Insight into deliberative democracy, participatory governance, flat organization models and large group decision making techniques.

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Did the consultation represent the community?

white crowdIn public consultation, we often say we "consulted with the community", but did we?

Two Great Newsletters for Meeting Facilitators

For a few years now I have been a subscriber to these two e-newsletters, which each provide regular concise and useful tips for planning and facilitating productive meetings, right to my inbox. Helps keep my skills fresh. I recommend you subscribe to both.

Town Hall Meetings Fail

Town Hall Meeting

In my professional opinion, a town hall meeting where people determine long term infrastructure decisions by popular vote, is not a recommend public engagement process, because:

Icebreaker Game / Team Building Activity: "My Skills Club"

I created the following icebreaker game with an aim to get people talking to each other, and to also get people to talk about their own skills and the skills they share, which can be useful towards team building and staff self-awareness.  It's fun, easy to prepare and provides useful outputs of lists of shared skills among participants. Alternatively, you could do the activity not about skills but about other shared characteristics, but skills makes sense for team building type workshops.

My Skills Club

Instructions to participants

Dot Voting vs. Idea Rating Sheets

If you like sticker dot voting (aka multi-voting), then you will love idea rating sheets. Here's why...

Online Survey 'Page Randomization' feature is Expensive


I did some research and it seems only premium pay packages for online survey tools provide the "Page Randomization" feature. Here are the results of my research:

Geraldton 2029: Amazing Example of Deliberative Democracy Documented

Geraldton 2029 logoAfter watching the 7 minute video of Janette Hartz-Karp describing a sustainability initiative in Geraldton, Australia, I was curious to see what techniques they used to enage the public in long term local planning.

Examples of Wise Democracy Using Random Citizens

Here is a great article by George Sranko that describes a variety of success stories using random citizens to give direction to government.

"There are two key ingredients: direct involvement by a representative cross-section of the entire community, province, or nation through random selection of citizens; and dynamic facilitation that empowers the group to reach a unified perspective via creative shifts and breakthroughs, rather than through the usual back-and-forth negotiation."

Read the full article: - Another idea rating system is a new web app + service designed to act as a "virtual town-hall" for municipal engagement. It includes idea rating, commenting, voting and a user score system designed to reward frequent contributors. Its a US base company marketing the tool specifically to community leaders and elected officials. Seem like a cool tool, although I'd assume like any open invitation approach (including traditional town halls), the prioritization of ideas is open to manipulation through strategic online campaigning by large groups. Check out the intro video below.


Mind Mixer from protokulture on Vimeo.

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