” or “splitting the difference”. On the contrary, it may mean fighting for what one believes in- but respecting one’s adversary for doing the same. It means knowing the difference between an issue on which you are willing to listen and learn, and one where you believe you are not. Above all, it means disagreeing strongly without ever forgetting that “they” probably love America just as much as “we” do. 

The truth is, 70 to 90 of us say that we are “very patriotic”. That means almost all of us claim to love our country deeply. If we love our family, we want it to stay connected. Similarly, if we love America, we naturally want our country to be able to work through its deep and genuine difference and remain united.

This book is part of a campaign- not a Republican or Democratic campaign, but an American campaign; not a campaign for office, but a campaign for our country. It is about the people, some of whom are our neighbors, who are drawing a new political map that connects us rather than divides us. It is about our fellow citizens who are already reuniting American- in living rooms and in communities, in state legislatures and on Capitol Hill. These are, in my view, today’s real American heroes.

The book is available for purchase, both in physical and audio format, from Amazon here

About Mark Gerzon
Mark is an author, leadership expert, and veteran convener of cross-party conversations. Having worked in both the private and public sectors, both domestically and internationally, his primary current focus is having a positive, transformative impact impact on the 2016 election.

Resource Link: www.markgerzon.com/

Change for the Audacious: a doer’s guide

The 240-page book, Change for the Audacious: a doers’ guide by Steve Waddell, was published in 2016. This book explores how we must, and can do much better at addressing issues such as: climate change, food security, health, education, environmental degradation, peace-building, water, equity, corruption, and wealth creation. This book is for people working on these types of issues, with the belief that we can create a future that is not just “sustainable”, but also flourishing. This perspective means that the challenge is not just one of simple change, but of transformation – radical change in the way we perceive our world, create relationships and organize our societies. This is the implication of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals and other global efforts, and also innumerable efforts locally, nationally and regionally.

Audacious_ChangeThis book approaches these challenges as large systems change issues: issues requiring engagement of many, many people and organizations often globally; issues requiring deep innovation with shifts in mindsets and power structures; and issues that require capacity to work with complexity. Large systems change is presented as a new field of practice and knowledge; the book is not about a “method” or particular “approach”; rather it provides an overview of frameworks, methods and approaches to develop capacity to use the appropriate ones in particular contexts.

After introducing concepts of transformation and complexity, the book presents five case studies of large systems change. These cases and others are referenced throughout the remainder of the book to present large systems change strategy, organizing structures, steps in developing the necessary collective action, tools, and personal guidance for change practitioners.

About Steve Waddell & NetworkingAction
Responding to the 21st century’s enormous global challenges and realizing its unsurpassed opportunities require new ways of acting and organizing. NetworkingAction is my personal vehicle to support organizational, network, and societal change and development, through consultation, education, research, and personal leadership. In particular, I focus upon intersectoral (business-government-civil society) and inter-organizational collaboration to produce innovation, enhance impact, and build new capacity. These initiatives may be local, national and/or global. The topics are varied, including water, forestry, youth, finance, economic development, and peace.

Resource Link: http://networkingaction.net/product/a-truly-path-breaking-work/

This resource was submitted by Steve Waddell, the Principal at NetworkingAction via the Add-a-Resource form.

Teens Dream

The Global Co Lab Network is a virtual “do tank” designed to empower cost effective inter-generational engagement with the goal of incubating initiatives out of carefully designed informal gatherings such as living room salons, utilizing facilitated design thinking. Our goal is to help people get out of their silos and work across networks more effectively, utilizing a virtual organization with diverse expertise.

The “Co Lab” helps people identify “doable problem sets” of specific challenges and curates invitees of diverse perspective and backgrounds to foster intentional, solutions-based collaboration with a focus on ensuring input from teens and/or millennials. Over the past year and a half, we have gained legal status as a new global and virtual non governmental organization, assembled a diverse team of advisors, created and secured the Co Lab website, launched a successful crowdfunding campaign, and hosted over twenty salons.

Our first successful incubated project from six salons engaging teens is Teens Dream, a digital platform empowering teens globally to articulate and pursue their dreams. Through two annual video competitions we have received over 135 short YouTube videos from across the world, including Morocco, Romania, Sri Lanka, Australia, Estonia, Canada, Denmark, the United States, Latvia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. We have awarded hundreds of dollars in prizes and hosted a celebration in Washington DC, to pair winners with mentors and organizations who can help them realize their dreams. Our promotional videos, Gallery of Submissions, Teen Media Production Group, and our soon to be established Dream Hubs, are all available on our website at www.teensdream.net.

The Global Co Lab Network seeks to engage those NCDD members interested in youth engagement, for more information email Istaheli[at]globalcolab[dot]net.

About The Global Co Lab Network
Global_Co_LabThe Global Co Lab Network is building a virtual network of partners, mentors, teens, and millennials interested in changing the culture for how we engage. Our dream is to empower everyday citizens to take ownership for the issues they care about by empowering them to engage and incubate new initiatives with inputs – across sectors, generations, and cultures – to build networks of networks and find ways to collaborate more effectively.

Resource Link: www.teensdream.net/

This resource was submitted by Linda Staheli, the Founding Director at The Global Co Lab Network via the Add-a-Resource form.