Changing communities, difficult discussions

How D&D Can Help Communities Adapt to Rapid Change Since the 1960s, the US Department of Justice has provided peacekeeping services via its Community Relations Service (CRS) for community conflicts … Continue Reading


Facilitating Introverts: Eliciting the Gifts of the Quiet Ones

“Stop the madness for constant group work. Just stop it!” pleads Susan Cain, author of Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking. Group work, she … Continue Reading


Engaging on the Edges: Creative Street and Online Engagement

Face-to-face events like public meetings and consultations are, with good reason, at the heart of much public engagement. They provide a dedicated block of time and a common space to … Continue Reading


Harvesting the Fruits of Group Conversations

Methods, Tools, and Resources for Harvesting The articles on this blog primarily focus on civic engagement and democracy. Although I rarely write about it, I also design and facilitate meetings … Continue Reading


The Revolution is Being Protested

Occupy Targets Participatory Budgeting in Chicago My first thought was “how clever of the conference organizers to welcome us with street theater”.  At the entrance to the Second North American … Continue Reading


Transforming a Community with Sustained Dialogue

The Story of Aurora Community Study Circles. Last week a small but dedicated group of Chicago area dialogue & deliberation (D&D) practitioners traveled through a heavy snow storm to Aurora, … Continue Reading


Americans envision a civic infrastructure for public dialogue and deliberation

Over a long and rainy weekend in Seattle, I joined members of the US-based National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) in a trendy downtown eco hotel for their semi-annual … Continue Reading


North-Westward ho! Oregon embeds public participation in lawmaking

The eyes of the American public participation community are riveted on the Pacific Northwest state of Oregon. It recently became the first American state to institutionalise a citizens jury-style process … Continue Reading


Cutting the national debt with avatars

While sensible people watched Ghana defeat America in the World Cup, I wandered into the parallel online universe that is Second Life (SL) to join Americans in confronting their national … Continue Reading


Making room for unexpected voices

Since surveys alone cannot provide a complete or nuanced view of public opinion, they are best preceded or complemented by qualitative research. Samples are small and not necessarily random. So, … Continue Reading