Regarding "fear based" answers and comments in general, it seems that (especially with online software where we can assume some monitoring) one single question assessing "fear" can place ALL other comments in context while still permitting participants to provide politically correct answers. For example, I may be free to say that I like blue AND that afraid to answer otherwise. A "reliability" graph could give insights. If 100% of Iraq voted for Saddam, with what we know to be a reliability of 0, we place the numbers in context and rightly refuse to refer to those numbers as "information". 

Barry Landis


On Mon, Mar 17, 2014 at 8:02 PM, Sandy Heierbacher <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
Hi, folks. I spent much of Sunday working on a blog post (now published at http://ncdd.org/14448) that outlines how we tackled the theme “strengthening civic infrastructure” at the last NCDD conference.  Please check it out!

This conversation makes me think about one of our featured speakers at the conference, Pete Peterson of the Davenport Institute (now running for CA Secretary of State), who talked about how public engagement is indeed increasing in the U.S. (he shared some stats, and called this a “quiet revolution in local governance”). But the crux of his speech was focused on how public officials approach the task of engaging the public from a place of fear, and that practitioners need to understand that and approach them differently because of that.

Pete said "If you don’t get that one of the real problems that public sector officials have in engaging the public, is that they’re coming from a place of fear–based very legitimately on past bad experiences with engaging the public–we’re never going to move this field forward.”

You can watch Pete’s speech at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6nPtb5ix5S4&list=PLmGHmTRItjrcVxbq4gkuSpZzSVCDUtnrE&index=5

Worth watching - especially as fodder for this conversation!

Sandy Heierbacher
Director, National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation
[log in to unmask] • www.ncdd.org • @ncdd & @heierbacher



On Mar 17, 2014, at 6:59 PM, Roger Bernier <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

All,
 
Reading the recent posts by Joel Mills, Ron Thomas, Bill Potapchuk, Jean-Daniel Cusin, Terry Amsler, which reflect different assessments about the state of public engagement and whether or not it is alive and well, make me think we may never get agreement on that reality check. Perhaps everyone is destined to see things from their experience and not the bigger picture and thus we may never get an assessment of the whole.
 
A question I would ask is---Does it matter if we reach agreement about the state of our discipline or not? My assumption is that it does matter because if the patient is ailing, we need an accurate diagnosis so that we can seek to uncover the causes and potentially administer the right remedy OR if the patient is well and thriving, we need to continue doing and promoting all the activities that are contributing to its flourishing.
 
Perhaps we need to agree on what success looks like before we answer this question.
 
I propose that success be defined not as the level of engagement to the right of the IAP spectrum because that is asking too much, and not to the left of the IAP spectrum because that is asking too little and represents something that is already happening. The sweet spot in the spectrum is mid-point of the spectrum where decision makers or sponsors are regularly engaging the public actively and working with them to better inform pending public choices.
 
Is it important to know if we are hitting that sweet spot?
 
 
Roger Bernier
 
 



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