Participatory Budgeting Lessons Over Last 30 Years

Participatory Budgeting has been rapidly growing across the world for the last 30 years, in all levels of government, in organizations, and in schools. There was a report released by the Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network on the current state of PB and its future; and NCDD member org, the Participatory Budgeting Project, recorded a webinar with the report authors, Stephanie McNulty and Brian Wampler. You can listen to the webinar in the article below and find the original on PBP’s site here.


Lessons from 30 years of a global experiment in democracy

The Hewlett Foundation and Omidyar Network recently funded a major new report on the lessons learned from 30 years of participatory budgeting (PB). In July, we hosted a webinar about the state and future of PB with report authors Stephanie McNulty and Brian Wampler.

Check out the webinar recording, slides, and key takeaways below.

We asked Stephanie and Brian about what it meant to write this report in 2018, a time of great change for PB and for democracy.

Stephanie spoke to how PB has grown since beginning in Brazil in 1989: “It’s sort of exploding, and happening all over the world in places that are very different from Brazil… It’s taking place faster than we can document and analyze.”

Brian shared about experimentation in PB happening with a variety of focus areas and in new contexts. Part of the power of PB is in how adaptable it is. Many folks experiment with how to design PB to best serve their community. And so, PB looks different in the more than 7,000 localities it exists in around the world.

“PB is probably the most widespread public policy tool to undertake what we consider democratizing democracy.”- Stephanie McNulty

In 30 years, PB has created significant impacts. Doing PB and studying it need more investment to further impact democracy. We’re still learning about the ways that PB can transform individuals and communities.

Early research suggests PB strengthens the civic attitudes and practices of participants, elected officials, and civil servants. Beyond changes at the individual level, the report documents changes at the community level. Changes at the community level include greater accountability, stronger civil society, improved transparency, and better well-being.

But, in the end, good PB doesn’t just happen; it has to be built. It requires intentional effort to ensure that PB practice lives up to its promise. It can yield benefits for those who participate in the early stages, but it takes time for those to expand to broader areas. PB is growing faster as more people learn about it’s potential. We need further research to  learn from what advocates on the ground know about PB’s impact—as well as it’s areas for improvement. The future of PB will require effort and sustained resources to support new ways of placing power in the hands of the people.

The report documents key ways PB has transformed over 30 years.

  • Scale. PB started at the municipal level in Brazil, and now exists in every level of government, and even within government agencies. PB is now being done for schools, colleges, cities, districts, states, and nations—places where people are looking for deeper democracy.
  • Secret ballots to consensus-based processes. When we spoke about what was most surprising or unexpected while writing the report, Brian talked about the shift in how communities make decisions in PB often moving from secret ballots to consensus-based processes.
  • Technology. New technologies are used for recruitment, to provide information, and to offer oversight. We don’t fully understand the benefits and limitations of this particular transformation, and look forward to more research on this question.
  • Increased donor interest. More international donors are interested in promoting and supporting PB.
  • A shift away from pro-poor roots. PB in Brazil began as a project of the Workers Party to pursue social justice and give power to marginalized communities and the disenfranchised. This is a core reason why many look to PB to solve deeply entrenched problems of inequity in the democratic process. Unfortunately today, many PB processes around the world do not have an explicit social justice goals.

We’ve learned that focusing on social justice actually makes PB work better. PB processes that seek to include traditionally marginalized voices make it easier for everyone to participate in making better decisions.

To wrap up our webinar, Laura Bacon from Omidyar Network, David Sasaki from the Hewlett Foundation, and our Co-Executive Director at PBP, Josh Lerner shared takeaways for grantmakers.

They discussed what we need to make the transformative impacts of PB be bigger and more widespread.

  • Medium and long term investment is important for PB success. One off investments don’t create the impacts of PB and can lead to a decline in quality.
  • Government support is crucial. PB works best when it complements government—not opposes it.
  • Watch out for participation fatigue. If the conditions for successful PB are not fully in place, residents and advocacy organizations can grow weary of continued involvement.
  • Funders should focus PB grantmaking in areas that have conditions in place for it to be successful. They should look at political, economic, and social contexts before funding the process.

Want more updates on the state and future of PB? Sign up for PBP’s Newsletter

You can find the original version of this article on the Participatory Budgeting Project site at www.participatorybudgeting.org/lessons-from-30-years-of-pb/.

Listen to This Webinar on How to Hold a Ben Franklin Circle

Back in the day, Ben Franklin had established a mutual improvement club that he organized for over 40 years, in the spirit of dialogue and self improvement. It is in this vein, that the folks at the 92nd Street Y, created the Ben Franklin Circles (also an NCDD member org) to offer a framework to hold conversations on Franklin’s 13 virtues. NCDD partnered with BFC last year and we are thrilled to find this free webinar recently released that gives the basics on what a Circle entails. You can listen to the webinar below and find the original on BFC’s site here.


Ben Franklin Circles 101

This webinar covers the basics of Ben Franklin Circles – great for anyone looking to start one or brush up on the who, what, when, where and why!

Listen to BFC 101 or read the highlights below. Questions? Email us at benfranklincircles@gmail.com.

What is a Ben Franklin Circle?

  • Small groups of people coming together to talk about how they can do good…in their lives, in their work, in their relationships and in the world.
  • Circles choose one of Franklin’s 13 civic virtues and discuss what that virtue means today.

Where did the idea come from?

  • From Franklin! Franklin wrote about his club for mutual improvement – his junto – in his autobiography.
  • The Ben Franklin Circles team at 92nd Street Y updated Franklin’s structure for the 21st Century and created all the tools for people to host their own Circles.

Who are in the Circles?

  • Circles are for anyone and everyone!
  • Find members by personally inviting 5-10 people, posting on social meeting, creating a MeetUp group…or be brave, and drop some invites in your neighbors’ mailboxes and invite them to get together for a conversation.

Where do people host?

  • Locations vary! Public libraries will often provide space. Some groups meet in peoples’ homes or in cafes or restaurants.
  • You’re looking for a casual space that’s not too loud so you can have intimate conversations.

How often do Circles meet?

  • Some meet monthly, some meet every week, some just meet once to try it out!

What’s next?

  • Check out our toolkit and/or join our Host Facebook Group
  • Set date, invite your members, set a location and you’re ready to go.
  • Let us know when you’ve started so we can add you to our map, social media, host resources list serve and more!

Takeaways

  • Circles are an opportunity to pause, reflect and connect with others around big ideas.
  • Members are encouraged to leave each Circle conversation with one actionable thing they can do for good.
  • Circles are very similar to a salon. The Circle model simply gives you an easy structure/topic to use for your conversations.
  • There’s no wrong way to do this!

You can find the original version of this article on the Ben Franklin Circles’ site at www.benfranklincircles.org/webinar/ben-franklin-circles-101.

Deliberation and How We Use it in Everyday Life

The National Issues Forums Institute – an NCDD member and NCDD2018 sponsor org, recently shared an update on the work that the Kettering Foundation has found on the nature of public deliberation. While process and design are important parts of engagement work, the reality is that deliberation happens every day, both inside of ourselves and in our casual interactions. Having a structure is immensely helpful in bringing our reactions and decisions into more concrete reality, and yet even outside of the more formal spaces of forums, we are still going through the experience of weighing our options and deciding on next action steps in our everyday life. You can read the article below and find the original version on the NIFI site here.


Deliberation Every Day – An Update on Kettering Foundation Research on Public Deliberation

Two of the most-often-used words in describing public decision-making are deliberation and forums. All forums aren’t deliberative and all deliberations aren’t carried out informally organized forums. However, in this instance, the subject is deliberative forums. These forums serve several purposes. One is to remind people of their own ability to deliberate and to show what distinguishes deliberation from other forms of speech. When people become aware of their innate power to deliberate, it is self-empowering. Another function of deliberative forums is to help move public thinking from first opinions to more shared and reflective judgments. And still another is not just to inspire more forums but to bring deliberation into all the places and occasions where people are talking about the decisions they have to make as citizens.

There are some common misunderstandings that stand in the way of deliberative forums doing what they need to do in order to make democracy work as it should. One is that it is a magical process or technique that will produce a stable and lasting democracy. But, as has been said, democracy is a journey, not a destination. Deliberation helps people keep moving in a positive direction. Democracy does not produce perfect governments (if there are such things), yet it does foster governments that are able to recover from their inevitable mistakes. Another misperception is that only the well-educated and economically well-off citizenry can deliberate. That just isn’t true. Still another error is thinking that public deliberation will only be significant if it gets “up to scale.” Deliberating is difficult sometimes but it is naturally occurring; there are elements of it in everyday speech.[1]In that sense, it is already up to scale. The difficulty is that it is often interrupted by partisan diatribes, blaming, wish-listing, and other common maladies of public talk. Recognizing what deliberation is like and what it can do are the antidotes.

The choices citizens make about what should be done to solve their problems or set policies need to be sound choices. That is the role of deliberation. Without deliberation, discussions easily degenerate into personal pleadings, sound bites, and partisan rancor. Peoples’ first opinions may be store-bought, prepackaged, and unreflective. Originally the word meant to weigh carefully, as was done on the ancient balancing scales used to determine the value of goods sold in the marketplace. Weighing means exercising good judgment, which has also been called moral reasoning. Moral reasoning or judgment is required when decisions have to be made about what is best for all or, in an ethical sense, what should bedone. There are no experts on such normative questions, and in a democracy there is no authority to give answers other than the people themselves.

The most distinctive characteristic of deliberation is giving a “fair trial” to unpopular views. That is difficult, which is why deliberation has been called “choice work.” Deliberation recognizes that our most challenging decisions aren’t between options that are good and those that are evil. Rather they are between options that are both good yet are in tension in given situations. For instance, doing something that will make us more secure may well restrict our freedom. In a democracy, there is no one authority everyone accepts who can tell us what is most valuable to us. We are the only ones who can do that. However, different people, being in different situations and having different experiences, will have different priorities. And these differences, which won’t go away, can only be harmonized or made less polarizing by the collective exercise of judgment. And that is the purpose of public deliberation.

Deliberation is intertwined with acting and isn’t a separate process; the experience of acting continually shapes the decision-making, just as the decision-making shapes the action.[2]It makes no sense to think of deliberation as separate from action. In fact, past actions or experiences, when filtered through the things people consider most valuable, often become the “facts” most relevant in making decisions. The public deliberation that Kettering has seen uses expert and professional knowledge but adds the information people create as they look at their experiences through the lenses of what they hold dear.

Although deliberation is difficult, it is a natural act. The human brain is wired for deliberation. And ancient languages around the world have a term for collective decision-making because it is essential to collective survival. The purpose of forums isn’t to introduce a new methodology, “deliberation,” but rather to make people more aware of a natural faculty. That recognition is empowering—self-empowering.

In daily conversations, people talk about the problems that concern them, what action should be taken to respond, and who is needed to act. Yet their casual conversations may not sound very deliberative. Deliberation isn’t something apart from ordinary speech but goes on in multiple layers of talk. At times people may just be complaining or posturing or looking for someone to blame. Carefully weighing alternatives may be interspersed with comments that don’t appear to have anything to do with deliberating. People may start conversations by telling a story about some troubling experience and then move on to explaining who they are in order to establish their identity. “Don’t think I am heartless when I say. . . .”

Everyday deliberation often begins to take shape over backyard fences, during coffee breaks, and at the grocery store. People start by talking to those they live and work with—sometimes including even those who aren’t of a like mind. (People who look alike don’t necessarily think alike.) And while people often take comfort in opinions they like, they may also be curious about contrary views, provided those views aren’t being advanced in an offensive manner. People certainly try to persuade one another as they hold on to cherished beliefs. Yet they may do more; they may begin to weigh the options they like best more carefully.

Although found in many neighborhood conversations, deliberation can’t always be heard because much of the careful weighing of options for action goes on inside people’s heads. Still, deliberation involves listening as much as it does speaking. By listening attentively, we can take in the experiences of others without necessarily agreeing with what they are advocating.

One of the main contributions of formally organized forums is to help people recognize ways they can move informal, top-of-the-head chatter in a deliberative direction. There, one may hear helpful questions like, “How does what we are seeing affect you personally or your family?” This gets at what people hold dear. Or a question like, “What else do people consider valuable?” broadens the focus beyond things purely individualistic. “Do you know of anybody else who is concerned but might have a different opinion?” expands the focus, as does the follow-up question, “Why do you think they care?” And asking, “If that is what bothers you, what would you do about it?” moves the conversation to options for action. That opens the door to a follow-up, “If we did what you propose but it had negative consequences for what you said you cared about, would you still favor your proposal?” This kind of question brings out tensions among all that people consider valuable. And it encourages careful weighing of options. Note that these deliberative-friendly questions are quite ordinary. There isn’t anything that they require before asking them.

The citizens’ briefing books that NIF uses follow the same basic line of conversation. They describe the things people consider valuable, present options for action that follow from these concerns, and then show the tensions or trade-offs that people have to work through in order to reach shared and reflective decisions about what they are or aren’t willing to do.

I should be clear that I am not suggesting that organized forums use these questions as a script for a moderator to follow. Nothing would be more likely to inhibit the exchange that must go on in order for people to deliberate with one another. These are just illustrations of what “working through” sounds like.

[1]See Jane Mansbridge, “Everyday Talk in the Deliberative System,” in Deliberative Politics: Essays on Democracy and Disagreement, ed. Stephen Macedo (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999). Her concept of a “system” helps locate deliberative forums in the larger context of political speech.
[2]Daniel Yankelovich, Coming to Public Judgment: Making Democracy Work in a Complex World (Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press, 1991), 95-96

You can find the original version of this post on the National Issues Forums Institute blog at www.nifi.org/en/deliberation-every-day-update-kettering-foundation-research-public-deliberation.

Second Round of NCDD2018 Workshop Announced!

Check out the second round of workshops happening at the 2018 National Conference for Dialogue & Deliberation from Friday, November 2nd to Sunday, November 4th! This year’s exciting convening will take place in Colorado at the Sheraton Denver Downtown – which you can book using our discounted room block by clicking here. We encourage folks attending the conference to consider arriving a little early because we have several fantastic pre-conference sessions available on Thursday, November 1st (read more here). Stay tuned to the blog in the coming weeks to learn about the rest of the 60 total sessions that will be offered at #NCDD2018!


NCDD2018 Workshop Sessions

We will continue to announce workshop sessions over the coming weeks to follow!

Respect & Rebellion: Fighting to Preserve a Civic Ecosystem on American Campuses
Like the enormous resources invested to preserve natural ecosystems under threat, it’s time for complementary “species” of dialogue organizations to come together to find creative ways to protect our civic ecosystem under serious threat. Our collaboration brings together premiere student and faculty organizations spanning the sociopolitical divide, with technological innovations that help amplify the work of dialogue. We will also share and gather feedback on our campaign to get “divergent speaker pairs” to model trustworthy rivalry on campuses while inviting students to complete a “subversive friendship” dare.

Liz Joyner
CEO & Founder, The Village Square

Kyle Emile
Founder, Free Intelligent Conversations

Jacob Hess
Co-Founder & Co-Director, Village Square Utah
Board Member, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation

Mannie Ajayi
CEO & Co-Founder, Pnyka

Manu Meel
CEO, BridgeUSA
Junior, UC Berkeley

Andrew Evans
BYU Law School, Center for Conflict Resolution

What Did We Just Talk About? How to Turn Deliberative Talk into Deliverable Data
Deliberative events bring community members together to address public problems, but what happens after the discussion is over? How do we turn participant input into useable information? During this session, we’ll brainstorm ways to build data collection into process design. We’ll think about the different information needs of various partners community organizations, government officials, practitioners, and academics and discuss how to generate data that captures the conversation, highlights citizen decisions, and evaluates the process without straining organizational resources.

Katie Knobloch
Assistant Professor and Associate Director, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Sara Drury
Director and Associate Professor, Wabash Democracy and Public Discourse

Kalie McMonagle
Program Coordinator, CSU Center for Public Deliberation

Ben Franklin Circles: Small Conversations about Big Ideas
Ben Franklin Circles from the 92nd Street Y are a nationwide initiative to bring together people from different backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences to discuss how they can improve themselves and the larger community. At monthly meetings, Circles use Franklin’s 13 virtues (moderation, humility, silence, etc.) as discussion prompts and personal growth commitments. In this presentation/workshop, Julie Mashack and Patty Morrissey from 92Y will provide a general overview of the project and then lead a Ben Franklin Circle-style meeting for people to experience the model.

Julie Mashack
Director of Global Programs, Belfer Center for Innovation and Social Impact, 92nd Street Y

Patty Morrissey
Outreach Consultant, 92nd Street Y

Collective Leadership for Community Change
In an era when community organizations can no longer succeed on their own, shared leadership has ascended as the logical next step toward successful collective action. The co-creators of this session offer a helpful starting point for turning outward toward our communities, explaining how we can harness the collective capacity within and across our organizations to achieve significant and lasting impact. This interactive session will provide an overview of collective leadership and then some case studies how it helps move communities forward by creating sustainable and systemic social change.

Nancy Kranich
Lecturer and Special Projects Librarian, Rutgers University School of Communication and Information

Cassandra O’Neill
CEO, Leadership Alchemy LLC

Voting, Art, and Dialogue: Building Democratic Capacity through Voting Stories
Voting is a cornerstone of our democracy, yet is often shrouded in secrecy. While ballots themselves should remain private, the process of voting can and should be a social activity. This session will share an event that infused art and dialogue to encourage university students and community members to come together and share their stories of democratic participation. Multimedia products of the event will serve as inspiration to attendees as they have the chance to explore their own voting story and plan how to create a dialogue around voting in their own communities.

Marsha Olson
Instructor of Communication, University of Alaska Anchorage

Donna Aguiniga
Associate Professor of Social Work, University of Alaska Anchorage

The Definitive Online Public Engagement Checklist
Online engagement can dovetail powerfully with face to face dialog events to dramatically increase the reach of public engagement. Inspired by an extensive review of case studies that have engaged over 10,000 people online, this session will produce the first ever definitive checklist to prepare engagement professionals for the effective application of online public engagement to support their outreach projects. This checklist will be compiled into an eBook based on the research results and the practical experience of NCDD attendees through a fast-paced interactive exercise.

Dave Biggs
Chief Engagement Officer, MetroQuest

Eileen Barron
Strategic Communications Manager, Utah Department of Transportation

Saying “Yes, and” in a Polarized World
In a polarized world improv has emerged as a tool for bringing people together and transforming conversation. With a focus on ‘yes and’ and ensemble-building, improv helps people create together using everything including disagreements. Participants will be introduced to an approach to development and community building that uses improv to create ensembles with some of the most contentious groups including police/youth, refugees/locals and people across the political spectrum. Participants will perform and lead conversations that embrace differences, encourage risk-taking and meaning-making.

Carrie Lobman
Chair, Department of Learning and Teaching, Rutgers University

Lainie Hodges
Development Specialist, Improv Alchemy

Storytelling, Embodied Cognition and Climate Activism: A Faster Learning Process
Climate campaign organizations typically don’t have time to invest in face-to-face storytelling training for their activists, and climate activists sometimes view storytelling as a gimmick. Former academic and philosopher Maria Talero develops communication interventions based on embodied cognition, a revolutionary area in the scientific study of consciousness. This interactive session will spotlight key practices in speeding up the storytelling learning process for Citizen’s Climate Lobby advocates and lobbyists who work to bridge the partisan climate gap in Congress and around the country.

Maria Talero
Principal, Climate Courage LLC

Thaddeus Cummins
Area Coordinator, Citizen’s Climate Lobby, Colorado
Managing Researcher, Economic GPS

A Road Map to Washington’s Future
Instead of establishing a typical “blue ribbon task force,” the Washington State Legislature asked the William D. Ruckelshaus Center to articulate a vision for a desired future, and identify needed additions, revisions or clarifications to the state’s growth management framework. The Center conducted 50+ dialogue workshops across the state, engaging local leaders and elected officials, and will present a final report in June 2019. This session will engage participants in an interactive conversation on tools, tips, and lessons learned conducting state-wide engagement processes.

Amanda Murphy
Senior Project Lead, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington & Washington State University

Molly Stenovec
Project & Program Manager, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington & Washington State University

Michael Kern
Director, William D. Ruckelshaus Center, University of Washington & Washington State University

Building Bridges: A Community Collaboration for Culture Change
In November 2017, City of Boulder embarked on a two-year experiment working with the community to change the culture of local civic dialogue. In partnership with University of Colorado’s Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement, city staff engaged more than 400 community members in design-thinking workshops, online forums, and multi-generational programs to discover ideas that could lead to more productive communication. In this session, participants will experience elements of the workshop process first-hand as well as learning about the prototypes that were generated in Boulder.

Brenda Ritenour
Neighborhood Liaison, City Manager’s Office, City of Boulder

Lydia Reinig
Center for Communication and Democratic Engagement, University of Colorado Boulder

More to come soon!

The Participation Company Offers IAP2 Fall Trainings

In case you missed it, NCDD member org The Participation Company, has added additional trainings to their line up to carry out the end of the year, that we encourage NCDDers to check out! TCP offers certification in the International Association for Public Participation‘s model, and dues-paying NCDD members get a discount on registration! You can read more about the trainings in the TCP announcement below and learn more here.


The Participation Company’s 2018 Training Events

If you work in communications, public relations, public affairs, planning, public outreach and understanding, community development, advocacy, or lobbying, this training will help you to increase your skills and to be of even greater value to your employer.

This is your chance to join the many thousands of practitioners worldwide who have completed the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) certificate training.

AICP members can earn Certification Maintenance (CM) credits for these courses.

Foundations in Public Participation (5-Day) Certificate Program:

Planning for Effective Public Participation (3-Days) and/or *Techniques for Effective Public Participation (2-Days)

  • Sep. 24 – 28: Chicago, IL: 5-day Both courses
  • Oct 29 – Nov 2: Ashville, NC: 5-day Both courses
  • Dec 3 – 7: Salt Lake City, UT: 5-day Both courses

*The 3-Day Planning training is a prerequisite to Techniques training

IAP2’s Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in Public Participation (2-Days) formally Emotion, Outrage – newly revised and renamed

  • Oct. 18-19 in Chicago, IL
  • Nov 29 – 30 in Denver, CO

Register online for these trainings at www.theparticipationcompany.com/training

The Participation Company (TPC) offers discounted rates to NCDD members. 

TPC can also assist you and your organization in other endeavors! Our team of highly experienced professionals help government and business clients manage public issues to accomplish client’s objectives. We can plan and manage your participation project from start to finish. We can provide strategic advice and direction. We can coach and mentor your staff and managers. We help you build agreements and craft durable and defensible decisions.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the TPC site at www.theparticipationcompany.com/training/calendar/.

Upcoming Webinar on DCP’s Academy Training Initiative

We are excited to share an upcoming academy training initiative, Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest and Community Division, hosted by the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution and the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law – an NCDD member. This is a free opportunity to attend the Academy and learn strategies around addressing divisions and civil unrest in your community. Sign up for the informational webinar on Tuesday, August 14th to learn more! You can read the announcement below and find the original on the DCP site here.


DCP Launches Academy Training Initiative – Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Local Civil Unrest and Community Division

Complete your community’s application today!

Academy Details
In Chicago, on March 3, 4, and 5, 2019, the Divided Community Project (DCP) at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, in partnership with the American Bar Association’s Section of Dispute Resolution (Collectively the Hosts) host a national Academy, We, the People: Strengthening Democratic Engagement to Address Civil Unrest for Community Leaders.  The program’s goals are three-fold:

  1. Strengthen conflict resolution-related planning, capacity building, and the specific skill-sets of each participant and participating communities to better identify and  implement constructive strategies to prepare for, address, and/or respond to local policies, practices, and/or actions of residents or local officials, that undermine community trust and may divide and polarize communities.
  2. Support and strengthen the development of a local ‘core’ leadership convener group that can serve as a reliable source of independent information, and cross-sector collaborative planning and engagement, for its community’s public sector leadership.
  3. Provide planning opportunities for each leadership team to build on  Academy programming through further initiatives within each respective, participating community.

DCP Steering Committee members will facilitate the Academy with support from the American Bar Association Section of Dispute Resolution.  Collectively, Academy leaders bring significant experience in serving as mediators, interveners, and process designers, in conflicts of national significance and are recognized not only as nationally pre-eminent trainers of mediators and facilitators but also  as authors of leading books, articles, and pedagogical materials examining effective third-party intervention principles and strategies in divisive community conflicts.

The Academy program will include conversation with civic leaders versed in the challenges of addressing community division and facing potential or imminent civil unrest.  Using the Divided Community Project’s tools as a guide—including strategies used in other DCP communities—participants will develop constructive and collaborative strategies to prepare for, address, or respond to resident or official actions that polarize community members. Core leaders from each community attending the Academy will develop strategies so that the group can serve as a reliable source of independent planning and engagement to its community’s public political leadership.

Application Timeline*

August 14, 2018 at 12:30 Eastern: Participate on a forty-five minute informational webinar.  The webinar will be available as a recording if prospective applicants cannot attend.  Sign up for the webinar using this link.

DEADLINE: September 7, 2018: Submit this preliminary application.

September 15 to November 1, 2018: Work with the Hosts to further illustrate commitment to the project.

November 15, 2018: Academy participants announced.

* depending on the number of applications received, the Hosts may extend one or more of the above-referenced dates or deadlines.

Application Criteria
The Hosts intend to communities based on three criteria: diversity, commitment, and need.

Diversity
Diversity is fundamental to the program.  The hosts anticipate selecting participant communities that collectively reflect diversity of geography, size, and community demographics.  The hosts urge core leadership groups to consider how they reflect the diversity of their own community.

Commitment
Applicants should identify the four to seven core leaders who are committed to attending the national academy on March 3, 4, and 5.

Applicants should tentatively articulate how the core leadership group will begin convening broad-based community planning efforts to identify and address issues that polarize the community and whether and how the core leadership group has (or will) meet prior to the Academy.

Applicants should commit to working with the Divided Community Project—following the Academy—to implement initiatives aimed at addressing community polarization.

Need
Applicants should articulate their perception of issues polarizing their home community as well as their perception of the next issues that may be facing their home community.

Informational Webinar August 14, 2018 at 12:30 Eastern:

  • To join from a PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone or Android device please click this URL: https://zoom.us/j/949768906
  • To join by phone:
    • Dial(for higher quality, dial a number based on your current location): US: +1 669 900 6833  or +1 929 436 2866
    • Webinar ID: 949 768 906

Commonly Asked Questions
What is the cost? Due to generous support from the AAA-ICDR Foundation, the Academy is free for core community leaders.  The Hosts will provide coach airfare, lodging, and meals for Academy participants.

You can read the original announcement on the DCP’s site at https://moritzlaw.osu.edu/dividedcommunityproject/2018/07/16/dcp-launches-community-training-initiative/.

Updates from the Davenport Institute: Trainings & Certificate

For our NCDDers passionate about public engagement and local government, NCDD member – the Davenport Institute recently sent out their newsletter with opportunities to network and strengthen engagement skills. Read the post below for more information on their trainings, events, and the next professional certificate offering in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government. To note, the first training is coming up tomorrow, August 9th, for federal agencies to learn more about local-level engagement. This announcement is from the Davenport Institute’s InCommon July newsletter and you can receive these updates by signing up here.


Davenport Institute InCommon July Newsletter

Upcoming Training/Speaking
Local Training for Federal Agencies at the Pepperdine School of Public Policy
Interested in strengthening your cross-sector skills? Pepperdine School of Public Policy Board of Advisors member Kay Ko has invited Davenport Institute local government partners to join a Federal Executive Board training on “Building Effective Relations with Congressional Districts.” You are invited to join the conversation about how federal agencies are thinking about local-level engagement and explore opportunities for collaboration.

The event will be at Pepperdine’s Drescher Graduate Campus in Malibu on Thursday, August 9 from 9 am – 3 pm. Registration is free (lunch is not provided, but is available for purchase at the Pepperdine cafeteria). You can find out more and register here.

September 5-7 – At the IAP2 International Conference in Victoria, BC, Executive Director Ashley Trim and Kit Cole, principal at Kit Cole Consulting, will present on how an era of outrage presents particular challenges to public engagement, and how, at the same time, well-designed, deliberate public participation can help local governments navigate frought politcal waters. You can find out more and register here.

October 11-12 – Ashley will be chairing a panel on preparing leaders to put the “public” back into “public policy” at the NASPAA annual conference in Atlanta, Georgia. NASPAA is the accrediting body for schools of public policy, public affairs and public administration. Panelists include Terry Amsler, Indiana University, Bloomington; Lindsey Lupo, Point Loma Nazarene University; Tina Nabatchi, Syracuse University; and Larry Rosenthal, University of California, Berkeley.

Interested in any of our trainings?
For more information on bringing a Davenport Institute Training to your community, email us.

Save the Date: Pepperdine School of Public Policy to Host Conference on Cross Sector Leadership
On policy issues ranging from economic development to disaster response, it is becoming increasingly obvious that sustainable solutions will only be found through creative engagement of the government, business, and non-profit sectors. The Pepperdine School of Public Policy will be hosing a fast-paced, multi-format educational event here at the Malibu campus exploring what cross sector leadership looks like in local, state, and federal contexts, as very complex challenges are being addressed by these collaborative processes. And as the home of the Davenport Institute, the School of Public Policy will also be exploring how collaborative processes should think about broader public engagement as well.

When: Monday, October 1, 2018
Where: Pepperdine University, Wilburn Auditorium, Malibu, CA 90263
For more information: email the SPP cross sector program.

Stay Posted: Next Professional Certificate Offering
We have already begun receiving requests regarding when our next Professional Certificate in Advanced Public Engagement for Local Government will be offered. Right now we are looking at dates in February 2019 and finalizing details with venue and trainers. We will be announcing dates within the next couple of weeks. This program will be a great way to jumpstart the last year of the second decade of the 21st century!

Stay posted! You can find out more here.

Past happenings
July 26 – Ashley served as a guest-lecturer at Cal Lutheran University’s MPA program, speaking to students about the importance of and best practices for public engagement.

July 12 & 19 – Ashley and a longtime friend of the Davenport Institute, facilitator Natoma Kier, facilitated two separate public conversations for the City of Palos Verdes Estates. If your city has a project or issue that could benefit from outside facilitation, or if you could use technical support with process design, please email the Davenport Institute.

Utilizing Dialogue to Navigate Agricultural Tensions

Modern agriculture has brought some incredible technological advances to the way that crops can be grown, the usage of which can bring some serious tensions within a community; and using dialogic processes can help navigate these tensions. In Conway County, Arkansas, the use of the herbicide, Dicamba, was causing intense and tragic conflict between neighbors; and NCDD sponsoring org, Essential Partners, shares how utilizing reflective structured dialogue created an opportunity for folks in the community to listen to each other and work toward addressing the conflicts. You can read the article below and find the original on EP’s site here.


Small Communities, Big Divisions: Fostering Dialogue in Rural Arkansas with the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute

Late last summer, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute (WRI) in Conway County, Arkansas, hired Essential Partners to offer two days of facilitation training to their program officers. The following week, the Arkansas Agriculture Secretary reached out to WRI to facilitate meetings of a task force on the use of the herbicide Dicamba.

Dicamba is one of the most effective herbicides for taming the spread of pigweed, an invasive plant threatening crops throughout the region.

Unfortunately, Dicamba also kills soybean crops whose seeds are not pre-treated for resistance to the herbicide. When Dicamba is used on one field, the herbicide can drift over neighboring fields and destroy another farmer’s crop.

Conflicts over herbicide drift have pitted neighbor against neighbor in a region where farmers are already struggling to survive. In October 2016, a dispute over Dicamba use resulted in the shooting death of a soybean farmer near the Missouri border.

The Arkansas Agriculture Secretary wanted an effective path through the heated, and now tragically violent debate.

With coaching from Essential Partners Senior Associate Bob Stains, and the skills they developed during their EP training, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute staff initiated a series of dialogues about the use of Dicamba. Farmers, seed dealers, product manufacturers, and crop consultants came together to share emotionally wrenching stories, building trust and understanding.

“In the work around Dicamba,” said WRI’s Chief Programs and Marketing Officer, Janet Harris, “the dialogue had to come first and inform the decision-making process, because even in this very small and homogeneous population, folks had become deeply divided. Those differences were born from very strongly held moral values and beliefs on both sides.”

Harris explained that reflective structured dialogue allowed the participants to hear the “why” behind the “what.”

“Most importantly,” she said, “even though they weren’t unanimous in their final recommendation, they could look across the table at someone who disagreed and still empathize with that person’s story.”

WRI helped the group arrive at a policy recommendation, which was adopted by the state agency. And despite significant legal challenges as well as dissenting views, the members of the WRI dialogue group remain firm in their recommendation almost a year later.

“What I think we did with Dicamba,” Harris noted, “was less about the regulation of an herbicide than it was about the preservation of human relationships. They understood and appreciated one another and rediscovered their common ground.”

Since then, the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute has integrated reflective structured dialogue into many more projects.

“The learning we received from Essential Partners has helped us open up space for people to have difficult conversations in a different way. The more we do this, the more we realize that dialogue has to be a part of all our work.”

Most recently, WRI has employed EP’s dialogue techniques in a community development program, Uncommon Communities. They hope to encourage leaders in Arkansas’ rural communities to become catalysts for positive change and economic growth.

Even in small rural communities, Harris observed, there are rivalries and real differences of belief. And that’s where EP’s dialogue practices help.

“It’s not just a matter of civility,” she said. “It’s about our ability to foster mutual understanding across deep differences.”

You can find the original version of this article on Essential Partner’s site at www.whatisessential.org/blog/small-communities-big-divisions-fostering-dialogue-rural-arkansas-winthrop-rockefeller.

Job Opportunity: SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

The NCDD community is a vibrant group of individuals dedicated to improving dialogue & deliberation, and is an excellent network to hear about the latest job opportunities and/or find your next fantastic employee!

Which is why were we thrilled to receive the job post below, submitted to the NCDD blog by Brenda Tang of SFU Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue – an NCDD member. They are seeking a full-time Manager, Knowledge and Practice, to work in their Vancouver office. Applications are due Monday, August 6th – so make sure you apply by then!

If you’re looking to hear about the jobs we find ASAP, make sure you sign up here for our Making-A-Living listserv where we post opportunities as we find them. To note, access to the Making-A-Living listserv is part of being an NCDD member, so make sure you join/renew your NCDD membership here to receive this great benefit! Finally, if your organization is hiring, send the details directly to the Making-A-Living listserv or to keiva[at]ncdd[dot]org.


Job Opportunity: Manager, Knowledge and Practice at SFU’s Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue

As our future ambassador for Knowledge and Practice, you have both the analytical chops to identify and spread best practices for dialogue and engagement, as well as the street smarts to lead real-world projects for government clients. You will be a key contributor in articulating the Centre’s methods for citizen engagement, collaborative decision-making and dialogue. Through working with government, engagement practitioners, and stakeholders, you will play a pivotal role in strengthening the democratic process, decreasing polarization and creating positive and enduring social change. You will also have the opportunity to develop professional programs and the internal knowledge base within staff and its programs.

SFU is committed to employment equity, welcomes diversity in the workplace and encourages applications from all qualified individuals including women, members of visible minorities, Aboriginal persons and persons with disabilities. All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply, although Canadians and Permanent Residents will be given priority.

Application deadline: August 6, 2018

Full job description and application information: https://trr.tbe.taleo.net/trr01/ats/careers/v2/viewRequisition?org=SIMOFRAS&cws=37&rid=308

Please share with this announcement with your networks and best of luck to all applicants!

NCDD Member Discount Available on weDialogue Events!

We are excited to share that NCDD member Amy Lenzo is offering dues-paying NCDD members a 20% registration discount on their upcoming webinars! They are offering The Art of Online Hosting for four Wednesdays starting August 8th and running until August 29th. On August 14th, there is a free Community World Cafe webinar happening that all are welcome to join. Looking to strengthen your skills around tech hosting? Join the Mastering the Art of Tech Hosting course, a companion series to The Art of Online Hosting, starting August 30th and going every Thursday until October 18th.

If you are not an NCDD member or if your dues have lapsed, now is a great time to [re]join NCDD as an official member to receive this great discount and learn more benefits of NCDD membership! We encourage you to read more in the post below and find the original information on weDialogue’s site here.


The Art of Online Hosting

The Art of Online Hosting is designed for those who are called to gather people together across geographic boundaries and host online courses and events that are everything we know they can be – real, engaging, truly interactive & deeply connected.

Four Wednesdays – August 8th, 15th, 22nd & 29th
10am – 12pm Pacific Time (ONLINE)

The course, experienced in a series of four two-hour online sessions, is both visionary and practical. Visionary in that it awakens new possibilities for how to “be” together in the digital realm, and practical in terms of sharing specific tools and practices that underpin successful online engagements.

We’ll focus on the basics and some of the deeper levels of hosting in the digital realm, using a variety of participatory formats as our entryways – not simply as methods, but as fundamental patterns of engagement.

We will become familiar with the technology of online interaction and together explore how to be fully present and connected – to the collective wisdom in our groups & to the innate wisdom of the earth – as the stance from which we host.

Join us and open the door to a better way to be together online.

Hosted by Amy Lenzo and FireHawk Hulin

For more information – click here
REGISTER HERE

August Community World Cafe

These Cafes are for everyone – whether you have just joined our global community of practice or you’ve been here for years. We’ve found there is something wonderful about connecting with other World Cafe practitioners from all over the world. 

No matter where you live on this beautiful planet, your voice is welcome and needed as we create hospitable space together online.

The idea came from a series of Community Cafes we hosted in September 2016 to find out what is needed to support our extended shared community of practice.
For details, please see the Harvest Report
 
These World Cafe Community Cafes are free of charge & produced entirely on a volunteer basis. AND we warmly invite your contributions.

Please contact us to volunteer your time and expertise, and/or make a financial contribution (everything is helpful) via your registration form or the contributions page on the World Cafe website. 

This is a time in which many of us feel deep divisions in the world. Listening deeply to and with each other is one of these key things that helps us hold the challenges we face together. Join us for this month’s Community Cafe! 

REGISTER HERE

Mastering the Art of Tech Hosting

Announcing the long-awaited companion course to The Art of Online Hosting…

Mastering the Art of Tech Hosting is all about partnering. It’s about being in relationship – with your technology, with the needs of the program design and the hosting team, and with the deeper patterns that support Life (and extraordinary online experiences).

Eight Thursdays – Aug 30th, Sept 6th, Sept 13th & Sept 20th, Sept 27th, Oct 4th, Oct 11th, & Oct 18th
10am – 12pm Pacific Time (ONLINE)

The course is primarily for those who want to focus their attention and skills on the technology of online hosting, working in partnership with an online host. But it’s also for online hosts who want to understand what’s “under the hood” for themselves, at an advanced level of proficiency, whether or not they are working with a tech host.

Completing this course will give you a solid grounding in the art and craft of Tech Hosting & the deeper awareness that will allow you to step confidently into in this exciting new field, knowing you are well prepared.

Hosted by Amy Lenzo and FireHawk Hulin

For more information – click here
REGISTER HERE

For all these events, use the promotional code “GIFT” (all caps) to receive the 20% discount.

You can find the original version of this on the weDialogue site at www.wedialogue.com/events/.