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Consensus Building and the Unshakable Rightness of Belief

Consensus Building and the Unshakable Rightness of Belief

Anyone who’s worked at building consensus on public policy knows the frustration of trying to reason with someone who just won’t change a position or even consider alternative possibilities. They may refuse to accept any evidence that seems to disprove their positions and become aggressive and disruptive in the face of challenges. Sometimes, it’s possible […]

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Will Open Government Policies Build Trust for Effective Collaboration?

Will Open Government Policies Build Trust for Effective Collaboration?

The Obama Administration’s Open Government Initiative may well be an historic step forward in meeting the goals of transparency, participation and collaboration. But the way these goals are being translated into practice – and evaluated – at least in this early phase, makes me wonder if the initiative will lead to greater accountability and trust […]

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Implementing Agreements: The Ordeal of Change

Implementing Agreements: The Ordeal of Change

The real test of a collaborative agreement only begins when the changes it requires hit the streets. That’s when it gets personal. Carrying out an agreement usually means that particular people will have to do things differently, pay costs they’re not used to paying, live with new restrictions, new requirements. The negative side of change […]

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Who's the Public & How Should They Participate?

Who’s the Public & How Should They Participate?

In the previous post in this series, I discussed the concept of the public as a network comprised of interrelated groups, some focused on private interests, some focused on larger community concerns or institutions. The approach to public involvement that definition suggests is a collaborative one that draws citizens into the early stages of formulating […]

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Who's the Public? Two Views

Who’s the Public? Two Views

In the last post I outlined a method of public involvement based on a model of interest group competition. The main players in that approach are the sponsoring agencies and the organized advocacy groups. The public at large is consulted but plays a very limited role. I’d like to add a few more thoughts about […]

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Rich Harwood on Engaging the Public

Rich Harwood is one of the major voices arguing for basic changes in the methods of engaging the public in policy questions. Through the Harwood Institute, which he established in the 1980s, he has published numerous studies and guides on how people relate to public issues, where they seek out trustworthy information and how they […]

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