Free NIF Workshop at ALA Midwinter Meeting in Feb.

As part of our partnership with the American Library Association, we have been working with the ALA on their Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change series; an initiative which seeks to train librarians in various dialogue and deliberation approaches. There is an opportunity for academic librarians to attend a free National Issues Forums workshop tailored for academic libraries on Friday, February 9th from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. MT at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver. Qualifications for attending the workshop are in the post below or on the original post here. While participation is free, space is limited – please check it out and share with your academic librarian friends!


Free Workshop for Academic Libraries this February!

We’re reaching out to encourage you to contact your academic library partners about this exciting opportunity for them to receive a free training workshop in the National Issues Forums model at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting in Denver.

Academic libraries are invited to attend “LTC: National Issues Forums Workshop for Academic Libraries,” which will be held on Friday, February 9, 2018, from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm.

The one-day pre-conference workshop at the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting will highlight the National Issues Forums approach to dialogue and deliberation. Participation in the workshop is free; however, space is limited and registration via this website is required.

NOTE: In order to qualify for the in-person workshop, librarians must view three 90-minute online learning sessions prior to the workshop and must claim a participation badge via Credly.com after each webinar. View the online sessions here and create a Credly account by following these instructions.

Please share this opportunity with your academic librarians and encourage them to both view the free webinars and apply to attend the workshop. Space is still available but it won’t last long!

About Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change

This workshop is offered as part of Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC): Models for Change, an initiative of the American Library Association (ALA) and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD). The initiative seeks to introduce libraries to various dialogue and deliberation approaches, enabling libraries to foster conversation and lead change in their communities. LTC: Models for Change Series 2 highlights dialogue and deliberation models most useful for academic libraries.

LTC: Models for Change is made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services grant RE-40-16-0137-16.

You can find the original version of this announcement on ALA’s LTC site at: www.apply.ala.org/LTCMidwinter.

Winner Announced for Leadership in Democracy Award

NCDD member org, Everyday Democracy recently announced the winner of the first ever Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award. Please join us in congratulating Generation Justice of Albuquerque, New Mexico’s premier youth media project focused on uplifting underrepresented voices through social justice and media. In addition to the other honorees, we’d like to congratulate the West Virginia Center for Civic Life led by NCDD board member, Betty Knighton, for being among the top finalists. We encourage you to read the announcement below or on Everyday Democracy’s blog here.


Generation Justice is Announced the Winner of the First Annual Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award

EvDem LogoFor more than 25 years, Everyday Democracy has worked with communities across the country to foster a healthy and vibrant democracy – characterized by strong relationships across divides, leadership development, including the voices of all people, and understanding and addressing structural racism.

This year, Everyday Democracy launched the Paul and Joyce Aicher Leadership in Democracy Award, and out of 80 nominations, Generation Justice, of Albuquerque, New Mexico was selected as the winner, and recipient of the $10,000 award to help further its mission and vision.

Generation Justice’s vision is to raise underrepresented voices, to heal from internalized wounds, to lift up narratives of hope and inspiration, and to build pathways to equity and leadership. Noted as New Mexico’s premiere, award-winning youth media project, Generation Justice was founded on social justice, decolonization, and media justice principles.  Generation Justice has a track record engaging with communities state-wide via KUNM radio broadcasts and the use of the internet to connect with individuals, schools and organizations. In addition to the high quality media that is produced, benefits of the broadband access work that Generation Justice does extends statewide, including to rural youth and families in New Mexico who pay the highest price for their lack of access.

“Generation Justice really understands how to engage young people,” said Everyday Democracy’s Executive Director Martha McCoy. “There is so much potential for the future of New Mexico because of their work.  This model should exist everywhere.”

“Generation Justice is what democracy looks, feels, and sounds like!” said Jaelyn deMaria of the University of New Mexico who nominated Generation Justice for this award.  She continues, “At their core is the sincere desire to present and give rise to a different type of narrative, one produced by those in the communities we come from.  Journalism schools teach a dominant culture lens and Generation Justice offers an alternative. Media influences beliefs, resulting in communities of color continuing to be represented in sensationalized and deceptive ways to a public that accepts those narratives as truth. This is the moment that youth of color and allies trained from a media justice lens are revolutionizing media to foster equity.”

In accepting the award, Roberta Rael, Founder and Director of Generation Justice said, “I’m so delighted that Generation Justice is receiving this recognition from Everyday Democracy, which has an amazing reputation and national reach.  The financial award is important, of course, but even beyond that, it is a deep honor to be seen and recognized for our work and approach to media justice.

“Our work looks at how media creates long term change – how structural racism has played a role in this issue – how the mainstream media is covering this issue – and, whose voices are not being heard.  We go out and get those voices and include them.

“This is one way dialogue and a racial equity lens is connected to everything we do,” she continued. “This award will assist in sustaining our mission, of empowering young people to harness the power of media, through a combination of developing their internal assets, and love for oneself and the community, using media as a powerful tool to both tell stories, capture stories, create dialogue and change the narrative.”

Families United for Education, of Albuquerque also attained honors as one of the four finalists for this award. Families United is a community/parent group noted for addressing discrimination and alienation of minorities and marginalized sectors of student population in the region. These two New Mexico organizations were honored along with Rapid City Community Conversations, Rapid City, South Dakota; Racial and Social Justice Program of the Delaware YWCA, Wilmington, Delaware.  Each of these organizations, is exemplary in the democracy-building work they are doing in their communities.  Additional Honorees were:  S. Nadia Hussain, of Bloomingdale, New Jersey; and the West Virginia Center for Civic Life. Two organizations were honored as Promising Practices: Speaking Down Barriers of Spartansburg South Carolina, and WOKE of Greyslake Illinois.
_________________________________________________________________________
Paul J. Aicher and his wife Joyce were known for their generosity and creative genius. A discussion course at Penn State helped Paul find his own voice in civic life early on, and sparked his lifelong interest in helping others find theirs. Paul founded the Topsfield Foundation and the Study Circles Resource Center, now called Everyday Democracy, in 1989.  The organization has now worked with more than 600 communities throughout the country, helping bring together diverse people to understand and make progress on difficult issues, incorporating lessons learned into discussion guides and other resources, and offering training and resources to help develop the field and practice of deliberative democracy.

You can read the original version of this announcement on Everyday Democracy’s blog at www.everyday-democracy.org/news/generation-justice-announced-winner-first-annual-paul-and-joyce-aicher-leadership-democracy.

MetroQuest Webinar on Public Engagement for LRTPs, 12/7

NCDD member org, MetroQuest will be hosting the webinar “Online Public Engagement for Long Range Transportation Planning (LRTP), co-sponsored by NCDD, IAP2, and the American Planning Association (APA). The webinar will be this coming Thurs, Dec 7th at 2pm Eastern/11am Pacific and we think it will be particularly interesting for those working with/for government agencies. Space is limited! So make sure you register ASAP to join the webinar. We encourage you to read MetroQuest’s announcement below or find the original here.


Mastering Online Public Engagement for LRTPs Webinar

If you looking for cost-effective ways to engage the public for Long Range Transportation Planning (LRTP) projects this webinar is for you.

Thursday, December 7
11 am Pacific | 12 pm Mountain | 1 pm Central | 2 pm Eastern

REGISTER NOW

Join Bob Brendal from the Missouri Department of Transportation and Maggie Doll from Burns & McDonnell as they speak about how they engaged over 7,700 people on their 2017 LRTP update.

Connecting with the public on long range planning is not easy. The issues are complex and the public is often preoccupied with short term issues. So what does it take to engage thousands of people across a broad demographic and collect meaningful input on preference and priorities? Find out December 7th.

This highly-visual webinar will showcase the Missouri Transportation Future case study along with proven best practices, research findings and practical tips to guide agencies towards the successful application of online community engagement for LRTP projects.

Attend this webinar to learn how to…

  • Engage more people from a broader demographic
  • Collect informed public input on complex LRTP topics
  • Employ cost-effective strategies for promoting online participation
  • Ensure that your LRTP results are actionable

Seating is limited – save your seat now!

Comments from previous participants…

“I’m going to make your next session required for our planning and public engagement staff.”
“The best presentation on outreach I’ve ever attended (and I’ve done outreach since 1993)”
“Really well-organized and digestible. Lots of good ideas on how to get citizens engaged.”

REGISTER NOW

You can find the original version of this announcement on the MetroQuest blog at www.metroquest.com/Mastering+Online+Public+Engagement+for+LRTPs+

Recap from the Nov. Tech Tuesday Featuring Gell

In case you missed it, we had another great Tech Tuesday event last week featuring NCDD member Loren Bendele, CEO and Founder of the new engagement platform, Gell! Joined by over 60 participants from our network, Loren walked us through how to use this online/mobile platform to help better facilitate civil discourse.

Gell was created to provide a platform which harnessed the wisdom of a larger group in order to discuss vital issues, with systems built-in place for the discussion to not degrade because of spam, personal attacks and/or insults. Loren showed us how to post discussion questions either publicly or within a private invited group, how to like or respond to submitted points of view, how to bring in expert opinions, and other interesting aspects of the platform. Many in our network have been working on bridging divides and so we understand the importance of a tool like Gell in an era of immense partisanship and societal divides.

If you were unable to join us on the call, never fear! We recorded the webinar which can be found on the archives page here. Access to the archives is a benefit of being an NCDD member, so make sure your membership is up-to-date (or click here to join).  We had an active chat discussion which raised some really interesting points, and you can check out the transcript of this chat by clicking here.

Tech_Tuesday_BadgeThanks again to Loren and everyone who participated and made this an engaging and educating call! We encourage you to check out this tool and get started on contributing to the discussions at www.gell.com.

To learn more about NCDD’s Tech Tuesday series and hear recordings of past calls, please visit www.ncdd.org/tech-tuesdays.

Don’t Miss Tech Tuesday with Gell, Tomorrow Nov. 14

In case you missed our original announcement, we wanted to remind everyone that we are hosting our next FREE Tech Tuesday, tomorrow November 14th from 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern/10:00-11:00am Pacific. We’re very excited to welcome Loren Bendele, Founder and CEO of Gell, a new mobile/web platform for civil discourse on important issues.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn about Gell – register today!

Gell is a free mobile/web platform that brings elected officials, parents, students, educators, administrators and concerned citizens together for civil discourse on issues that matter. Gell encourages, facilitates and moderates healthy discussions and debates. They then make it easy for users to find the top rated opinions for and against important issues and candidates, so the community can form its own opinions from a balanced and diverse set of facts and opinions. Columns of opposing views are displayed side-by-side, so users can quickly get a balanced viewpoint and formulate their own opinions. The community can flag inappropriate content (personal attacks, spam, off topic, etc.) for removal from the site. That way, the discussion stays focused on what matters most, while not being distracted by “noise” or irrelevant conversations.

Loren will walk participants through Gell and answer your questions about this new and exciting platform. Loren is a serial entrepreneur, and prior to Gell was the co-founder and CEO of Savings.com which he led from launch in 2007 through acquisition in 2012 by Cox Media Group and continued to run within Cox until 2015. Loren was also the founder of Favado, a grocery app that aggregates all the most popular sales and coupons for every major grocery store across the country.

Watch this video to learn more about Gell

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

Getting More Involved with Deliberative Democracy

Today’s election day and in addition to voting, NCDD Sponsor – the Jefferson Center – recently shared this piece written by Annie Pottorff to encourage people to further stretch their civic muscles and get involved with deliberative democracy. We recommend you check out this list they’ve compiled [complete with entertaining GIFs!] and find the ways that work for you to tap deeper into deliberative democracy. You can read the post below or find the original version on the Jefferson Center’s blog here.


10 Ways to Get Involved in Deliberative Democracy

Creating local change can be difficult, between finding the time, motivation, and opportunities to participate. For this week’s blog, we’ve put together a few simple ways you can become a civic leader in your own backyard (even from your own couch).

1. Listen to Community Members
Head over to your city’s website to see when the next community meeting is. For instance, here’s the calendar the City of Minneapolis publishes. You’ll likely hear grievances and suggestions from your fellow citizens, but these local gatherings may only attract a few vocal participants. While these meetings may be poorly attended, you’ll have the chance to directly introduce yourself to leaders and make your voice heard.

You can also actively listen for issues in your town while talking with your neighbors, teachers, and other community members on a daily basis. Some cities even have digital engagement interfaces where citizens can submit work requests, complaints, or suggestions to laws and ordinances. You can check out a few examples here.

2. Attend training sessions, webinars, and local events
If you want to learn more about engagement techniques, try searching for webinars and online training sessions. On October 4th, groups like the Participatory Budget Project and Healthy Democracy will share their success stories and tools you can use in your local community in a free webinar. Because it’s easy to get lost in the rabbit-hole of Google search results, using Twitter and Facebook to connect with engagement groups will likely fill up your feed with similar resources.

Shameless plug: the Jefferson Center is on TwitterInstagram, and Facebook. You can follow us, and the cool people we retweet and follow, for engagement opportunities.

3. Volunteer
It can be overwhelming to know where to start when you want to volunteer. Databases like VolunteerMatch and Create the Good can help connect you with the right groups for causes you care about. If you use Facebook, you can filter local event searches by selecting the “Causes” category. Or, you can work backwards, by searching for nonprofits in your area and reaching out to them directly to see if they could use any help.

4. Bring friends
For all of the above, you don’t have to go it alone. Invite your friends to come along, and you’ll likely be more motivated to show up. Plus, you can hold each other to it.

5. Write
This option can work from the safety of your own home or your favorite coffee shop. Write about issues affecting citizens in your community, and send your drafts out into the universe. Many organizations working on civic engagement and participation want to hear from the public, to guide their own efforts, see new perspectives, or work with you to publish what you’ve written. At the Jefferson Center, we’d love to hear your ideas for new stories.

6. Listen, read, or watch
While this one may seem like a cop-out, getting informed on issues is half the battle. Instead of tuning out, find your favorite way to keep updated. If you’re not a reader, check out podcasts like Democracy Now!, or find out which organizations have their own YouTube or Vimeo accounts. You can easily share this content with others to spread the message and increase familiarity with deliberative democracy.

7. Download FREE resources
If you’re thinking about creating an engagement project, or just want to learn more about different processes involved, look online for resources. For instance, Participatory Budgeting Project has training videos, materials, and guides that are free to download. After each of our projects, we publish our full reports and findings on our website.

8. Teach Others
You can also use free resources and reports to help teach others about how deliberative democracy works. Whether you talk with your friends, family, or host a formal community meeting, involving other people will help spur new ideas and pave the way for future projects.

9. Remember all your resources
If you’re trying to contact your local government representatives, local newspaper, or other organizations, don’t give up after one phone call. Using Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, sending emails, sending letters, and showing up to an office can help get your voice heard.

10. Partner with the Jefferson Center!
Sure, this last one may edge on self-promotion. But the Jefferson Center strives to shorten the gap between citizens and the institutions, policies, and issues that affect their daily lives by empowering citizens to solve shared challenges. Our process is made up of three key components: we listen to stakeholders in your community to gain a deeper understanding of the issue at hand. Then, we develop a specialized engagement process to unleash creative citizen ideas. Finally, our project partners use the public designed solutions to: advance actions in their local community, reform institutional practices and processes, and guide policy development and decision-making. For more information on our process, head over to our about us page.

Bonus: You can also make an individual donation! Every contribution makes a difference, helping everyday Americans develop and promote thoughtful solutions to challenging problems.

You can read the original version of the Jefferson Center’s piece on their blog at www.jefferson-center.org/10-ways-to-get-involved-in-deliberative-democracy/.

CGA Forums and Trainings Coming up in November

We wanted to let everyone know about several updates this month from NCDD member org, Kettering Foundation on their Common Ground for Action online forum. Throughout the month of November, Kettering will be holding several CGA opportunities using the recently released Opioid Epidemic issue advisory. Also available are two training events for those interested in learning to moderate CGA forums; a general one for those new to CGA and another tailored for K-12 and college educators. Register to join these online forums and trainings by clicking on the links in the announcement below. This announcement was from the October Kettering newsletter – sign up here to start receiving their newsletter.


Common Ground for Action Activities in November

As usual, there are several opportunities to participate in a deliberative forum from the comfort of your desk. Please register at the links below if you’d like to join, or, if you can’t make any of the dates yourself, please help us spread the word and reach new audiences by sharing the links via email or social media. All of this month’s forums will use the What Should We Do about the Opioid Epidemic? issue advisory.

Tuesday, Nov. 7 | 11a.m. EST | REGISTER

Wednesday, Nov. 15 | 5:30 p.m. EST | REGISTER

Monday, Nov. 20 | 5 p.m. EST | REGISTER

Thursday, Nov. 30 | 12 p.m. EST | REGISTER

There are also two upcoming moderator training sessions for those who want to learn to hold their own online forums. These online sessions are held in two-part sessions of two hours each. (Please plan to attend both parts of the workshop.)

CGA New Moderator Training
Wednesday, Nov. 15 | 5:30 p.m. EST
Thursday, Nov. 16 | 6 p.m. EST
REGISTER

CGA for K-12 & College Educators Moderator Training
Thursday, Nov. 30 | 12 p.m. EST
Friday, Dec. 1 | 12 p.m. EST
REGISTER

If you’ve been trained as a CGA moderator, but it’s been a while and you’d like a refresher (or you just have some questions), Kara Dillard will hold online “office hours” on November 3, 10, 17, and 27 at 11 a.m. EST. Just hop on this link to talk with her.

Announcing the November Tech Tuesday Featuring Gell

NCDD is excited to announce our next Tech Tuesday will feature the platform Gell. Join us for this FREE event Tuesday, November 14th from 1:00-2:00 PM Eastern/10:00-11:00am Pacific.

Gell is a free mobile/web platform that brings elected officials, parents, students, educators, administrators and concerned citizens together for civil discourse on issues that matter. Gell encourages, facilitates and moderates healthy discussions and debates. They then make it easy for users to find the top rated opinions for and against important issues and candidates, so the community can form its own opinions from a balanced and diverse set of facts and opinions. Columns of opposing views are displayed side-by-side, so users can quickly get a balanced viewpoint and formulate their own opinions. The community can flag inappropriate content (personal attacks, spam, off topic, etc.) for removal from the site. That way, the discussion stays focused on what matters most, while not being distracted by “noise” or irrelevant conversations.

Joining us for this call will be NCDD member Loren Bendele, founder and CEO of Gell. Loren is a serial entrepreneur, and prior to Gell was the co-founder and CEO of Savings.com which he led from launch in 2007 through acquisition in 2012 by Cox Media Group and continued to run within Cox until 2015. Loren was also the founder of Favado, a grocery app that aggregates all the most popular sales and coupons for every major grocery store across the country.  Loren will walk participants through Gell and answer your questions about this new and exciting platform.

Don’t miss out on this great opportunity to learn about Gell – register today!

Tech Tuesdays are a series of learning events from NCDD focused on technology for engagement. These 1-hour events are designed to help dialogue and deliberation practitioners get a better sense of the online engagement landscape and how they can take advantage of the myriad opportunities available to them. You do not have to be a member of NCDD to participate in our Tech Tuesday learning events.

Watch this video to learn more about Gell

Humanizing Technology

We wanted to share the article written by NCDD member Kaliya Young, about the opportunity the internet and technology provide for deepening connections and building strong communities. She mentions the need for investment in social and emotional technologies, and mentions NCDD as well as Member Tom Atlee and others as critical to this work. This is a good piece about the interaction of social, emotional, and technical “technologies” and what it will take for online technologies to be able to enhance our connections to one another and our communities. We welcome you to share your thoughts on this in the comments below. You can read Kaliya’s post below or find the original post from opendemocracy.net over here.


Humanizing technology

Can we use the internet to enhance deep human connection and support the emergence of thriving communities in which everyone’s needs are met and people’s lives are filled with joy and meaning?

That’s a very challenging question, and the answer isn’t just about technology, at least not in the conventional sense of that word. It’s not about any of the emerging trends that are already impacting our societies like bitcoin, dronesVirtual RealityAugmented Realityhyperloops or any of the things that the Singularity University thinks will converge.

It’s not just a matter of finding new technologies either, even if they are more user-centric or built on self-sovereign digital identities in place of corporate ownership and control—the field that forms my own techno-specialty. And the solutions can’t be driven by a government need to find a military advantage—which is the case for a vast range of everyday innovations today—as Manuel DeLanda outlines in his book, War in the Age of Intelligent Machines.

Our work on ‘technical’ technologies won’t generate broad human gains unless we invest an equal amount of time, energy and resources in the development of social and emotional technologies that drive how our whole society is organized and how we work together. I think we are actually on the cusp of having the tools, understanding and infrastructure to make that happen, without all our ideas and organizing being intermediated by giant corporations. But what does that mean in practice?

I think two things are absolutely vital.

First of all, how do we connect all the people and all the groups that want to align their goals in pursuit of social justice, deep democracy, and the development of new economies that share wealth and protect the environment? How are people supported to protect their own autonomy while also working with multiple other groups in processes of joint work and collective action?

One key element of the answer to that question is to generate a digital identity that is not under the control of a corporation, an organization or a government.

I have been co-leading the community surrounding the Internet Identity Workshop for the last 12 years. After many explorations of the techno-possibility landscape we have finally made some breakthroughs that will lay the foundations of a real internet-scale infrastructure to support what are called ‘user-centric’ or ‘self-sovereign’ identities.

This infrastructure consists of a network with two different types of nodes—people and organizations—with each individual being able to join lots of different groups. But regardless of how many groups they join, people will need a digital identity that is not owned by Twitter, Amazon, Apple, Google or Facebook. That’s the only way they will be able to control their own autonomous interactions on the internet. If open standards are not created for this critical piece of infrastructure then we will end up in a future where giant corporations control all of our identities. In many ways we are in this future now.

This is where something called ‘Shared Ledger Technology’ or SLT comes in—more commonly known as ‘blockchain’ or ‘distributed ledger technology.’  SLT represents a huge innovation in terms of databases that can be read by anyone and which are highly resistant to tampering—meaning that data cannot be erased or changed once entered. At the moment there’s a lot of work going on to design the encryption key management that’s necessary to support the creation and operation of these unique private channels of connection and communication between individuals and organizations. The Sovrin Foundationhas built an SLT specifically for digital identity key management, and has donated the code required to the HyperLedger Foundation under ‘project Indy.’

While this critical infrastructure is being birthed we need to think about how to leverage it for the world that we want to create—a world of interconnected humanness in place of centralized social networks controlled by profit-driven and publically-traded companies whose mission is to manipulate us into buying more stuff. These networks are selling access to us and limiting our ability to connect and organize independently. They have deals with companies like Cambridge Analytica and Palantir to suck up the digital exhaust of our lives, spy on us, and collectively manipulate us for their own ends.

As the basis of this next generation of user-centric or self-sovereign identities, Shared Ledger Technology is crucial if corporate control of the internet and our lives is to be reversed, but this  won’t be enough to humanize  technology, and that’s my second key point: social and emotional ‘technologies’ are also vital.

Social technologies are the tools we use to interact with each other in groups of any size, from the Parent Teachers Association (PTA) and other neighborhood organizations to national governments and international bodies. They are increasingly important in the shift that is taking place from an exclusive reliance on representative political processes and institutions to an expanded range of deeper and more deliberative forms of democracy. The social technology of voting for representatives was a breakthrough 300 years ago, but these systems are breaking down and are not serving us well enough today.

Emotional technologies are the tools we use to interact with ourselves internally and in our relationships with other people. They are more critical than ever because the mental health of everyone is now a key concern—since one lone individual can inflict enormous harm through high-tech weapons or by hacking into our core infrastructures. Such technologies are well known and include mediation and meditation practices of different kinds, yoga and mindfulnessNonviolent CommunicationCo-Counseling, and 12 Step processes like Alcoholics Anonymous.

Social technologies work a lot better if people have a range of these emotional tools and practices to draw on, because they are better able to manage themselves and interact with others. We want security and have been putting billions of dollars into the security-surveillance-industrial complex post 9/11, but what about the deeper issue of how we connect to each other and solve problems together? What are we doing to address everyone’s mental and emotional wellbeing to reduce alienation and disconnection?

How do you get people on vastly different sides of controversial issues to collaborate to solve what seem to be intractable problems? How do you structure inclusive deliberations that involve whole communities and build up social capital and connection? Individuals like Miki KashtanTom Atlee and Sharif Abdulah and groups like the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation have been working on these questions for many years but deserve much more investment and support. Without further innovations in these social and emotional technologies, no ‘technical’ technologies will save us.

To take a concrete example, my ‘sweet spot’ is in designing and facilitating interactive meetings for professional, scientific and technical communities in what are called ‘unconferences.’ I’ve been co-leading one of these unconferences—the Internet Identity Workshop—twice a year for over a decade, during which we’ve developed many innovations built on nurturing the emotional capacities  of the people involved and the social processes we’ve been using at our meetings.

They are organized primarily through Open Space Technology where the agenda is co-created live on the day of the event with all the participants. We throw in an hour of demonstrations on the second day after lunch and we eat dinner together every night. The patterns described in the Group Works Deck have been particularly useful—things like ‘Embracing Dissonance and Difference’ (meaning that anyone is welcome in the conversation); and openingand closing every day in a circle while diverging into as many as 15 different sessions every hour during the rest of the time we spend together—what in Open Space terms is called the rhythm of ‘Convergence and Divergence.’ Taken together these processes have been very successful in building a strongerGroup Culture.

I got excited by the possibilities of user-centric identity technologies over 15 years ago while part of the Planetwork Community, which came together to look at global ecology and information technology and think through how planetary challenges could be addressed more effectively. But through the process of co-leading efforts to build that infrastructure it became clear that we must also invest in the social and emotional technologies that make it possible to collaborate and work together at all scales.

All three forms of technology are essential to the transformation of our relationships to each other and our bigger social/societal systems. Technical technologies provide the tools that can empower individuals to connect and work together for their own wellbeing and that of their communities. Social technologies enable these tools to be used effectively and inclusively in processes of collective action. And emotional technologies support everyone’s mental health as a precondition for engaging in these processes with more chance of success.

To put it simply, technical technologies are easier to turn in the direction of democracy and social justice if they are developed and applied with social and emotional intelligence. Combining all three together is the key to using technology for liberating ends.

You can find the original version of this article written by Kaliya Young on the Transformation blog at www.opendemocracy.net/transformation/kaliya-identity-woman/humanizing-technology.

Common Ground for Action Opportunities in October

We wanted to share these upcoming opportunities with NCDD member org, Kettering Foundation to dive deeper into the Common Ground for Action online forums by either participating in a forum or learning how to host them. The CGA forums you can participate in are around issues of safety & justice, and immigration in America. There is also a new moderator workshop coming up as well. Register here to join these online forums ASAP!


October Common Ground for Action (CGA) events

CGA FORUM SERIES:
The CGA Forum Series is back this month talking about immigration reform and safety and justice.  Here’s the dates and times:

October 16th CGA Forum Series event: Immigration in America
Monday, October 16, 2017 at 5:00 PM EST

October 19th CGA Forum Series event: Safety & Justice
Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM EST

October 27th CGA Forum Series event: Safety & Justice
Friday, October 27, 2017 at 12:00PM EST

Want to moderate any of these forums? Email us and we’ll set you up!  If you can’t make these times, don’t worry. November’s CGA forum series will feature deliberation on the NIFI issue advisory “How Can We Stop Mass Shootings In Our Communities?”

MODERATOR TRAINING WORKSHOPS: 

Want to moderate a CGA forum in your community or for the Forum Series but need training? Register for the upcoming new moderator workshop:

October CGA New Moderator Workshop

Thursday, October 19, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT AND Friday, October 20, 2017 at 11:00 AM EDT

Join this workshop on how to moderate a Common Ground for Action (CGA) deliberative forum. This is a TWO DAY, TWO PART workshop. Part 1 is Thurs October 19th @ 11am EST/8am PDT; Part 2 is Fri October 20th @ 11am EST/8am PDT. Please plan to attend both parts of this workshop.

CGA OFFICE HOURS:

Have questions about CGA moderating or convening? Want to practice but need a live person to deliberate with? Starting this month, we will have CGA Office Hours where you can drop by and chat with either Amy or Kara about all things CGA. We’ll be online at http://join.me/KetteringFdnevery Friday from 11:30 AM- 12:30 PM EST. Stop by and say hello!

This announcement was from the October Kettering newsletter – sign up here to start receiving their newsletter.