IDESG: Governance beyond “us” Challenge 2 for NSTIC

Second Challenge:  How are we meaningfully and regularly checking in with those outside the community of self selected stakeholders – to regular citizens who have to use the currently broken systems we have today and hopefully will be enthused and inspired to adopt the outcomes of this whole effort?

The openness of NSTIC overall was inspired by the Open Government memo (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the_press_office/TransparencyandOpenGovernment)  signed first day in office. It inspired a lot of my colleagues in the dialogue and deliberation community. (Yes, I have another life/carreer doing facilitation see http://www.unconference.net)

They went to work figuring out how to be sure that coherent resources and tools were available to those who were now mandated to “do” open government and have more public participation would have really good resources available.  Tom Atlee the person I co-wrote the Governance section of my NOI was one of the leaders of this working with the NCDD (the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation) to define 7 core principles of public engagement.

Blog post that outlines them: (http://ncdd.org/rc/item/3643)

12 Page PDF: http://ncdd.org/rc/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/PEPfinal-expanded.pdf

The Core Principles for Public Engagement

These seven recommendations reflect the common beliefs and understandings of those working in the fields of public engagement, conflict resolution, and collaboration.  In practice, people apply these and additional principles in many different ways.

1. Careful Planning and Preparation
Through adequate and inclusive planning, ensure that the design, organization, and convening of the process serve both a clearly defined purpose and the needs of the participants.

2. Inclusion and Demographic Diversity
Equitably incorporate diverse people, voices, ideas, and information to lay the groundwork for quality outcomes and democratic legitimacy.

3. Collaboration and Shared Purpose
Support and encourage participants, government and community institutions, and others to work together to advance the common good.

4. Openness and Learning
Help all involved listen to each other, explore new ideas unconstrained by predetermined outcomes, learn and apply information in ways that generate new options, and rigorously evaluate public engagement activities for effectiveness.

5. Transparency and Trust
Be clear and open about the process, and provide a public record of the organizers, sponsors, outcomes, and range of views and ideas expressed.

6. Impact and Action
Ensure each participatory effort has real potential to make a difference, and that participants are aware of that potential.

7. Sustained Engagement and Participatory Culture
Promote a culture of participation with programs and institutions that support ongoing quality public engagement.

These were developed by a range of practitioners who use a range of methods and is widely accepted by this community as good advice – WE SHOULD LISTEN to and follow them too.

They also worked on defining different streams of engagement – that each have different methods that when used could be effectively applied – be useful to different types of situations.

  •  Exploration
  •  Conflict Transformation
  •  Decision-Making
  •  Collaborative Action

Blog post – links to downloads of several PDFs – http://ncdd.org/rc/item/2142

With NSTIC and the challenges we are working to address we touch on all those different streams.

They also have a Resource Guide that is short – well written and clear and worth reading if you want to understand what I am talking about. Blog Post with links to PDFs – http://ncdd.org/rc/item/4471

I am familiar with almost all the methods and have among my network colleagues from this sphere of knowledge practitioners who are amongst the worlds best or even the inventors of those methods.

In my NSTIC NOI (http://www.identitywoman.net/insight-for-governance) I propose that the “steering committee” (what now seems to be the “management council” should actually be “making decisions” but rather convening open forums (of various types) and to take the results of those and then STEER based on that.

To be concrete I outlined three different methods that could be used – it didn’t have to be “these methods” other ones could be chosen too.

I wanted to outline “Process as Policy”  – that we would govern and layout that a certain kind of meeting (maybe not a specific method but different qualities/requirements of a method). would happen on a regular schedule and that the outcomes of it would be public and it would be a source of real insight.

I proposed NO requirement to “join” something we are calling a “plenary” or to have vesting be a requirement for ongoing say/voting. Or that these meetings would have such a requirement… I envisioned these to be meetings that were open to anyone – they would likely lean towards existing self identified stakeholders and in fact…stakeholders who have some time but not huge amounts of time would come to trust these regularly held yet open meetings as a way to dive in.. participate…give real input – trust the wisdom of the whole would be surfaced and choose to re-engage again in 3months, 6 months, 1 year.

This would balance out power…between two groups – those who have a lot and those who have a little.  What power am I talking about? The power to have enough time/money/energy to show up constantly.  While it is noble and in one way accurate to assert that this is a “volunteer” body…some of the volunteers are being PAID by their employers for their time “volunteering” and thus have far greater capacity.  We can pretend that this is not there but it is.   If the only “valld” way to participate is long term ongoing vested (you must attend a certain number of meetings or you are not a valid member) requirements….will skew the ongoing output of the community.

This touches on my first e-mail about Challenge 1 – the “us” of people who self identify as stakeholders.

I also saw these meetings as an opportunity for the regular general public to be engaged and express themselves – explore issues, give meaningful feedback to industry, government and “the stakeholders” that “represent” them – the Privacy people and Consumer Advocates.

Per the Core Principles outlined above … yeah those – they need to be well planned.

We need to think about ways to systematize engagement – one way that could be done and is a proven way to get meaningful (accepted on a national level in small countries) citizen engagement / decisions with science and technology policy is the citizen’s deliberative council (or Jury) http://co-intelligence.org/P-CDCs.html.

I first learned about it from Tom Atlee and he wrote about it (and other great methods) in his book the Tao of Democracy.  It takes randomly selected citizens and pays them to come together for a week and basically hear from all sides…learn from experts (kinda like how congress in the US holds hearings…but “they” the people sit in the congress peoples seats interviewing the experts etc.  Then they having got a whole range if input from across the spectrum of possibility put before them and deliberate and put forward what they think the best option/policy should be.

Another method that is similar is a Wisdom Council (http://www.co-intelligence.org/P-wisdomcouncil.html) that uses a method called Dynamic Facilitation. If implemented it would bring 24 randomly selected people together and basically ask them how they were doing with their identities online – were they working for them? etc. GEt a from the people’s “report” of the state of their reality.   The results would be made public and they wouldn’t be being asked to provide an answer…different years would have different very divers types of people..they would surface different issues and needs but in time…if we are doing what is asked of this group – then their experience of using online ID will get better and it will be evidenced in the result of the process.

These are two clear concrete ideas…there are many many options. I will be attending (and speaking at about identity online in public engagement processes)) the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (http://ncdd.org/) conference in Seattle on October 12-14. This is really the world’s leading forum for practitioners and implementors of dialogue and deliberation methods and tends to have a heavy emphasis on public participation in government.  If we had even a couple of you on this list attending we could engage with the material and come back with ideas/recommendations.

Just as in my previous post I don’t have a proposal beyond the fact we should be mandating a cyclical process to have real meaningful engagement with the public that they can come to trust (know it will happen) and thus trust (have faith in the good will / non-evilness) of that is being put forward through NSTIC.   Since I am using the word trust I should qualify and say that I am using it in the systems and societal level…and that in using that word we should take care to know for ourselves and know for our community efforts what level we are talking about and be explicit rather then throwing the word around(See my blog post on the issue of the use of the word trust within our sector – http://www.identitywoman.net/the-trouble-with-trust-the-case-for-accountability-frameworks).

No one of these processes is a magic bullet. They all have different positives and negative, they have different costs, different needs for better or more involved design, and different needs for more or less facilitation (for example a home study guide for a book club on identity would be high design/input/research low facilitation needs as groups would download and self facilitate).

We need to discern what kinds of engagement we need both in the short term and longer term…and make space for them within our governing structures/systems and documents we are writing.

As I said in my last e-mail. I will be on the call tomorrow and have requested time to speak…but I would like to use my time to answer questions about what I have said here. [Feel free to post questions on this blog in comments…if you want to ping me in e-mail and let me know you have done so that would be great!]

– Kaliya

 

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