Public Engagement & Deliberative Dialogue

I participated in many of the meetings and found them to be models of how public meetings should be run. They were civil, well-attended, approachable to people who are new to the Green Line Extension (GLX) meetings and a welcome change from the highly charged, combative [other] meetings. It was great to meet neighbors and work in a collaborative environment to imagine ‘what if’…”  

– Public stakeholder commenting on the visioning process where Bill and Loraine led the public meeting portions for the Metropolitan Area Planning Council

The Logue Group has extensive experience in leading both public engagement and deliberative dialogue processes. Below are explanations of the processes and how we can help.

Public Engagement

The Logue Group works with public officials and organizational leaders to design and facilitate a wide variety of public engagement and public collaboration processes including using state of the art methodology and technology. Some of our public engagement processes include:microphone

  • Public Meetings
  • Focus Groups
  • Public Involvement Process
  • Community Conversations
  • Deliberative Dialogue
  • Consensus Building

What Is Public Engagement?

Public engagement is a process that brings people together in a civil and respectful environment to address issues of common importance, to solve shared problems, and to bring about positive social change. Effective public engagement invites diverse citizens to get involved in deliberation, dialogue and action on public issues that they care about. Most importantly, it helps leaders and decision makers better understand the perspectives, opinions, and concerns of citizens and stakeholders so they can make more informed policy decisions.

Our approach to public engagement is to reach beyond the “usual suspects” and the loudest voices to bring in members of the community whose voices have traditionally been left out of political and policy debates. In doing so we strive to:

1. Help people explore diverse perspectives and listen deeply to each other’s views;

2. Begin to build common understanding, manage differences and establishes direction for moving ahead on tough issues;

3. Build trust and improve communication between the public and leaders;

4. Create new opportunities for citizens to become involved in public problem solving and decision-making – what we call “Collaborative Governance”

Leaders – What The Logue Group Can Do For You:

The Logue Group can help decision makers tap into the collective wisdom of citizens and stakeholders. Our large-scale, interactive meetings identify shared priorities and recommendations on essential policies and plans.

Our team of talented meeting architects and skilled facilitators can provide consultation and support to municipal, state, federal and international governments, as well as organizations of all types and sizes to improve citizen and stakeholder participation in decision-making. We can help you to:

1. Engage your key constituents in lively conversations that matter.

2. Develop shared priorities and joint strategies for action.

3. Gather exceptional intelligence and weigh critical tradeoffs in response to your key challenges or opportunities.

4. Efficiently measure support for new proposals, using interactive technologies.

5. Deepen constituents’ connection and commitment to next steps.

Why The Logue Group Is Effective

The Logue Group Team has many years of experience in successfully facilitating meetings whose participants are wrestling with complex issues, conflicting priorities and diverse value systems to uncover common interests, shared priorities, and recommendations to shape next steps.

All voices are heard, no idea is lost. 
Leading technology is integrated with facilitated dialogue.Participants are informed about important issues, hear a diversity of perspectives and understand critical trade-offs.Immediate feedback is presented throughout the meeting.
 Mutual priorities are identified through informed keypaddiscussion and keypad polling.
 Significant attention is gained with a large-scale forum, increasing support for action.
 Diverse participants representative of the community are recruited for public meetings, through targeted outreach.
 Stakeholders are engaged in a way that isn’t possible through more traditional processes.
 Meeting summary/report, distributed at the end of the process, details the meeting’s outcomes along with any follow-up or action items.

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Deliberative Dialogue

Civility in our country’s political discourse has clearly declined, and the political climate has become increasingly bitter. We have all seen public meetings turn into violent shouting matches or worse: Think of Wisconsin, where union protesters were dragged off and arrested, or Arizona, where Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords was severely wounded in a shooting rampage that left six innocent citizens dead. But what can be done? Is there a way to elevate the tone of dialogue in our country? Can we bring back civility?

The Logue Group can assist public officials, non-profits and others to convene and facilitate deliberative dialogues on a broad range of important public policy issues.  Our team of professional dialogue moderators can help you to engage the public in a respectful and meaningful way that gives them a voice.  We can also help to “frame” issues for public deliberation.

What Is Deliberative Dialogue

The best definition of deliberative dialogue we have seen comes from Scott London:

“ Deliberative dialogue differs from other forms of public discourse — such as debate, negotiation, brainstorming, consensus-building — because the objective is not so much to talk together as to think together, not so much to reach a conclusion as to discover where a conclusion might lie. Thinking together involves listening deeply to other points of view, exploring new ideas and perspectives, searching for points of agreement, and bringing unexamined assumptions into the open.”

The Logue Group uses the National Issues Forum (NIF) model of deliberative dialogue.  These dialogue forums are structured discussions which range from small study circles held in peoples’ homes to large community gatherings. Forums are led by trained, neutral moderators, and use an issue discussion guide that frames the issue by presenting the overall problem and then three or four broad approaches to the problem. Forum participants work through the issue by considering each approach; examining what appeals to them or concerns them, and also what the costs, consequences, and trade offs may be that would be incurred in following that approach.

Deliberative Dialogue Topics

There are a number of important and timely issues that have been framed by the National Issues Forum Institute for public deliberation.  Here is a sample:

  • America’s Role in the World: What Does National Security Mean in the 21st Century?
  • Crime and Punishment: Is Justice Being Served?
  • Democracy’s Challenge: Reclaiming the Public’s Role
  • Economic Security: How Should We Take Charge of Our Future?
  • The Energy Problem: Choices for an Uncertain Future
  • The Health Care Crisis: Containing Costs, Expanding Coverage
  • Immigration in America: How Do We Fix a System in Crisis?
  • Jobs: Preparing a Workforce for the 21st Century
  • Racial and Ethnic Tensions: What should we do?
  • Shaping Our Future: How Should Higher Education Help Us Create the Society We Want?
  • Success in School, Ready for Life: How Can We Help More Students Graduate from High School?
  • Violent Kids: Can We Change the Trend?
  • Weighing the Options: How Can We Encourage Health Weights Among America’s Youth?
  • What Should Go on the Internet? Privacy, Freedom and Security Online

dialogueIf you would like to convene a deliberative dialogue on one of these topics, or if you would like us to help you frame an issue for public deliberation, please call or e-mail us today for a free consultation.

For more information about the National Issues Forum, go to www.nifi.org.

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