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<em>Standing in the Fire:</em> The Inner Art of Facilitation

Standing in the Fire: The Inner Art of Facilitation

Facilitation is too often an underrated art. Both the practice and its practitioners are often characterized with some disdain as all process, no substance. Yet, everyone knows facilitation is necessary for tough meetings when the room is expected to bristle with tension, and a lot of skill will be needed to get a good result. […]

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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 in Public Involvement?

Who’s the Public in Public Involvement?

This is the first in a series of posts on the role of the public in governmental decision-making. This one addresses the practical implementation of a widely used model of participatory process. The next will suggest alternative ideas about how the public might be regarded, and the third will examine new technologies for participation that […]

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Confrontation in Collaborative Meetings

Confrontation in Collaborative Meetings

Once a good friend and colleague was exchanging “war” stories with me about confrontation during the peaceful business of collaborative meetings. He assured me that he had a story that would top anything I could offer, and he was right. Here’s the brief version. I was facilitating a group that was supposed to reach agreement […]

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Open Space-Online

Open Space-Online

How is it possible to accomplish an Open Space Technology (OST) meeting on the web, working only with text and limited visual aids through a desktop browser? That is the aim of Open Space-Online, and by many accounts it does the task effectively. Given the structure of an OST meeting, it would seem difficult to […]

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Community and Technical Knowledge in Public Involvement

Community and Technical Knowledge in Public Involvement

Public involvement sometimes presents a stark contrast between community and technical knowledge. Often public agency representatives, with the best intentions of gathering information about local concerns, may arrive at a community meeting, make a presentation, but find itself facing a lot of frustrated and angry people. The meeting might end with members of the community […]

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