Moderating Deliberative Forums – An Introduction [NIFI]

This 26-slide powerpoint, Moderating Deliberative Forums – An Introduction, was released from National Issues ForumInstitute (NIFI) in February 2016. The powerpoint explains the basics of deliberation, the roles of a moderator, and other gems of advice for running a National Issues Forums. Below you can a little more from NIFI of what the power point contains and a link to the powerpoint, or find it directly on NIFI’s main site here.

From National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI)

A new informative PowerPoint presentation is available to view or download, and to modify for your own use. The presentation covers a range of topics related to convening and moderating National Issues Forums (NIF), including: What are the main goals of an NIF forum? What kinds of questions do moderators use to encourage deliberation? This PowerPoint presentation introduces the basics and can be adapted by local forum organizers to match their own needs and goals.

Download the powerpoint for free here.

About National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI)
NIF-Logo2014Based in Dayton, Ohio, the National Issues Forums Institute (NIFI), is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that serves to promote public deliberation and coordinate the activities of the National Issues Forums network. Its activities include publishing the issue guides and other materials used by local forum groups, encouraging collaboration among forum sponsors, and sharing information about current activities in the network.

Follow on Twitter: @NIForums.

Resource Link:

Airesis – Open Source E-democracy Social Network

Airesis is a free, web-based, open source E-democracy platform, structured as a social network and designed to maximize the collective intelligence of group deliberation. It is the result of 5 years of development, testing and pilot experimentation, organized and done by an Italian Association – Tecnologie Democratiche, which included the collaboration of more than 50 people.

Airesis is the outcome of the fusion of two projects: Agorà 2.0 and DemocracyOnline, that came together in the association, Tecnologie Democratiche, with one of its main goals being the development of an innovative, open-source, e-democracy software. The goal of the team, made entirely of volunteers, is to give citizens and groups a software platform that allows them to cope with most of the problems of our society, by allowing the creation, discussion and voting on proposals in a transparent, democratic, constructive and participative way; allowing the collective intelligence to emerge.

From Airesis

Airesis is a free software platform, built by a team of Italian developers and contributors, to enable communities and groups to organize themselves in a productive manner according to the principles of direct democracy and participation.

To achieve this goal, the application has been designed as a multifunctional system, which integrates all the tools that can help the development of a community, in particular “social” and deliberative tools.

Among social tools, Airesis offers blogs and a system of promotion of events and meetings with adjoining scheduling. Among deliberative tools it includes areas for the collection and deliberation of proposals and initiatives, and a voting system aimed to the election of candidates. The platform also allows you to create groups with access regulations policies and customizable permissions. Since the goal of Airesis is to stimulate participation, great attention has been spent in order to maximize the intuitiveness of the whole platform. The development philosophy is focused on continuous improvement, a kind of evolutionary process based on users feedback. The development team is available to meet the needs of the communities which want to use the software according to the spirit of direct democracy.

TecnologieDemocraticheMore about Tecnologie Democratiche
In the political arena and by the citizen, the Internet is increasingly perceived as potential instrument for the democratic participation; however, few and undeveloped are the web platforms conceived to help parties and political movement to involve citizens in the preparation of programs and policy proposals. The association “Tecnologie Democratiche” (“Democratic Technologies” ndr.) was created to satisfy this need, providing an enhanced tool to exploit the “collective intelligence”, the skills and experiences of citizens, their creativity, their critical spirit, while ensuring at the same time democratic values in the various stages of the elaboration of a policy proposal. Follow Technologie Democratiche on Twitter: @TDemocratiche

Learn more about the Airesis team here. Follow Airesis on Twitter: @democracyo

Resource Link:

This resource was submitted by Jacopo Tolja, the Internationalisation Team Leader at Associazione Tecnologie Democratiche via the Add-a-Resource form.

Read the Room for Real

Read the Room for Real: How a Simple Technology Creates Better Meetings (2015) by David Campt and Matthew Freeman is a 200-page book intended for facilitators, presenters, conference planners, or anyone who is curious about how to use increasingly accessible audience polling technology to improve meetings.

Read the RoomCampt and Freeman have a deep background in facilitating dialogues about difficult diversity issues and as well as refining dialogic processes on all matter of topics for very small to very large groups of people.

From the DWC Group…

Read the Room for Real answers these questions:

  • In my speeches and trainings, how can I make sure my my audience is with me?
  • In my conferences, how can I make sure the attendees feel connected to each other?
  • In my workshops, how can make sure that the group is using all of is brainpower?
  • In the meetings I pay for, how can I make sure that my organization gets information it can use, not just a big bill for an experience that participants may or may not not remember?

After reading, you will be able to use the newly accessible technology that can transform meeting audiences into participants. Knowing how to leverage the new interactivity will give you a competitive advantage over peers who are slow to apply the worldwide trend for greater participant voice and interactivity so every meetings merits praise.

Purchase it on Amazon here.

About David Campt
Dr. Campt currently provides consultation about race relations and diversity issues with United States congressional representatives, the foundation community, and national community organizations. In addition to his work as a program evaluator and trainer, Dr. Campt also has extensive experience as a designer of large-scale community engagements, dialogue facilitator and university lecturer. His first book, The Little Book of Dialogue for Difficult Subjects (2007), provides practical guidance about how individuals and organizations could use skills of dialogue to better solve shared problems.

Follow on Twitter: @thedialogueguy

About Matthew Freeman
Matthew is a facilitator and trainer with over 10 years experience working on race and diversity issues, civic engagement, and organizational development. He is the President of TMI Consulting, based in Richmond, Virginia. He has pioneered the use of cutting-edge audience response technology to make group conversations more productive and participatory. Matthew has published numerous articles on the subject, including “Using Keypad Polling to Make Meetings More Productive, Educational, and Participatory” in the National Civic Review.

Follow on Twitter: @rvamf

Resource Link:

Common Ground for Action

Common Ground for Action is an online platform for deliberation sponsored by the Kettering Foundation starting in 2013, who partnered with Conteneo, a creator of serious decision-making games, to co-develop the forum. Kettering and Conteneo collaborated from scratch to create a unique online forum that engaged participants and produced an authentic deliberation space, which was then tested through the National Issues Forums (NIF) network.

NIFI_Common GroundFrom NIFI…

Common Ground for Action forums are the online version of traditional in-person National Issues Forums. Common Ground for Action is a simple but sophisticated platform that runs in any browser—no technical mumbo jumbo!

In CGA, small groups are able to learn more about the tensions in an issue, examine options for dealing with the problem, weigh tradeoffs, and find common ground just like in in-person National Issues Forums, but with visuals that let you actually see the shape of your conversation as it evolves.

From Kettering…

The online forum has five basic areas:

1. Lobby: Participants get introduced to the platform, other participants, moderator
2. Forum Home: Participants get introduced to the issue, other participants’ personal stakes
3. Baseline: Participants register a personal baseline with regard to the actions
4. Examination of Options: for each option, participants do:
* a personal sense-making and evaluation of the actions and tradeoffs within an option
* then discuss the option similarly to an in-person forum
5. Common Ground Reflection: Participants reflect upon common ground from across the options and see the difference their deliberation has made.

Check out this short video about how to participate in Common Ground for Action here.

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

More about the National Issues Forums Institute
The institute’s central activity is to publish and distribute an ongoing series of Issue Guides and videos that prepare you for thoughtful discussion of many of today’s thorniest problems. Moderators and conveners find our resources indispensable in organizing, leading and advertising their forums for public deliberation. We also provide guidelines for those who wish to frame their own issues. To keep the network and policymakers current, we publish reports about forum lesson plans, activities, and outcomes so groups can learn from one another. Follow on Twitter: @NIForums.

More about Conteneo
Our team of scientists, academics and practitioners use the science of serious games to unlock  engagement for our clients. Rooted in a range of disciplines (from cognitive science and evolutionary psychology to game theory), our proprietary software and services enable leading organizations to quickly and easily adapt to market and operational changes–on any scale. Follow on Twitter: @ConteneoInc

Resource Link:


Codigital’s cloud-based tool is used by facilitators and conference organizers to engage communities and stakeholders in a simple, participant-driven process that generates ideas, insight, consensus and solutions to the issue under discussion. The tool is used in live face-to-face situations and also in 1-2 week online projects such as gaining input from attendees when planning a conference.

codigital_logoCodigital’s tool incorporates features that (i) enable people to cross-fertilize their ideas so as to benefit from the different perspectives of the group’s members, (ii) avoid individual bias, (iii) establish the collective view of the group, and (iv) generate a concise summary of the top ideas and themes in real time.

Codigital’s tool works with groups from 10+ to many thousands. This scalability, coupled with the tool’s concise pdf report generation, makes it an effective solution when seeking creative input from entire communities or large groups at conferences.

Codigital’s clients include state governments, municipalities, large and small corporations, and individual consultants such as facilitators and conference organizers.

Codigital offers educational and non-profit discounts, and entry-level price plans that make Codigital affordable for single projects or events. Codigital’s plans include consulting and training around when to use its tool and best practice, and also includes full project administration (self-serve is also available).

Codigital’s tool was originally developed to help break down the silos prevalent in many corporate environments, and thereby to enable more and better balanced input to be gathered in order to improve decision-making. The tool combines evolutionary principles and algorithms, and gamification, in a way that establishes the collective intelligence of diverse groups in an engaging manner.

NCDD carried out an experiment with Codigital’s tool in March 2014 when it asked its members: What would you like to see happen when our field comes together at NCDD 2014? You can read Sandy’s blog post about the project and see Codigital’s project report.

Resource Link:

This resource was submitted by James Carr, co-founder of Codigital via the Add-a-Resource form. Please contact James ( or +1 303 884 1260) if you’d like to learn more about Codigital or arrange a webex demo.