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The NCDD2006 Conference Blog Archive, Part 1

From early July 2006 through the conference, NCDD -- with the wonderful assistance of Loretta Donovan, Beth Kanter and Chris Heuer -- ran a blog to share information about our event. It was an experiment -- our first attempt at using web technology to interact with participants of one of our events. Below you'll find an archive of (most of) this tool, separated across three pages (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3).

44 Workshops. 3 Days. How did you all decide?    

Posted by Katie Howard on August 7, 2006.

The NCDD Conference was blessed with an embarrassment of riches in terms of the workshops that were offered. The conference had 44 workshops offered (11 during each of 4 time slots) which were generously presented by more than 80 of our participants.

If you attended a great session, please post a comment and share some of the insights you experienced in the session. If you missed a session, make sure to take a look at the photos in my flickr stream -- I photographed all of the graphic templates that were completed at the conference.

These templates were designed by Christine Valenza, and were used to identify insights that emerged from the workshop session and possible next steps for the field.

I'll post the entire list of sessions shortly.

From the Reflective Panel on Saturday Morning    

Posted by Beth Kanter on August 6, 2006.

The peformers culled and captured themes out of yesterday's workshops. Many people wrote on post-it notes and they sat around last night to deliver the themes to this session in the form of a script. It was performed on stage and a mindmap was created by Nancy M.

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A Snippet of Spoken Word from NCDD Reflective Panel on Saturday    

Posted by Beth Kanter on August 6, 2006.

View the video here!

Open Space - An Outstanding Place    

Posted by Loretta Donovan on August 5, 2006.

What do you say as you end an hour and a half of wonderful, engaging conversation on dozens of compelling topics?  A few comments from those who came to the Open Space:

As new people came in, to what degree do you bring them up to date?
Open Space is the juiciest part of every conference.
Would NCDD allow a full day of OS instead of some of the workshops?
Be Prepared to Be Surprised - I had a fantastic conversation unrelated to the posted topics.
Folks had been suggesting I meet several people.  When I entered the space I chose, there they were!
The Law of Two Feet kept me from my own conversation.
I thought no one would be interested in my topic . . . and 14 people came up to discuss race relations.
I am digging Open Space!
What would it be like to empower the facilitators of dialogue to take on speaking for themselves, and to invite our peers to reframe their comments in more open and inclusive language.
I feel like a have a whole group of friends I didn't have before.  I am local. Don't go to Fisherman's Wharf - the food sucks.
Setting the rooms up with extra chairs that are available for people to come and go would be inviting.
I became so engrossed in a first round session I entered, that I didn't go to the second session where I had an agenda and issue to pursue.
I got a lot more than I needed and expected in a session on spirituality.
I love that Open Space, Quaker Meetings and Wikis . . . communicates that we trust you.  That turns out to be a barrier since so many of our systems are designed for the least of us, as a means to protect us and prevent us from doing bad things.
People have been really nice.

And when it's over it's over.

Open Space Part 1: MomsRising    

Posted by Beth Kanter on August 5, 2006.

Maybe it is because I've been on the road for a number of days and away from my children, but I felt drawn to sit in on the Open Space meeting called by Joan Blades on MomsRising. Some notes are in flickr here.

This is a sample post!    

Posted by Beth Kanter on August 5, 2006.

This is from Kaliya's workshop and we are demonstrating how to post to a blog!

NCDD Hallway Interview - Educational Perspective    

Posted by Chris on August 5, 2006.

After the Saturday morning session, I interviewed a few of our friends from the educational world speaking with one another in the hallway. This is just a short 3.5 minute interview about what is going on with our educational institutions around dialogue, and what participants are noticing about the conference.

Download as MP3 (1.6MB)
or listen right here

New Orleans Resilience and SynCon    

Posted by Chris on August 5, 2006.

Friday afternoon's session was very reassuring for me personally as I am very concerned about the future of this great American City - now I have a much greater sense of hope after meeting Julianna Padgett, Patricia A. Wilson, and John Zwerver. (Download Julianna's presentation here) Given the current complexity of the situation there and the need for bringing together all the different voices, it seems the SynCon process (link to book by Barbara Marx Hubbard) is one that will go a long way towards enabling everyone to come together in an open dialogue around what matters most to each individual. What is most important about this process from my perspective is the bias towards action and the accomodation of conflict resolution as part of the process.

3 months ago during JazzFest we held a BrainJams event in New Orleans to connect small businesses with an understanding of Web 2.0 technology. It was a small but powerful event, and our work down there continues thanks to the support of great locals like Chris Schultz, Blake Killian and Jeff Harris. Together we have adopted the Sclafani Cooking School as a pro-bono 'client' for the purpose of updating their Web site and modernizing their Web communications strategy. If you have any interest in volunteering some time to help other small businesses and non-profits down in New Orleans, please reach out and say hello.

As is the case with the BrainJams events I organize, SynCon encourages ad-hoc collaboration. They are very eloquent in explaining their deeply considered methodology and I think this is a very powerful process that I hope to learn more about over the weeks ahead. We hope that BrainJams may be able to help them leverage social media and Web 2.0 technology to further amplify their conversations and enable broader participation from the dispersed members of the New Orleans community.

If you also share a love for everything that is New Orleans, I encourage you to not only get down there and visit soon, but to reach out to the Global Facilitators Service Corps and get involved in their very worthwhile efforts.

PS - You can download the MindMap of notes I took during the discussion in PDF format
PPS - The photo is one of several I took while visiting the LakeView district in early May of 2006, 8.5 months after Katrina. This house was right across the street from the 17th Street Canal Breach. Most of the tourist areas are much closer to being back to 'normal' but many neighborhoods like this one have barely begun to recover.

Saturday Morning Reflective Panel: Part 1    

Posted by Beth Kanter on August 5, 2006.

LIVE BLOGGING DISCLAIMER … will be cleaned up later today ….


An opportunity to hear from five leaders in the dialogue and deliberation community, and to see them engage in dialogue with one another around trends in the field and trends in the world that are or will impact the field.

Spoken word is an artform that allows different poets to come together around do poetry around social justice.
Drew Dellinger and Danielle Drake-Burnette from Poets for Global Justice.

(I captured some video and audio clips and will create the link as soon as processed)

Theme Teams:

The peformers culled and captured themes out of yesterday's workshops. Many people wrote on post-it notes and they sat around last night to deliver the themes to this session in the form of a script. It was performed on stage and a mindmap was created by Nancy M.

The Reflective Panel

Lelani Henry gave us some techniques for listening:

1. Scanning for sound bytes.
2. Thinking caps - rub your ears demonstrated by Juanita Brown
3. Energy yawn - rub your jaws demonstrated by John Gastil
4. Lazy 8 - rub a lazy eight over your closed eyes and activates listening and your heart

Each panelist gave an introduction of their unique lens:

Chris Gates: Mix of perspectives from government and nonprofits and giving.

Leanne Nurse: Giving voice to the voices for people who may not feel safe and for system change. She is a budhist grandmother and emerging artist.

John Gastil: Share some of the literature and how it connects to theme

Juanita Brown: A child of the sixties. Grew up in an activist household. The world cafe was born in her living room and a spiritual journey. I have a deep belief that people can participate deeply in the questions that matter to them without training.

Question: What are the trends you see impacting the field?

The mindmap is here.


Positive Trend: Local government has gotten the message that the old 60's models don't work around dialogue. (Town meeting when everyone get 70 seconds to speak and mic is turned on at midnight). They are trying to figure out better models for dialogue.

Negative Trend: Despite community progress, Washington ethic still embodies everything that doesn't work around democracy. Too easy to conclude that democracy doesn't work. Difficult to crack the politice culture of DC.

Caution: Not that long ago that people in philthanropy understood that they were the vc of progressive social change movement. Success was never a guaranteed part of that equation. Two things: get lucky and solve problem on first try or that you learn something. When a community brags about a success, the question: Which try was it? We need to rethink success?


From her lens of environment.

1st Trend: Relationship between government agency and ordinary citizens. We're the government and here to help you. The citizens say this is good or not. It is changing. A reorientation and that we are co-creating outcomes that we all need to survive and thrive.

2nd Trend: System change. What's going on inside of government agencies to allow dialogue to open up. Creating the beginning of an inter-agency network of people who practice dialogue. (Cooperative Conservation effort)

3rd Trend: Using technology - expanded use. New ways to meet face to face


Academic literature is growing rapidly.

A lot of are involved in formal structure for dialogue that fit into a larger society. The literature is brushing the picture of D&D with broader strokes.

Important to think of how it fits into larger process

Media and Elections: Mediated deliberation. For most people on most issues, the media is the medium they might engage. It is a rigorous processing. The experience of how the media works and how it presents. AirAmerica (new radio network) - we're better off having both. Substantive clash. Mentions Daily Show and how important it is. It is a media education program. Citizen Journalism.

Deliberation within legal bodies, juries, courts: It isn't what we do for the most part - congress is a metaphor. It is one of the true models of public discourse, but not to be emulated. We need to think about it and be concerned it. We should shake our heads at legislative karoki. The jury is a governmental body and provides for many people a more satisfying experience for D&D.

Communities and Conversation: What is a deliberative community? Try to think about interlocking organizations and institutions. Think strategically about connecting with schools, established members of the community, established media. Who is talking to who? More likely to exposed to contrary points of view watching the media than talking to other people.


I want to be funny, but I don't know how.

Global Level: We're at critical fork in the road - environmental disasters, oppression - it's getting worse and worse - faster and faster. At the same time, we're seeing new social innovation. Those are incredible signs that things are getting better and better faster and faster. Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solenet -- a book about this trend.

Ask the question: Where do we want to stand when we don't know the outcomes?

Grassroots efforts are that we are remembering our power. We co-create the work through our dialogue networks. There is something happening in the collective remembering.

Technology: The possibilities for a Global Conversation on the Internet are an important trend for our field.

Compassionate Activism: It's process activism. Co-intellligent solutions from a multi-perspectives.

Weak Signal: There are more people in the room over 50. A movement towards inter-generational collaboration.

They asked for soundbytes heard from the audience:

  • Need to co-create solutions
  • Legislative karoke
  • Possibilities
  • Constant Learning
  • Social Venture Capitals
  • Hope in the dark
  • Compassionate Non-adversial
  • More shouting could be better
  • Advocacy with an eye for long haul
  • Deliberation within
  • Deep species remembering
  • Substantive clash
  • How many are over 50?
  • Institutions are changing
  • Things are getting better and better
  • Cracked political culture
  • collective intelligence on the Internet
  • Dialogue without posters
  • Simult. decline and emergence
  • Community success doesn't happen on the first try
  • First-person authentcity
  • Bringing everyone to table
  • Intergenerational collaboration for the common good
  • Innovation occurs on the edge of chaos far from the equalibrium
  • Good ideas take more than one try
  • Global Conversaton
  • Where do we want to stand when we do this work
  • Ordinary entering discussion about issues that matters to them most

The panelists offered their reflections. (The mindmap is here)

The culture of disbelief - no one tells the truth. That's the problem.

The tension between the civil service corp and very steep decline of younger people coming into civil service. We need recognize the tension. Younger people need to consider the value of public service as a calling. This allows change from the inside to take place. We fool ourselves if our technical tools and data are the answer.

Let's be careful about saying "Them" when talking about government. Every organization - not matter how much it was rooted in dialogue. I wish that every group had a campaign manager as part of their board of directors to help think about the political implications. It recognizing that it is part of the system. Embrace the connections to other institutions no matter how much you want to get rid of them. Be honest about the negative aspects - stay as optimistic while being realistic. Realistic optimism.

JB: Aspects of system change. I've spent a lot of time with "them." My hope around system change - there are great people working in all these enemy institutions. My questions - how can they come to know each other and know that they are not alone. How can we support that possibility in the institutional connections. How can we help these pioneers inside of these tough institutions to keep courage.

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Where We Are Now - Exploring Current Trends    

Posted by Loretta Donovan on August 5, 2006.

After a thoroughly engaging opening on Saturday morning, participants move into their right brains in discovering "Where we are now." Leilani Henry is the moderator for the session. Clear your tables . . . is her first instruciton to the ballroom of participants. She tells the group that it is important to include the nonverbal. Start in silence . . . what are the trends you are hearing . . . visually capture them in 7 minutes. Nancy Marguiles gives a brief demo of how it is done. At my table, Charles Knickerbocker and Diane Miller plunge right in.

 The next task is to share images with others.  A pleasant rise in conversation occurs as folks mill about and enthusiastically explain their drawings.  Invited back to the tables, the opportunities and challenges that come to mind from the trends images discussed in small groups.  Coming back together for reflection on what has surfaced in conversation and where NCDD might go in the future, participants rise to share reflections to the questions:

What makes it challenging? What are the opportunities?

  • We hate to think and need to be better in languaging (as are the conservatives)
  • The world is getting increasingly charged with fear which causes polarization which inhibits innovation
  • Children need to be given a voice in an environment that causes them strife
  • Culture is reinforcing individualism and separatism . . . need a shift to a "doing it together" mindset that encourages dialogue
  • We have a lot of things that are positive here . . . a better question would be what's possible
  • We have a lot of things going on that are good and beneficial which need to be recognized and celebrated
  • Reframing the definition of "world" - creating boundarylessness
  • The discussion between having a common base of knowledge and the skills to have the conversation are going out of balance
  • Let your walls down enough and give the other person credit
  • The techology of the world is conspiring to make my world wonderful . . . for true believers, the possibility is there for my ideas to impact more than those in the room and be heard globally
  • Can we say we are truly operating from a place of love?  We need to be constantly reminding people of who they are, who I am.
  • The talk needs to include the indigenous nations, culture, governments.  We are borrowing from them in our methods.  Lessons can be learned from their experiences and history in a united world.
  • There is an area of our nature that is beyond our bodies, mind and is real. Acknowledging the soul dimension, the spirit, there is a louder we to connect to.
  • Find language that is inclusive of all perspectives.  We need to respect all human beings especially those with opposing viewpoints.  Comedy can be used with love from the other side of the room.
  • We need to reframe the way we think about ourselves.  We need to think of ourselves as patriots and as Americans. 
  • Think of yourself as agents of change.  People change when they are first accepted.  Language can free and can define. 
  • Safe space for the emotional content and to be free to express the real stuff is still needed.
  • We need to overcome the stereotype of what an American is.  We have the power and opportunities to dialogue in our lives with the broader population and let them know who we really are.

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Some Thoughts on Day One    

Posted by Andy Fluke on August 5, 2006.

Running a conference is easier than it looks. There, I just gave away our biggest secret. 'Course, it does help to have such a great team to work with in the first place, but at the heart of this revelation is a simple truth: you fill up a room with good people and good things are going to happen. That's our secret. What's left is simply making sure there's enough chairs to make them comfortable (and to the credit of our participants, many can just as easily sit in a circle on the floor and still engage and inspire, and create great conversations).

But let me back off just a little and make sure I don't diminish the amazing work our team is doing. Of the three national events NCDD has hosted, this is by far the best organized, and this is directly because of the amazing work of Polly Riddims and Katie Howard, without whom this conference would probably be a shambles. If you're here at the conference, find both of them and give each a big hug and a thank you. If you've had a great time, in so many ways its because of their investment and hard work.

As I wandered around the conference yesterday, watching all the pieces our tireless planning team crafted fall together into this amazing flow, I was struck by the same things I so enjoyed watching at the last two conferences -- the introductions. Those moments when two people meet for the first time, shake hands or hug, and offer a a quick introduction of themselves. Sometimes it ends quickly with a "it was so nice to meet you", but more often than not what follows is the first steps towards collaboration, the exchange of email addresses or phone numbers, the immediate sharing of ideas -- the continued growth and connection that strengthens the network that we are working so hard to build. It is a very exciting thing to watch.

And it happens all day long -- everyday of the conference.

It's why we do this stuff.

I have a unique position, a very fortunate position to be able to come to this event having been so much a part of its inception yet having the freedom to go where I want, do what I want and explore the machinations of the conference to my heart's content. I see Oz from behind the curtain as well as sharing the awe of standing with the crowd and watching the spectacle unfold. Our guests know they can come to me (though again I'm extraordinarily lucky to have Katie and Poly to send them to) if they need help and I do my best where I can. I have been approached by so many wonderful people, each sharing their first impressions with me and I have been amazed at the complete lack of criticism. Sure there are little problems popping up here and there, but nothing that can't be overcome (again, we have Katie and Polly). But in past events, participants were never hesitant to share their criticisms along with their praise.

Kenoli and Marc's opening session garnered the most praise, following the "if you didn't get your morning coffee, it no longer matters" drumming performance, which, by the way garnered, more than enough complaints from other hotel guests -- they needed to get up anyway. Although there was a little confusion about how to get from one Showcase to another, the workshops went smooth and, from the accounts I heard, were very well received. I unfortunately missed most of the reception and even more unfortunately missed out on the food, so I'm hoping that Beth will blog about the hors d'oeuvres.

But the one thing that really blew me away (and it shouldn't have knowing the talent of the people involved) was how smoothly -- and how much fun -- incorporating technology into this conference has worked out. Loretta and Beth have done a fabulous job of putting the conference online. I have learned so much from each. But beyond that, I have had some very rewarding conversations about technology with many participants -- too many to list here. I do, however, want to mention Hugh Ho who is launching his own online endeavor with a blog at Stop by and check it out, and give him your thoughts.

Thanks, everbody!

Friday AM First Plenary Session: Reflecting on Our Past    

Posted by Dale on August 4, 2006.

Discovering the Collective Story that Brought Us Here Today

In this plenary session we explored our personal stories and the evolution of the field of D & D, amidst the background of world events, to provide a common ground of experience and insight. By having a sense of how we came to this work personally, and what events shaped the development of this field, we gained both a personal grounding and an evolutionary perspective on how things grow and evolve over time. We also deepened our connections with others through the personal sharing and got a sense of the key events of each decade shaping the world and the emerging field of dialogue and deliberation.

There was much excitement and richness in these discussions. It was amazing how the exercises and future search methodology was able to so quickly and powerfully capture the essence of the evolutionary journey and provide us all with a solid common ground of experience and history upon which to build on during the conference. It was both a deepening and a broadening of our individual and collective perspectives as well as a wonderful opportunity to experience using the tools of the Future Search approach in brining large groups together quickly and effectively.

The Future Search approach is a large-group, whole-system planning method, which makes it possible for a complex and diverse group of stakeholders to discover common ground and decide how to act on it. This approach was an ideal way to get a large and diverse group, such as NCDD, into an awareness of both our unique and common journeys and highlight both the rich diversity and deep commonalities of this group.

This session was facilitated by Marc Togonotti and Kenoli Oleari, who are Co-Directors of the San Francisco Neighborhood Assemblies Network (NAN) and who regularly employ large-group, whole-systems approaches in their work with organizations and communities.

When we came into the room we were surrounded by large paper covered walls divided in sections for each decade from the 60's through 2010. There were three levels upon which we were asked to contribute our thoughts one - The first level was our personal experience that led us to become involved with this field. A second level was what was going on in the world at the time - in society at the national and global levels, and the third level was what was going on in the developing field of dialogue and deliberation during that time.

Marc stared out by asking us to pick a partner, someone who we didn't know, and setting up a two person interview which is an approach used in Appreciative Inquiry. We were asked to share with our partners a story about the time we first knew we were interested in dialogue and deliberation.

What year did it happen?
What influenced it?
We were asked to try to cite a specific experience or time.
We had 5 min. to tell our story and then we switched.

We then paired up with another group - so there were four in the new group, and then introduced our partner's story to the new pair.

We were then asked to map our experiences on the wall charts, which were segmented by decades with each decade having a 10 year timeline, by writing our comments on one of the three streams -

1. Our personal timeline, - the significant events in our personal lives, including the ones hat affected your relationship to D & D.

2. The global picture - important events going on in the society/the world at the time.

3. What was happening in The Dialogue and Deliberation field during this time. We were asked to cite important events affecting public dialogue, and developments in the dialogue and deliberation field, etc.

After each person wrote their input on the wall we were asked to select a decade that represented our entry into the field of D & D work and to form small groups of 6 - 8 to

1. Discuss what we saw on the three timelines for our decade and

2. Create a shared story about your decade.

Report Outs from the Decade Groups

One group from each decade was then asked to report out their reflections on what key themes they had identified. There were several groups for each decade and unfortunately there was only time for one group from each decade to report out. The lists presented below are only from the groups who reported out to the large group. The total wall chart data was collected and might be available at some point in time. (I don't know if you have plans to do this or not, so you need to make this statement accordingly).

From the 60's group
We still look pretty good (a comment on the age of the members in this group i.e. you have to be older to have been there in the 60s).
Nov 22, 1963 - the day JFK was shot, represented the "End of Camelot"
The influence of the GI Bill - getting educated
Political development, The sexual revolution & The Pill
Drugs and the Impact of Music - The battles defining change
Beginning of Dialogues - around civil rights, the war in Vietnam
Prosperity level in the US was high
Assassinations of JFK, Martin Luther King, Malcom X, and Robert Kennedy
Huge community movement

From the 70's group
War, Sex, the Environment, the Civil and Human rights movements, Inner and Outer self
Democracy in the workplace
Interdisciplinary move in education
Communal living
D & D Sensitivity training
Psychology (Esalen)
Training for D & D
Think Globally, Act Locally

From the 80's group
Arms buildup
Anti Apartheid Movement
Personal Growth and Healing
Social Politics
Mediation training as pivotal
est training & Beyond War groups
Freeing of Women - reclaiming their lives from the imposed maternal only role
Efforts to create change - mediation model
End of cold war in 89
Conflict resolution

From the 90's group
Global conflicts
Dayton Peace Agreement
IRAQ / Kuwait Wars
National use of mediation skills, etc., in their work
D & D level - organizations taking root
Politics - new polarizations - not a lot of bridge building going on
High Tech and Y2K

From the 2000 group
Entry points on a personal level (i.e. comment about people's entry into the field of D & D was from direct personal experience of D & D approaches at conferences, workshops, classes, etc.
On a global level it was more external
Need to focus on philanthropy & academic sector to get into the work now.

Reflections & Observations Post Wall Chart exercise and small group discussions and table report outs.

What comes up for you? What insights, and reflections do you have about these perspectives and data points about our past and how we come to be here, and the changes in the field of D&D over these decades till now?

All comments are numbered - and captured as best I could. They are not word for word quotes. I tried to get the gist of the comment.

1. How seeds planted grow. We lose sight of this big picture.
The Beyond War Movement said - Think Globally Act Locally many years ago. It's interesting to see this statement evolve into a cultural icon over the years.

2. We've lived through all this! A view of how things evolve.
We're between two worlds - an old way which is dying and a new world which is being conceived and is emerging but is not quite here yet.
This conference is part of birthing the Gazelle.

3. I was there in the 60's, Participatory Democracy & the War on Poverty

4. Viral Spread - It all started with me going to a dialogue group.

5. In the 50's & 60's it was thought that adults could not learn. The 70's questioned this assumption.

6. The crystallization of the role of dialogue - The Path of the Social Progressives - The Discourse around Value - reframe the conversations that need to happen to move us forward.

7. The 80's and Ronald Regan. I was thinking of How much energy we have put into defense (in terms of spending etc.), and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Now we can free it up.
We can move Energy from Defense to more constructive uses. It's somewhat disheartening that we're not doing this, i.e. using our resources in a more productive way.

8. The Labor Movement and the influence of the Media and affluence. Advertising messages - and our identities as informed by the media, i.e. consumerisms, the NRA, influence,. We take our collective identity from the media - in the public sector, and this influences us greatly in terms of who we think we are and our public policies, etc.

9. Impatience and a sense of urgency. We need to think about a strategy for communication with the world.

10. Feeling a sense of hope - This awareness and consciousness of there being hope.

11. We are post colonial - We are learning a new democracy Our forefathers, the founders of this country, put their lives on the line. The newest (us) and oldest (our founding fathers) are coming together.

12. The end of the draft in the 60's (was a monumental event).

13. The effect of 9/11.
People's desire to connect as opposed to the mentality of you're either for us or against us (fear driven). The task of making meaning of 9/11 - i.e. What does it mean? How do we choose to see it and respond to it? Defining our relationship to this event and how we respond to it - from a place of fear and defense, or from a place of vision and larger perspective that can lead to more positive outcomes and responses for all of humanity.

14. In the 80's -
refusal to look at the scientific research (I believe this refers to the data on global warming). But the world wasn't quite ready at the time.

15. In the 70s -
surging and waning - Carter - working with Presidents - who are open and progressive - in these windows of opportunity.
Relationship of citizen groups & government - i.e. under Roosevelt
Form a dialogue to move things forward.

16. Listening for patterns -
Emerging patterns for D & D -
In the 60's - Adversary based
In the 70"s - Internal Inner and personal development
In the 80s - Mediation
In the 90's - Corporations and Love of technology with Networks (the internet)
2000 - Building on this - the whole system in the room

17. Bowling Alone (the name of a book) - rates of inclusion (or isolation/ alienation)

18. The trauma of all the assignations in the 60's. But there's still chance for hope.

19. Places of Hope in this decade -
Speaking truth to power in the 2000's. In Latin America - the uprising of people power, in the US immigration rights.

20. The 80's - The browning of America. Emerging Multiplicity of Voices.

21. The role of religion - the Moral Majority, The Christian Coalition in Public discourse.

22. Human migration

23. Low intensity warfare going on around the world - the number of armed conflicts

24. Drive for connectedness in the 60s.
The need for connectedness - After Katrina - chat rooms, awareness that we couldn't depend on the government. But after Katrina - we've moved on - we've forgotten about it.

25. Grass roots dialogue groups sprung up all over the place (i.e. Palestine - Israel) but Arafat put a stop to it.

26. Motivation - What motivated each of us to make changes -
My anger & dissatisfaction in the 60's over women's rights issues, now
in the 90's & 2000, young people seem to be coming from a place of more caring and compassion for humanity.

The consciousness of peace itself. From spiritual awareness I connect with the peace within myself and from this we can bring peace into the world. We need to be the peace we want in the world.

From being anti - institutions -> To asking how can we institutionalize what we've been about?

27. Life growing up in the 60's - getting lost in TV screens.

We have lost the art of having face to face conversations especially with people who disagree with us. We live in a world of polarization and competition. There is a new generation of "screen heads" and the "blog generation".

28. Over the last 40 - 50 years things have gotten a lot tighter (economically).

This clamps down on the energy of the 60's. The issue is one of who gets to use the skills we have in this room? Servants of power - Who has access to these skills? i.e. using the skills in this room for the benefit of the larger environment and to celebrate ourselves.

The session then closed and people adjourned for lunch.

The Evolutionary Role of D&D    

Posted by Loretta Donovan on August 4, 2006.

Presenters: Peggy Holman and Tom Atlee

Is it the title of the session . . . the term "evolutionary" that has been the attractor since the group in the room is notably on the "wiser and more experienced" side?

Peggy invites everyone into their own inner conversation about the topic as a starting point with a chime.

Tom does a quick run-through of 6 themes of evolution and conversation:

  1. Characteristic of Evolution:
  2. Direction - increasing complexity, the inclusive non-zero sum games are more important in the larger world
  3. Modes - crises and catastropy create major change - we are facing crises
  4. Emergence - there is massive creativity in the environment and natural selection of choosing what works and we can incorporate that trial and error in our learning
  5. Interactivity - among diverse entities there is an eco-system that is information rich which generates change over time
  6. Challenge - there is a lot of stuff converging to create a major crisis in the not too distant future

Peggy shares her latest ideas on evolution: The connection between dialogue and evolution is emergence. It is is the way the universe learns and is at the core of evolution.

The nature of emergence in human systems is the movement from divergence to convergence, facilitated by appreciative, compelling questions. Differentiation (each of us bringing our own quirky understanding) and the weave of the dialogic process, exposes a repeat of certain pattens. The sense of purpose emerge that brings us to a place of convergence and the result is innovation.

After another brief personal reflection on the thoughts the presentations inspire, the participants pair in conversation about their reactions. Lots of buzz in the room.


  • I would like a story or example of non-violence.
  • The model of conscious emergence shows a balance of the 2 modes . . . would like to compress the process the movement to increase coherence
  • It seems we are talking about the rational method of creating nonviolence - is this just the mind? What happens to the instinctual self?
  • Biologic organisms evovle in order to survive. Is the human organism evolving for the same reason?

Tom believes that evolution was once learning by things dying off - collective interiority - incremental and with sudden leaps. Evolution is now ongoing and is generative.

Peggy suggests that we are the big bang still happening. She tells of working on the topic of leadership with Palestinian women. Peggy heard these women talk about fear, danger etc and asked then to write questions about the occupation. These included ones on good that came out of checkpoints, imagine a future when checkpoints are no longer needed what would be happening. In using the questions and sharing the responses with one another, they were knit into a different form of community.

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Workshop: When the Client is the Problem    

Posted by Beth Kanter on August 4, 2006.

Presenter: Susan Christy, PhD, CMC

We started with introductions and then worked in diads to share our "war" stories about working with clients. We shared as a group a list of the problem behavior we have encountered. (The flipchart page is here.)

Susan gave us a visual metaphor of our choices when we encounter bad client behavior or hot water:

Carrot: It goes limp. You say yes to whatever they say or you buy into client's definition of the problem.

Hard Boiled Egg: We take the approach that the client is all wrong and that it is their fault they are off track. We become too directive and take over the client's problem.

Coffee Beans: We get something that smells good and is good for everyone involved.

Some techniques that lead to a better client/consultant relationship:

The consultant's role: Prepare clients during contracting and manage expectations. Inform clients and deliver feedback constructively. Susan compared client's reaction to "bad news" is often like the five stages of grief. It is important to support the client's emotions and understanding and to support new behaviors and communications with others.

Prepare your client during contracting. It is important to manage expectations and get permissionj in advance to deal with the client's role in the problem. Susan asks specific questions like, "You might hear xyz, what does look, feel, or smell like?" or what she describes as "Set the scene for disconfirming information."

Deliver feedback constructively It is important to set the context, frame the issues in terms of client's desired outcomes, and make it visual. Give the feedback the main client in private, but also give the group the feedback.

Support Client's Shifting Emotions and Understanding. The group shared some coaching techniques, help the client sort out their part of the problem, and help the client plan and take new steps.

Some recommended books:

Toxic Co-Workers Alan Cavaiola, PhD
Flawless Consulting by Peter Block

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