Lessons on Non-Hierarchical Decision Making from Our Confab with Loomio

On Thursday of last week, NCDD hosted another one of our Confab Call events with over 40 people from our network. The call featured Rich Bartlett and MJ Kaplan of the Loomio cooperative who talked about their experience with decision making in non-hierarchical organizations. If you missed this Confab Call, you missed a great event!

We had a lively conversation on how non-hierarchical organizations can be structured, how decisions are made (spoiler alert: deliberatively!), and how work flows can be managed in ways that don’t require anyone to be “the boss.” Rich and MJ also shared interesting reflections on what they’ve been learning on their US tour in meetings with all kinds of organizations – from government departments to non-profits to grassroots organizations – who are exploring “the democracy question” internally and in civic society.

If you couldn’t participate in the Confab, never fear – we recorded the whole presentation and conversation, and you can hear and see the whole thing again by clicking here. You can also find the slides from MJ and Rich’s presentation by clicking here, and the transcript of the discussion being had in the chat during the call can be found here.

Confab bubble imageWe want to thank Rich, MJ, and the whole Loomio team again for collaborating with us on making this timely conversation happen. We encourage our network to explore how the Loomio tool can help your or other “flat” organizations work together better at www.loomio.org.

To learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs.

Don’t Miss Thurs. Confab Call Exploring D&D in “Flat” Organizations

In case you missed our original announcement, we want to remind everyone that we are hosting our next Confab Call event this Thursday, May 4th from 3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific. You won’t want to miss it, so be sure to register today!

Confab bubble imageThe Confab will feature the insights Rich Bartlett and MJ Kaplan, two of the co-founders of a non-heirarchical, cooperative organization called Loomio that has helped develop online tools to help groups across the globe make consensus-style decisions. But instead of focusing on the tech side of Loomio, we’ll take a dive into their cooperative’s internal dynamics. We’ll look at Loomio’s unique decision-making processes, talk about the ins and outs of “flat” organizations, and think about what the D&D field and non-hierarchical cooperatives like theirs can learn from each other.

We’re sure to have a rich, lively discussion on the call, and you can sign up to be part of it today!

This Confab Call is a “virtual stop” on a US tour that Loomio staff have embarked upon to host discussions with groups who want to share and reflect on “the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising.” There are many ways that what we do in the D&D field applies to, intersects with, and diverges from the kinds of shared work and collaborative workplaces Loomio embodies and supports, and we hope this conversation can serve as a jump off point for a deeper exploration of those commonalities and differences.

Don’t miss the chance to be part of this provocative conversastion – register today to join us! For more background on Loomio or on Rich and MJ, check out our original announcement at ncdd.org/23494.

Join NCDD Confab on Non-Hierarchical Orgs with Loomio, May 4th

We are excited to invite the NCDD network to register to join us for our next Confab Call on Thursday, May 4th from 3-4pm Eastern/12-1pm Pacific. This one-hour webinar event will feature a conversation with staff of Loomio, a collaborative online decision making tool and a worker-owned cooperative based in New Zealand.

Some of you may remember that NCDD hosted a Tech Tuesday webinar on Loomio a couple years ago where we showcased the features of Loomio’s decision making tool. But during this Confab, the discussion will focus on Loomio’s organizational dynamics, philosophy, and what lessons the dialogue and deliberation field can learn from – and offer to – non-hierarchical cooperatives like theirs.

Loomio is part of Enspiral – a global network that is also a lab for new ways distributed innovators can collaborate. Their team recognizes that there’s a need and opportunity for new ways of working for diverse groups to become more nimble, creative and productive. Loomio recently made an open source handbook that teaches others to use their cooperative work processes, and a few of their staff have been on a US tour this month to host discussions with different organizations who want to share and reflect on “the challenges and delights of non-hierarchical, inclusive, intersectional, collaborative, horizontal organising.” We are inviting Loomio to share and reflect with the NCDD network as a “virtual stop” on their tour, and we hope you will join us!

We will be joined on the Confab by Rich Bartlett, one of the co-founders of both Loomio and Enspiral, and NCDD member MJ Kaplan, also a Loomio co-founder and social innovator in her own right. Rich and MJ will help us learn more about the unconventional, non-hierarchical approaches that their networks apply to shared work and collaborative workplaces, and engage in dialogue with participants about how these approaches apply to, intersect with, and diverge from the work of the D&D field.

You won’t want to miss this great discussion, so to register today to be part of it!

About NCDD’s Confab Calls

Confab bubble imageNCDD’s Confab Calls are opportunities for members (and potential members) of NCDD to talk withand 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!

About Our Guests

Rich Bartlett is co-founder and Director of Autonomy at Loomio, as well asa software developer, activist, and open source hardware hacker. He is also a co-founder of the Enspiral Network, a “DIY” social enterprise support network of companies and professionals brought together by a set of shared values and a passion for positive social impact. Rich believes in the boundless potential of small self-organising groups to reshape society in a way that works for the planet.

MJ Kaplan is a social entrepreneur and consultant who weaves across sectors and industries to enable groups to align purpose and operationalize innovative collaborative practices. She splits her time working with Loomio, Kaplan Consulting, teaching/coaching at Brown University and serving on Social Enterprise Greenhouse and Commerce RI boards. She founded Kaplan Consulting in 2000, a networked consulting group that works globally with groups to gain clarity about shared purpose and to design innovative approaches to work that are deeply human-centered, agile and adaptive. In 2013, MJ was Ian Axford Fulbright Fellow in New Zealand. MJ was awarded the Cordes Innovation Fellowship by Ashoka U and honored as The Outstanding Mentor for RI Business Women Awards. MJ earned her M.Ed. from Harvard University and B.A. Brown University.

Capturing Lessons from the Journalism-D&D Confab Call

Last week, NCDD and Journalism That Matters (JTM) co-hosted a special Confab Call between journalists and public engagement practitioners, and it was an incredible discussion. We had just shy of 70 practitioners, journalists, and others from our network who participated, along with some distinguished guests.

Confab bubble imagePeggy Holman and Michelle Ferrier of JTM kicked us off with a discussion of some of the amazing potential of more meaningful collaboration between the D&D world and journalism professionals, then we launched into examples of what’s already been happening. Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson Center and 45-year journalism veteran Doug Oplinger shared stories of how they collaborate to help Ohio journalists rebuild public trust in the press. Betty Knighton shared about how the W. Virginia Center for Civic Life has partnered with public broadcasting groups to help regular people explore the interconnections between hot current issues. We also discussed how journalists can provide a much-needed “community listening infrastructure” for public officials and many other critical topics in our break out group discussions.

If you missed the call, you missed an exciting and thought-provoking conversation. But don’t worry – we recorded it, and you can hear (and see) the whole thing again by checking out the recording below or here. You can also follow along with what was happening in the live chat during the call by downloading the saved conversation here.

We know that we only scratched the surface on this call, and that the conversation about how we can strengthen our field’s connection to the power of the media world will continue to percolate over the coming months and years.

If you want to delve deeper into this topic, we highly encourage you to register to attend JTM’s Elevate Engagement Un-Conference this May 18th-21st in Portland, OR where journalists and public engagement/D&D practitioners will all come together in person to take this collaboration to new heights. We also recommend checking out the recent NCDD podcast on the same topic here, or revisiting the D&D-journalism panel discussion that we hosted during NCDD 2016 here.

Thanks again to Journalism That Matters, all of our featured speakers, and the participants for helping make this a great conversation. We look forward to continuing it in the future and seeing the fruits of where it can lead our work!

Don’t Miss the Special Journalism-D&D Confab Call on Wed.

As we announced last month, NCDD is co-hosting a very special Confab Call along with member org Journalism That Matters (JTM) on deepening collaboration between the world of journalism and the field of dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement this Wednesday, March 15th from 1-2:30pm Eastern / 10-11:30am Pacific. It’s going to be one our most engaging Confabs yet, so we encourage you to register todayConfab bubble image

During the call, we’ll continue the conversation that we began during NCDD 2016 about how journalists and public engagement practitioners are needed now more than ever to help our communities in #BridgingOurDivides, enhance the impact D&D practitioners’ work, and find new ways to change the narrative about whether and how our country can overcome our bitter partisanship and political disfunction.

How can we bring our skill sets together to do this? How do community engagement practitioners and journalists work together to share stories? We’ll have in-depth conversations about these questions and more, hear from case studies of successful D&D-journalist partnerships, and even host special region-based small group discussions using Zoom technology to allow for more concrete opportunities to move from conversation to action.

We are excited to have NCDD’s Managing Director Courtney Breese co-hosting this call with JTM Executive Director and NCDD member Peggy Holman. We’ll also be featuring insights and stories from JTM President Dr. Michelle Ferrier, Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson Center, Doug Oplinger of the Akron Beacon Journal, and Betty Knighton of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. You can find more info about the details of the call and our speakers in our original announcement here.

Don’t miss this highly interactive discussion about an exciting new direction emerging in our field! Be sure to register today!

Register for the March NCDD Confab Call between Journalists and D&D Practitioners!

We invite our network to register to join us for an especially exciting NCDD Confab Call about strengthening partnerships and collaboration between journalists and dialogue, deliberation, and public engagement practitioners on Wednesday, March 15th from 1-2:30 pm Eastern / 10-11:30am Pacific! The Confab is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign, and it’s going to be a very special call.

NCDD will be co-hosting this webinar with Journalism That Matters, one of our member organizations, and we are working in collaboration to bring both journalists and public engagement practitioners together on the call to continue the conversation we began at NCDD 2016 on ways that we can work together.

As you may remember, Peggy Holman, Executive Director of Journalism That Matters, moderated a panel of journalists at the NCDD conference this past fall who discussed innovative ways they are engaging communities, as well as their ideas for how journalists and public engagement practitioners can partner more substantively. What we also heard in this conversation was that journalism is more challenged than ever to share stories of people coming together across differences.

Based on our conversations at NCDD 2016, both journalists and public engagement practitioners are needed now more than ever to help us be in conversation on the issues that divide us. How can we bring our skill sets together to do this? How do community engagement practitioners and journalists work together to share stories? We’ll do a deep dive on these questions and more to see what’s possible now with these two worlds coming together to heal communities, and you won’t want to miss it!

This call will be highly interactive. Peggy Holman and Michelle Ferrier of Journalism That Matter will help us launch discussion among participants both in small, region-based breakouts and all together. And we’ll be joined by Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson CenterBetty Knighton of the W. Virginia Center for Civic Life, and other NCDD members will share stories of their journalist-practitioner partnerships. We hope you’ll plan to join us for this exciting opportunity to initiate a conversation we hope will continue to bring these two fields closer together and spark some exciting collaborations!

This 90-minute call will use Zoom technology to allow for video and audio, screen sharing and breakouts. Register today for this exciting call!

About Journalism That Matters

Journalism That Matters is a nonprofit that convenes conversations to foster collaboration, innovation, and action so that a diverse news and information ecosystem supports communities to thrive. More information can be found on their website.

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!

About our Speakers

Kyle Bozentko is the Executive Director of the Jefferson Center. Kyle brings over a decade of civic engagement, public policy, and political organizing experience to oversee the strategic and organizational development of the Jefferson Center. He received his BA in Political Science and Religious Studies from Hamline University in Saint Paul and his Masters of Theological Studies from the Boston University School of Theology with an emphasis on sociology of religion and politics.

Dr. Michelle Ferrier is an associate professor at the E.W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, where she conducts research on online communities, digital identity and community engagement. She is the president of Journalism That Matters and has been a pioneer in developing online communities and community engagement work. Since 2009, she has been exploring the intersection of communities and journalism through articles on Poynter.org and through development of hyperlocal news platforms such as MyTopiaCafe.com, LocallyGrownNews.com and Troll-Busters.com.

Peggy Holman is Executive Director of Journalism That Matters, a nonprofit she co-founded with three journalists to re-conceive news and information civic communication to support communities and democracy to thrive. As an author and consultant, Holman has helped explore a nascent field of social technologies that enable diverse groups to face complex issues. In The Change Handbook, she & her co-authors profile 61 practices that involve people in creating their desired future. Her award-winning Engaging Emergence: Turning Upheaval into Opportunity provides a roadmap for tackling complex challenges through stories, principles, and practices.

Betty Knighton is the director of the West Virginia Center for Civic Life, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that promotes public dialogue on issues that affect the quality of life in West Virginia. A primary focus of her work has been building a network for civic engagement in the state through collaborative partnerships with educational, civic, faith-based, and governmental organizations. Through the Center, she works with West Virginia communities to develop balanced frameworks for local issues, to convene and moderate community discussions, and to develop processes to move from dialogue to action.

Doug Oplinger is responsible for convening and leading the Ohio media collaborative, Your Voice Ohio. He has 45 years of exemplary journalistic work in Ohio as a reporter and Managing Editor at the Akron Beacon Journal that includes editing two Pulitzers and a Casey Medal for Service to Families and Children.

What You Missed on the Confab Call with Not In Our Town

NCDD was happy to host a very special Confab Call earlier this week featuring NCDD member organization Not In Our Town (NIOT). Over 50 people from our network joined us for a conversation with Patrice O’Neill, NIOT’s executive director, about how the history of NIOT’s history, its work, and how the dialogue events that NIOT hosts have helped catalyze broad civic engagement and stop the spread of hate in communities across the country.

We recorded the Confab as always, so if you missed it, we highly encourage you to list to the recording of the webinar by clicking here. You can also click here to read the transcript of the chat from the webinar where we shared a number of resources, links, and answers to questions posed during the call.

One of the most exciting possibilities that came out of the call was the clear opportunity for dialogue practitioners from NCDD’s network to support the towns and communities that NIOT works with in their dialogue events on hate and bullying. NIOT and NCDD are discussing ways to bring dialogue partners and a framework to local NIOT groups working long term to prevent hate and foster inclusion, but we want you to be part of the discussion too!

We’ve created a quick 5-question survey that we are asking our network to fill out so that we can find out who is interested in continuing conversations about NCDD-NIOT collaborations and collect your ideas about what that could look like. Please take just a couple minutes to complete the brief survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/KRVC252 if you’re interested. We will have more on these collaboration opportunities soon.

In the meantime, if you want to connect with Not In Our Town’s work, here’s are some suggestions from Patrice for ways  you can get involved:

  • Host a NIOT screening in your community. Choose a NIOT film, convene key leaders and community members  to view the film and hold a dialogue about who is vulnerable to hate in your community and how people can work together to respond. The screening can lead to a more formal way to engage with NIOT. If your community has capacity, Patrice O’Neill or another NIOT representative can come to your town to present the film, ideas and help convene a NIOT group.
  • Engage with NIOT on social media. You can share stories and films of communities responding to hate with via NIOT’s on Facebook and Twitter.
  • Sign up for the NIOT e-newsletter. You can stay in the NIOT network loop and sign up for the occasional newsletter by clicking here.
  • Start a NIOT group in your community. If you have had incidents of hate or bullying in your town and you’re moved to take action, you can also work on helping start a NIOT group yourself. Learn more about how it works and what it takes by clicking here.

Confab bubble imageThanks again to Patrice and all of those who participated for a great Confab Call. We look forward to exploring the potentials for partnership and will keep you all updated on how it goes.

To learn more about NCDD’s Confab Calls and hear recordings of others, visit www.ncdd.org/events/confabs.

Don’t Miss the Confab Call on Responses to Hate, Feb. 8

In case you missed our announcement last month, we want to remind the NCDD network to register today for our next Confab Call, this Wednesday, February 8th from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific with Not In Our Town (NIOT).Confab bubble image

Not In Our Town is an NCDD member organization that uses film and community-wide dialogue to support towns and schools around the country in formulating a response to hate crimes, bullying, and hate groups. The Confab will feature a presentation from NIOT’s CEO and Excutive Producer Patrice O’Neill on the work they do, how it has changed since the spike in hate crimes since the election, and how the D&D field can support the growing need for conversation on addressing hate and violence in our communities.

You won’t want to miss this opportunity to connect to important work of using dialogue to address. We highly encourage you to register today for this great call!

This call is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign that seeks to highlight key resources and methodologies our field can use to address divides that the 2016 election created and exacerbated. The call will be a perfect opportunity to learn about how you can access and use the over 100 of films and discussion guides that NIOT has created to support dialogue and action around dozens of kinds of bullying and hate, all of which can be critical tools for the D&D community to tap into.

We are excited about the possibilities this Confab presents for seeding collaborations. Be sure register today for this great call!

Join Confab Call with Not In Our Town on Responses to Hate

We are pleased to announce that NCDD is hosting our next Confab Call with Not In Our Town, an NCDD member organization that uses film and dialogue to help regular people respond to hate in their communities. This hour-long webinar will take place Wednesday, February 8th, 2017 from 1-2pm Eastern/10-11am Pacific, and we encourage everyone to register today for a inspiring call!

Not In Our Town is both an organization and a movement dedicated to stopping hate, addressing bullying, and building safe, inclusive communities for all. Not In Our Town (NIOT) was launched as an organization in 1995 with a landmark PBS film that documented the efforts of everyday people in Billings, Montana who stood up together after a series of hate crimes targeting their Native American, Black, and Jewish neighbors.

The story and the film went on to inspire many other communities in the US and around the world to form their own responses to hate crimes and hate groups cropping up in their locales, and the NIOT team continued to make inspirational short films documenting their stories as they unfolded. NIOT has since made over 100 of these films and created discussion guides that accompany them. The films and discussion guides cover dozens of subject areas and topics, and they are compiled into an online hub that is designed to support towns, schools, campuses, faith communities, or any other kind of group in launching dialogues on how they can address issues of hate and bullying that are impacting them.

This call is part of NCDD’s ongoing #BridgingOurDivides campaign that seeks to heal the damage done in the divisive 2016 election while also addressing the longer-standing divisions in our country. As many communities where NCDD members live and work in struggle with how to deal with the rise in hate crimes and assaults that we’ve seen since the election, and as we prepare for the possibility that this trend might not go away, NIOT’s dialogue resources and model for supporting action can be critical tools for the D&D community to tap into. Be sure to join us on this Confab to find out how!

This Confab Call will feature a discussion with NCDD supporting member Patrice O’Neill, who serves as the CEO and Executive Producer of Not In Our Town. Patrice will share an overview of NIOT’s work and the approach that they use their films to launch community-wide dialogues and guide people from discussion into taking action against hate.

The call will also be an exclusive opportunity to discuss how the D&D field can support the growing need for conversation on addressing hate and violence in our communities. NIOT has seen a surge in requests for its services since November, which presents a unique opportunity for D&D practitioners to connect with and support NIOT’s work while also possibly cross-pollinating our methods and models, and call participants will have the chance to think together with Patrice about what that could look like.

You won’t want to miss this exciting conversation on NIOT’s model and resources and how the NCDD network can better interface with the NIOT network. We highly encourage everyone to register today for this great call!

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!

Conversation Café Training Webinar Published Online

NCDD was pleased to host a training webinar for those wanting to learn to host the Conversation Café (CC) process earlier this week, but we were even more pleased by the great turnout we had! We were joined by 45 participants, who spent 90 minutes learning about the ins and outs of hosting Conversation Cafés from Susan Partnow, one of the CC co-founders. It was a great training!

If you missed the training, don’t worry – we recorded the whole thing! You can find the whole training webinar recording by clicking here. For additional tips, we also encourage you to click here to read the chat transcript from the call, where there were a number of resources, links, and answers to questions shared.

With this new round of trained hosts, we’re excited to see the Conversation Café community continue to grow! We encourage everyone to check out the Conversation Café website at www.conversationcafe.org, especially if you are looking for more resources. We recommend checking out the “Resources for Hosts” page here and printing out some of the CC how-to cards here to help you be as prepared as possible to host your first Café.

We also highly recommend that new Conversation Café hosts consider joining the CC updates and announcements list and the CC hosts email discussion list so that you can stay informed and connected to the broader CC network. Let’s all stay in touch!