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NCDD-DISCUSSION  November 2010, Week 2

NCDD-DISCUSSION November 2010, Week 2

Subject:

Tom Atlee intro + Public Engagement and Budget Crises

From:

Tom Atlee <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

Tom Atlee <[log in to unmask]>

Date:

Thu, 11 Nov 2010 08:21:08 -0800

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (50 lines)

I'm Tom Atlee, founder and research director of the Co-Intelligence Institute.  I've spent the last 20 years collecting, reflecting on, writing about, and promoting all forms of conversational practice and every other approach I can find to increasing the collective intelligence and wisdom of groups, networks, organizations, communities, and whole societies.

Among other things, this exploration has led me into visions of how democracy could be wiser (we sort of need that badly right now) and the ways in which conversations (and other things) help us consciously evolve our social systems, our cultures, our technologies, and our consciousness.  I wrote two books on these subjects -- THE TAO OF DEMOCRACY (2003) and REFLECTIONS ON EVOLUTIONARY ACTIVISM (2009).

I network people and ideas and resources together in these fields, and enjoy being an out-of-the-box thinking partner with people who are doing work that contributes to a more co-intelligent, consciously evolving, wisely democratic future.  Because this covers such vast territory, I tend to be juggling too many ideas, contacts, and possibilities at once. 

On a relevant personal note, I'm just beginning to get back into my work after the intense April-July health crisis and death of my partner of 24 years, which pulled me totally away from my work for more than six months.  I have a sense of starting over in most aspects of my life. 

But probably the most relevant perspective I have to offer at the Cascade regional NCDD gathering -- and perhaps for NCDD as a whole -- is the idea that public engagement has many dimensions, and that enhancing them all could ameliorate the budget crisis -- or even turn it into a positive development. 

Here are some of the roles I see and can see "public engagement" and "citizen participation" playing: 

*  giving input of data and opinion to policy makers
*  revitalizing a sense of meaningful citizenship
*  increasing community relationships and social capital
*  building community solidarity and spirit
*  co-creating collective visions, designs and plans
*  partnering with government in implementation
*  bringing community wisdom to policy-making
*  practicing more individual and collective self-governance
*  sharing, preserving, and co-creating community resources
*  generating networks of volunteerism and mutual aid
*  preparing for emergencies and increasing community resilience
      in the face of economic, environmental and social crises

Conversational (D&D) practices can play a profound and powerful role in any and all of the above functions.  Doing them well, however, requires a sense of what forms of conversation are most effective and appropriate for which functions in which circumstances with what resources.  

More often than not, one conversational event proves frustratingly inadequate for the challenge it was convened to address.  We need a combination of processes and/or an ongoing program of public conversations and/or an integration of public conversations with media, art, education, journalism, online forums and resources, and various other supports for collective intelligence and action.

Very often the way we specialize and market our D&D services results in compartmentalizing our thinking in ways that profoundly limits what is then possible.  I've wondered a lot about how our field / profession might transform ITSELF to play a more powerful role in addressing the increasing challenges (and opportunities!) showing up at all levels of society. 

This inquiry is extremely relevant in our organizational and community work, right on the ground "where the rubber meets the road".  And it shapes my interest in a larger visionary question:  "What is the proper and most powerful role of the D&D field in the evolution of civilization in the 21st century?"

I'd love to connect with anyone on any of these issues.

RESOURCES

Expanding "public participation" in hard times
http://co-intelligence.org/PublicParticipationExpand.html

Community Resources from the Co-Intelligence Institute
http://co-intelligence.org/CommunityResourcesCII.html
(includes extensive materials on multi-process programs)

I also want to call your attention to Peggy Holman's two books THE CHANGE HANDBOOK and ENGAGING EMERGENCE, and Tree Bressen's project to develop a pattern language for group process
http://grouppatternlanguage.org -- both of which I see as powerful evolutionary vectors within our field

---

NCDD's discussion and announcement lists are generously provided by L-Soft ( www.lsoft.com ) and are powered by L-Soft's LISTSERV mailing list management software ( www.lsoft.com/LISTSERV-powered.html ).  Learn more about NCDD's email lists in the community section of the NCDD website ( www.thataway.org/community/lists/ ).  Please read this mailing list's rules ( www.thataway.org/community/listrules ) before you post.

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