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NCDD-DISCUSSION  August 2007, Week 4

NCDD-DISCUSSION August 2007, Week 4

Subject:

Re: Infrastructure discussion

From:

Rosa Zubizarreta <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Rosa Zubizarreta <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Sat, 25 Aug 2007 13:12:39 -0400

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (103 lines)

Hi Landon, Bill, Ken, and others...

Landon, I very much appreciate your point about the creative possibilities
that can emerge from a commitment to listen deeply to the "minority voices",
even a "minority of one". I also share the concern that many of the
processes used in mainstream D&D practice overemphasize things like
"dot-voting", "theme selection', pre-selected alternative scenarios, etc.,
and that this over-reliance on logic and management can negatively impact
outcomes. 

I'd like to add a further point. It seems to me that there is a "blind spot"
currently in the D&D field, which has to do with the way in which 'dialogue'
and 'deliberation' are defined. It seems to me that what you described as
"consensus" tends to fall into the 'deliberation' category, which is also
the one associated with 'getting practical results'. In contrast, 'dialogue'
tends to be reserved for situations where "generating greater inter-group
understanding" is the goal, and it is generally not seen as being
particularly useful for situations where a practical outcome is needed --
except maybe in an "initial" phase.

It seems to me that we may need a third term for what you are pointing to --
processes that are creative, non-linear, and welcome the divergence of
listening deeply to every voice -- and yet lead to practical and thorough
results that include effective shared action. One possible term for this
third option could be "creative deliberation". Another might be "practical
dialogue". Or, you can call it whatever you want -- what's important to me,
is that there is a "something" here, that is too often overlooked.

I am not yet familiar with Ken's "Structured Dialogic Design", and therefore
don't know to what extent it would fit into this third category, but there
are a few other approaches that do fit the bill very well. One is Jim
Rough's Dynamic Facilitation, sometimes known as the "choice-creating
process". Another is Jeff Conklin's Dialogue Mapping. (More information
about these kinds of processes is available at the draft version of my
website at http://www.diapraxis.com/materials.html)

Bill, here is my scenario of some places in which this third approach could
be useful:

>         It is August 2007, Thunder City Mayor, Jane Daley, and her advisors
> agree that the Thunder City I-99 bridge needs to be rebuilt and it needs to be
> expanded from four to six lanes to deal with congestion and serve as a
> economic development tool.  Given the recent bridge collapse in Minnesota,
> this project now takes precedence over a half dozen competing projects in the
> city.  They also know that unless they develop an effective advocacy campaign,
> the bridge will never get funded to be rebuilt. An advocacy campaign that
> starts in 2007 means construction $$ will likely not flow until 2012, at the
> earliest.
>         Mayor Daley starts holding meetings with the business community to
> rally support for the bridge.  Her staff also drives an active media campaign
> to gain support.  Letters to the editor start piling in, pro and con.  Some
> raise the issues of relocating poor communities of color and oppose the
> bridge.  Neighborhood and civil rights groups start to organize.  Local
> pro-transit and smart growth groups start to organize, insisting that the
> bridge does not need to be expanded, transit options need to be expanded.
> During this time frame, Mayor Daley gets the Congressional delegation to
> support the bridge reconstruction.  They tell her that bridges are in because
> of the collapse and this should be easy to fund.
>         Thunder City Area Council of Governments starts to hold hearings on
> the regional transportation improvement plan, and the I99 bridge is a part of
> the discussion.  More pro and con at a variety of public meetings.

At this point, a proactive group of "third way" d&d practitioners organize a
Creative Insight Council. They bring together a microcosm of people from all
"sides" of the issue, with the facilitation support to engage in a creative
exploration together. The results of this council are disseminated widely,
to point out that the issue is more complex that simple "pro" or "con", and
that creative solutions ARE possible.

(For one example of this kind of facilitated microcosm, on a larger scale
with regard to a divisive national issue, see
http://www.co-intelligence.org/S-Canadaadvrsariesdream.html)


>         Fast forward to late 2008.  Mayor Daley wins.  The neighborhood,
> civil rights, pro-transit and smart growth groups all feel burned.  Some olive
> branches were extended to all of them . . . but the bridge is still planned to
> be built.  The Chamber, Board of Trade, and the economic development community
> declare victory.

The mayor may still win, in spite of the success of the creative insight
council in pointing to creative alternatives. But if so, my sense is that
the "olive branches" would be more substantial, as the level of the public
dialogue about the issues would be more sophisticated and beyond a simple
"pro" and "con".

"Third way" approaches could continue to be used at any point further
downstream in your scenario, though the applications would look different.
I'm focusing on the above intervention, as the earlier in the process you
are, the more potential leverage for fundamental change.

With all best wishes,

Rosa

**********

Rosa Zubizarreta, M.A.

Diapraxis: Facilitating Creative Collaboration
Organization Development  Community Engagement
Great Barrington, MA

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