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.

Join Kettering’s “A Public Voice” Event on Safety & Justice

In case you haven’t heard about it already, we want to encourage all of you in the NCDD network to mark your calendars for A Public Voice 2017 (APV) on Tuesday, May 9th from 1:30-3pm Eastern.

APV 2017 is the annual event hosted by NCDD member organizations the Kettering Foundation and the National Issues Forums Institute that brings together Congressional and agency staffers in Washington DC for a working meeting on the results of the deliberative forums that KF and NIFI have hosted across the nation on pressing public policy issues.

This year’s APV forum will focus on what was learned about the public’s feelings on community-police relations during the Safety & Justice forums held this year in communities across the country. And KF and NIFI will be livestreaming the Washington event via Facebook Live, so you are invited to particiapte by sending your comments on social media directly into the program.

Here’s how they describe the event:

At this year’s A Public Voice event in Washington, we’re trying something new. We will introduce congressional staffers to NIF forum convenors from their districts, and those convenors will explain the most unique and transformational moments from the deliberative forums in their communities. Our aim is to illustrate the unique value of these forums and the breadth of the network.

Which means, WE NEED YOU. Put May 9 from 1:30 to 3:00 pm on your calendar, because we’ll be livestreaming the Washington event via Facebook Live.

We encourage our network to join the APV event on Facebook to get updates as the event nears and share about it with your networks. You can learn more about A Public Voice 2017 by visiting www.apublicvoice.org and checking out NIFI’s Safety & Justice deliberative forum discussion guide here.

PB Network to Host Study Session on Deliberation & Voting

The Participatory Budgeting Project team recently launched the exciting PB Network – a learning and collaboration infrastructure for cities and institutions using participatory budgeting – which is hosting periodic “study sessions” online, and the NCDD network is invited! Their next study session will be a webinar focused on citizens juries and deliberative methods of decision-making this Wednesday, March 22. We encourage you to learn more in the PBP announcement below or sign up here.


Upcoming PB Network Event

We’d like to invite you to the PB Network’s next PBP Study Session on Wednesday, March 22nd!

One of the ideas behind participatory budgeting is that we need to get beyond the simple yes/no votes we’re usually presented with at ballot boxes. Choosing between 2 options doesn’t capture the breadth and subtlety of the needs that many communities face. Deliberation and new voting techniques can help get better decisions that benefit broader groups of people.

The study session will feature Kyle Bozentko of the Jefferson Center, who will share some lessons from “citizen juries“, which take a randomly selected and balanced group of citizens to deliberate and make informed and thoughtful recommendations about a public issue. We’ll also learn from Ashish Goel of Stanford’s Crowdsourced Democracy Team, who works on collaborative decision-making, including developing innovative ballot platforms for participatory budgeting in many cities across the US.

Join us for a discussion on new innovations in participatory decision-making with broad sets of stakeholders.

The webinar will be:
Wednesday, March 22nd
1pm EST/10am PST
Click here to register and receive the webinar info

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!

Growing Civic Infrastructure with D&D-Library Collaborations

As we announced early this year, NCDD is partnering over the next two years with the American Library Association on the Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project, during which we will be helping introduce libraries and their staff to various models of D&D work and training them to use our field’s tools to support the communities they serve. It’s an exciting collaboration that we think will yield potentially transformative results.

To kick-start the project, our Managing Director Courtney Breese and ALA presented a webinar last week introducing NCDD’s work and the LTC collaboration to over 400 librarians and library staff from across the country. We were blown away by the level of participation, and are looking forward to seeing the project grow even further beyond this amazing start!

During the webinar, Courtney shared about our NCDD partner organizations, the models we’ll be training on, the NCDD engagement streams framework, and featured examples of libraries and communities using these models for engagement. Participating librarians expressed excitement for learning techniques that can benefit the libraries and the communities they serve, and they are eager to engage with the NCDD community more broadly as well.

The Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change project is a follow-up to the ALA’s Libraries Transforming Communities: Turning Outward project which introduced the Harwood Institute – an NCDD member organization – and their Turning Outward approach to libraries. Libraries have been using the Turning Outward approach over the past several years to engage their communities and identify the needs of their community.

NCDD is especially excited about this collaboration with ALA because we believe it will produce possibilities for members of our network to partner in concrete ways with libraries over the long-term. But we know that some of our members already collaborate with libraries, and we’d love to hear about how!

If you collaborate with local libraries in your D&D work or have collaborated with them in the past, tell us about it! Please share a bit in the comments section below about what your partnerships have looked like, what sort of you’ve done, or how you hope to work with libraries in the future. 

We know there are mountains of potential in building library-D&D collaborations as part of our nation’s civic infrastructure, and we can’t wait to see and catalyze more!

Bridging Our Divides with NCL’s All-America Conversations

NCDD members might want to check out the All-America Conversations initiative being hosted by the National Civic League, an NCDD member organization. NCL is encouraging communities across the country to host short, public conversations focused on questions of how we can begin #BridgingOurDivides, showing that our country can still work together. They are providing a toolkit and webinar training series to help conversation hosts plan and convene these events, and we encourage practitioners in our network to consider hosting one yourself. You can learn more in the NCL announcement below or by learning more here.


All-American Conversations: Bridging Divides. Building Community.

National Civic League is launching All-America Conversations to demonstrate that locally, we are still able to work together across dividing lines to create stronger, more equitable communities.

Communities that host All-America Conversations will:

  • Better understand residents’ aspirations for the community
  • Learn how residents talk about and see community challenges and divisions
  • Gain clear insight into what small actions would give people confidence that we can work together across dividing lines
  • Help residents engage with one another in a productive conversation
  • Demonstrate a commitment to inclusive engagement

All-America Conversations are designed to help cities and other groups understand residents’ aspirations for the community, the divisions facing the community and, most importantly, the small, specific actions that give people a sense of confidence that we can work across dividing lines.

The format/template for All-America Conversations is flexible and scalable. Some communities will decide to focus on engaging underrepresented residents about their specific concerns and perspectives. Others will hold conversations designed to bring together people on different sides a specific divide to talk with one another and explore shared values. Some communities will use these questions and conversations as part of a large public meeting with breakout conversations.

Conversation Resources and Support

All-America Conversation Toolkit

Everything necessary to hold a productive and meaningful conversation – just add residents.

The toolkit walks you through:

  • How to identify whom you want to engage and how to recruit participants
  • Where to hold the conversations
  • How to set up the room
  • Selecting and preparing facilitators and note takers
  • What questions to ask
  • How to adapt the conversation guide to different types of meetings

The kit also includes a tips for facilitators and note takers, a note taking tool, ground rules, a sign-in sheet, sample recruitment letter, sample email to engage the media around these conversations.

Download the Toolkit and other resources

Support and Coaching Calls

NCL is hosting a series of 1-hour conference calls to provide support for communities or organizations hosting All-America Conversations. Calls will include a brief overview of the purpose and potential of these conversations and available resources. The main focus is providing local communities with the support, coaching and guidance necessary to make the conversations work for them. So, each call will include dedicated time for support and coaching from NCL experts to help you adjust the conversations to fit with existing efforts, your local context, staff resources and community needs.

You can watch the Jan. 31st, 2017 toolkit webinar here:

You can find the original version of this National Civic League announcement at www.nationalcivicleague.org/all-america-conversations

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!

NCDD Podcast Episode 3: Opportunities for D&D in Congress is Now Live

Yesterday a new Congress was sworn in, including many newly elected members, eager to get to work. In light of this new year and the new opportunities and challenges it presents, we are releasing our next podcast episode which focuses on the possibilities for connecting Congress men and women with dialogue and deliberation for better constituent engagement.

You can find this, our third episode, on iTunes, SoundCloud and Google Play!

In this episode, I, Courtney Breese, NCDD’s Managing Director, speak with Brad Fitch of the Congressional Management Foundation. The Foundation works with Members of Congress and staff to enhance their operations and interactions with constituents. Brad and I discussed the work of the Foundation, as well as his reflections from NCDD 2016 and the possibilities he sees for bringing dialogue and deliberation practices to Members of Congress. It’s an enlightening conversation and good food for thought for this field as we consider efforts to bridge divides in our nation.

This first series of episodes in the NCDD Podcast were recorded at the NCDD 2016 Conference, where we asked leaders and practitioners from the D&D field to share their stories and ideas, as well as discuss opportunities and challenges in our audio room. These episodes are being released as we continue our conversation from the conference about #BridgingOurDivides.

We invite you to listen to this episode and share your thoughts here, particularly about the opportunities and challenges for incorporating dialogue and deliberation into constituent engagement: What opportunities do you see for dialogue and deliberation practices to be used by Congress men and women in engaging those they represent? How might we overcome some of the challenges, particularly the systemic challenges outlined in the podcast? We look forward to your ideas!

Again, our thanks to Ryan Spenser for recording and editing these podcast episodes, to Barb Simonetti for her financial support of this initial series, and to everyone who participated in the episode recording sessions at the conference!

Please continue to tune in and share the podcast with your networks!

NCDD Launches D&D Training Partnership with Am. Library Association

As we begin the new year, NCDD is excited to announce we are launching a two-year partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) that will train library staff across the country to use methods and processes from the dialogue and deliberation field to support their communities. Our Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change partnership will take the form of both online and in-person trainings that we hope will help strengthen the capacity for libraries to serve not only as places of learning and research, but also as hubs for dialogue, engagement, and healing our divides.Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change

We see this partnership as a chance to broaden the reach and the impact of our field’s work, as well as an opportunity to create new audiences and collaborative potentials for D&D practitioners in the future. We’ll be sharing more info on the partnership soon, but for now, we encourage you to read more about the upcoming trainings in the ALA announcement below or to find the original here.


Facing a Divided Nation, ALA Offers Free Training for Libraries

The ALA Public Programs Office and the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation (NCDD) invite library professionals to attend a free learning series to explore various dialogue facilitation approaches and position themselves to foster conversation and lead change in their communities.

“As our nation becomes increasingly divided, ALA sees tremendous opportunity for libraries to be a leading force for reconciliation, progress, and common ground,” said ALA President Julie Todaro. “We are proud to make community engagement resources available to all libraries, free of charge, through this initiative.”

Through Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change, a two-year project, ALA and NCDD will produce ten webinars and three in-person workshops. Change-making leaders, such as Everyday Democracy, National Issues Forum, and World Café, will develop and lead the trainings, which will be customized to meet the needs of various library types and sizes: large public library systems; small, medium-sized, and rural public libraries; and academic libraries.

First four sessions announced

Registration is currently open for four learning sessions.

Representatives of public libraries serving large or urban communities are invited to attend the following three-part series:

Each session will be recorded and archived for free on-demand viewing on the Programming Librarian Learning page.

Individuals who view all three webinars, live or recorded, will be invited to attend a free pre-conference workshop at the 2017 ALA Annual Conference in Chicago.

Future sessions for academic libraries and small, mid-sized, and rural public libraries

Future learning sessions will be designed for academic libraries (Fall 2017) and small, mid-sized and rural public libraries (Spring 2018). Details for future sessions will be announced in 2017. To stay informed about future offerings, sign up for the Programming Librarian e-newsletter.

Libraries Transforming Communities: Models for Change follows up on Libraries Transforming Communities (LTC), a two-year initiative offered in 2014-15 by ALA and the Harwood Institute for Public Innovation that explored and developed the Harwood Institute’s “Turning Outward” approach in public libraries.

With this second phase of LTC, ALA will broaden its focus on library-led community engagement by offering professional development training in community engagement and dialogue facilitation models created by change-making leaders such as Everyday Democracy and National Issues Forums.

LTC: Models for Change is made possible through a grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Program.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the ALA’s Programming Librarian site at www.programminglibrarian.org/articles/facing-divided-nation-ala-offers-free-training-libraries.