Jason Diceman's blog

BetterMeans.com: democratic governance model and web app

snapshot of Bettermeans.com BetterMeans.com has recently released a web based "open and democratic project management tool", and it looks very promising.  Along with basic tools like a wiki, discussion boards and document storage, it has array of tools for collectively prioritizing tasks, estimatating work item complexity, reviewing work, allocating compensation, and voting on motions.  The entire system seems to be built around a set of values that enforce and promote transparency, accountability, cooperation, pragmatism, and distributed leadership.

I could imagine it working with open source developers, maybe some collaborative scientists, activist collectives, and dnew not-for-profits.  I look forward to seeing how this tool evolves, what kinds of groups use and what for.

Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review

In the USA, many state elections include "initiatives", which are a means by which a petition signed by a certain minimum number of registered voters can force a public vote (plebiscite) on a government decision. In the run up to state elections, the media airwaves are filled with support and opposition soundbite advertisements and debates.

In Oregon, a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization called Healthy Democracy Oregon has piloted the "Citizens’ Initiative Review" which is a reform to Oregon’s initiative process that provides voters with clear, useful, and trustworthy evaluations of statewide ballot measures through the use of a random citizen review panel.

Here is a great video that explains the new process:

Workshop Plan - The Ultimate Meeting Logistics Checklist

Workshop logistics checklist template

A good meeting logistics plan describes information such as:

New Dotmocracy Handbook is Now Published

Photo of printed Dotmocracy Handbook

I am proud to announce the publishing of a new version of my Dotmocracy Handbook.  After three years in the making, version 2 is more than twice the length of my original handbook. It's filled with full colour photos, improved layout and much clearer and refined instructions based on years of challenging and inspiring Dotmocracy facilitation experience.

Started a New Job with the City of Toronto

Strarting in February I am now one of a handful of Senior Public Consultation Coordinators with the City of Toronto.  You can see a list of the typical projects we help manage here: toronto.ca/involved/projects  Its a challenging and rewarding job that allows my to apply my experience and skills in stakeholder engagement on a daily basis.  Hopefully I have opporunities to user Dotmocracy as well.

First Global Democratic Deliberation in History

Earth from spaceOn September 26, 2009 approximately 4,000 citizens in 38 countries discussed and recognized their collective opinions on the issue of climate change.  The format was an incredible example of best practices in public participation, that included:

10 Question to Ask Before Starting a Public Consultation

Recently Joseph Peters (Partner at Ascentum) and Joe Goldman (Vice President of Citizen Engagement at AmericaSpeaks) published an excellent two page article called: Open Policy Making 101: 10 Questions To Ask Before Launching Your Online Public Consultation

Action Implementation Plan - a two page template

For BikeCamp TO I created a simple one page (two-sided) form to help small groups to document a plan to get something done.

Sections included in the form are:

  • Name for the plan
  • Desired results to be achieved and strategies to be used
  • Key strengths, challenges, opportunities and threats (aka a SWOT analysis)
  • Contact information for team members
  • Timeline of important tasks and major milestones

This simple template can help focus ad-hoc teams and give concrete outcomes to open space conferences. I hope you find it useful!

Download the Action Implementation Plan form (PDF)

 

Dotmocracy at BikeCamp

BikeCamp Toronto logoThis Saturday, October 17th, I will be assisting renowned facilitator Daniel Rose from Omakase Group to apply Dotmocracy at the first Toronto BikeCamp hosted by the Toronto Cyclists Union.

Consensus Decision-Making Workshop Matierials

On September 29th 2009, my self and Simone Arsenault-May presented an evening workshop for parents at the Grove Community School, a new alternative school part of the Toronto District School Board.

This workshop focused on teaching the basics of a consensus process that uses cooperative dialogue. It also covered techniques for an efficient council and tools for effective community engagement.

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