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Robert Benjamin on the Irrational Rationality of Mediation Models

Robert Benjamin on the Irrational Rationality of Mediation Models

Robert Benjamin recently published another of his typically thoughtful and provocative essays at Mediate.com. On Becoming a Rationally Irrational Mediator/Negotiator is the first part of an ambitious five-part series on the role of the irrational in conflict resolution. In this first installment, Benjamin sets the stage for a detailed challenge to the reliance on rational […]

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What Do You Do When Consensus Fails?

What Do You Do When Consensus Fails?

This is the nightmare scenario for any consensus process: After months of hard work by 20 or 30 participants, one or two holdouts, perhaps representing narrow or personal interests, block agreement and frustrate the entire effort. That is possible if the only route to agreement requires unanimous consent. There has to be a way to […]

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Online Voting for Public Policy vs. Consensus Building: Is That a Choice?

Online Voting for Public Policy vs. Consensus Building: Is That a Choice?

Although I haven’t seen a lot of discussion about this so far, the emergence of interactive tools for online citizen engagement poses interesting questions for the future of public policy consensus building. It’s still early days in the development of the web technology, and experiments so far have been spotty. Despite the high orbit of […]

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The Wisdom of Crowds, Collaborative Networks & Public Policy

The Wisdom of Crowds, Collaborative Networks & Public Policy

Over the last few years, concepts like collaboration, the wisdom of crowds and collaborative networks have taken hold as innovative ways for involving large groups of people to help solve complicated public policy problems. However, the terms are often used so loosely that they’re in danger of being lumped together and, in effect, dismissed, especially […]

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John Dryzek on the Citizens Parliament

In an earlier post on the Open Government Initiative of the Obama Administration, I mentioned an Australian experiment called the Citizens Parliament. Here is the background piece on a video showing a clip from John Dryzek’s presentation to the Australian Senate on the results of the 2009 gathering. Since this is a clip from a […]

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Open Government Initiative - Phase 2: Enhancing Citizen Engagement

Open Government Initiative – Phase 2: Enhancing Citizen Engagement

The Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative has been holding its second phase at the blog of the Office of Science and Technology Policy. The initial brainstorming phase has generated hundreds of ideas and comments relating to five major categories: Transparency, Participation, Collaboration, Capacity Building and Legal and Policy Challenges. While there have been problems with […]

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