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Kettering and NIFI Release Publications on Developing Deliberation Materials

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 9:00pm in



Kettering and NIFI: Developing Materials for Deliberation

The Kettering Foundation researches and develops issue guides, and the National Issues Forums Institute (NIF) shares the materials across the country along with the deliberative practices on which they are based.

How Kettering and NIFI think about developing materials that support public deliberation is freely available in two publications: Naming and Framing Difficult Issues to Make Sound Decisions, which outlines the conceptual foundations of this approach, and Developing Materials for Deliberative Forums, which is aimed at people in communities who might want to do this work themselves, in their own contexts on their own issues. When KF and NIFI work on national materials, we use the same approach. There are many ways to do this, and the more one does it the more readily it comes. In this way, this work is a “practice,” learned and improved upon by doing, yet accessible to all. It does not take experts. (Another resource, a little more schematic, is this two-page overview.)

This is not necessarily the best way to develop such materials, but it is the one that we have developed and used over decades. Other innovations are most welcome, and we are always interested to hear about them.

What we mean by “public deliberation” is simple: people deciding together about how they should address a shared problem by weighing options for action against the things they hold valuable. It is particularly useful, and some might even say it is needed, on certain kinds of problems, including when the cause of the problem is in dispute, people from all walks of life will need to act, there is no objectively correct solution, and any potential path forward brings with it drawbacks that affect things that are held deeply valuable. Some call such problems “wicked.” The main idea is that they don’t have a correct solution, but the problems are pressing, so we must still decide how to move forward in the absence of complete agreement. NIF issue guides are designed to be a support to deliberation by people in communities on a range of these kinds of issues. People deliberate all the time in their personal and professional lives. It is not a new skill that needs to be learned. The NIF issue guides are simply designed to prompt the process. (Some people use them for educational purposes, but their main intended use is to support direction-setting that leads to public decision-making.)

The challenge for anyone trying to develop a document that supports people deliberating on such a problem is to 1) describe the problem in such a way that it is universally recognized as a problem that merits discussion and 2) present options for action that lay bare the tensions between the things that we might do. The first item is called naming, and the second framing.

All of this work starts with research. It is not work suited to just one or two researchers who go off and write—it is collective work aimed to be useful to collectivities of people. In terms of “desk” research, the chief areas of inquiry are: What arguments are being made about this issue? By whom? How do they differ? What solutions are being proposed? The public research is the most important aspect of developing these materials.

This public research starts with gathering concerns of people. This is usually done in small groups, as people share their concerns about a topic. The name of the issue is not yet known—it will develop and emerge iteratively throughout the process. We are trying to learn two things: What is the question that people feel we must grapple with? How does this issue relate to the fundamental things that everyone holds valuable, but in differing degree? By talking about their concerns, people lay bare these things. We typically try to have broad-based concern gathering sessions, eliciting input from many groups, across difference. The broader the better.

Once there is a good, broad set of concerns (usually hundreds), we begin to “cluster” them according to things that are held deeply valuable that appear to be driving them. They typically will readily narrow down to a handful of main driving concerns such as collective safety, equity and being treated fairly, having freedom to act, having control over one’s future, and so forth. It is useful to get down to three or four main groupings. These clusters will become the options of the resulting issue framework, and three or four options is about as many as one can get through in one discussion.

What emerges from this clustering work is a name for the issue and the beginnings of a framework of options (each a major direction for addressing the problem). To give a sense of specificity to the options, it is useful to have examples of specific actions that each option suggests. The result of all this work is the “grid” format that you can see at the back of most NIF issue guides: a description of the problem, three options for action, each with a set of actions. Each of these options will have a trade off—the downside will be unpalatable, or it will pull against one of the other options, or both.

At this point, we develop a draft of such a framework and test it by holding deliberative forums with groups of people. We are looking for how well it sparks deliberation.

We have learned that a useful framework will:

  • Name the problem in such a way that people immediately respond
  • Include a range of options that are in tension with one another
  • Give voice to marginal and sometimes unwelcome views
  • Clearly and fairly show the downsides of any suggested course of action
  • Shake up the dominant left/right polarized discourse
  • Often leave people stewing as they consider ideas they may not have encountered

In my own experience in doing this work, this testing almost always results in improvements and sometimes major revisions. Sometimes an option needs a complete rework. Sometimes the name is clearly wrong. For instance, once we thought we were framing an issue related to “campaign finance,” and people in concern gathering sessions literally laughed at how narrowly that was drawn and insisted that the problem was almost the entire political system.

One of the challenges of doing this work is that it works best if one approaches it with openness and a willingness to alter course based on what is learned. It makes it difficult to create hard-and-fast timelines and to provide early specificity.

Once the overall framework is working, we develop a full-length issue guide. These are all reviewed anonymously by people who are familiar with the topic at hand before publication. At this point, we are looking for balance between major viewpoints and major gaps or errors.

You can find the original version of this announcement on the Kettering Foundation site at

Basic Income World Wide Survey

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 04/08/2020 - 8:44pm in

During the first Worldwide Meeting of UBI Advocates and UBI Networks, held on 7th of April, 2020, comprising members of BIEN who were interested in advocacy, a proposal resolved to carry out a survey about the economic measures taken by different countries in response to the Coronavirus pandemic. Our survey has three aims: 1) To […]

Read New 2020 Summer Edition of National Civic Review

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 03/08/2020 - 9:00pm in



If you are looking to get some more civic reading under your belt, NCDD member org, The National Civic League, announced the release of the 2020 Summer Edition of the National Civic Review. This esteemed quarterly journal offers insights and examples of civic engagement and deliberative governance from around the country. Friendly reminder that NCDD members receive the digital copy of the National Civic Review for free! (Find the access code below.) We strongly encourage our members to check out this great resource and there is an open invite for NCDD members to contribute to the NCR. You can read about NCR in the post below and find it on NCL’s site here.

National Civic Review Summer Edition 2020 – Access Code: NCDD20

2020 is turning out to be a year of sudden, unexpected crises and angry civil unrest. The need for people to distance themselves from one another has led to feelings of anxiety, loss and social isolation. Anger over police brutality and racial inequity is making this a time of tough conversations but also increased civic activism. In this issue of the National Civic Review we learn about efforts to engage the public in collaborative efforts to make our communities more sustainable, resilient, age-friendly, democratic and healthy. We also take a look at some examples in history where civic leaders and members of the public have faced tough challenges and risen to the occasion by experimenting with new ideas and practices.

To access this edition, go to the table of contents where you will be prompted to enter your unique access code: NCDD20.

One of the Nation’s Oldest and Most Respected Journals of Civic Affairs
Its cases studies, reports, interviews and essays help communities learn about the latest developments in collaborative problem-solving, civic engagement, local government innovation and democratic governance. Some of the country’s leading doers and thinkers have contributed articles to this invaluable resource for elected officials, public managers, nonprofit leaders, grassroots activists, and public administration scholars seeking to make America’s communities more inclusive, participatory, innovative and successful.

Thinking historically

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 30/07/2020 - 6:00pm in


history, research

Austen Saunders Central banks want to learn from history. They can do so by drawing on decades of work by economic historians, as well as their own archives which manifest layers of institutional memory. But the path from page to policy can be difficult to find. Central banks need therefore to invest in the capacity … Continue reading Thinking historically →

Statement launch and online Parliamentary lobby, Tuesday 21 July

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 16/07/2020 - 8:39pm in

Online meeting: Tuesday 21 July, 5.30-7.00pm

Covid-19 has plunged UK higher education into a deep financial crisis. Tens of thousands of posts are at risk, and over a dozen universities are predicted to be at risk of outright bankruptcy. But the pandemic has exposed problems, rather than creating them. Well before Covid-19, marketisation was wreaking havoc on higher education.

So far, the government has offered only limited support, amounting to little more than a sticking plaster on a fundamentally flawed system.

Through two large online meetings, the Convention for Higher Education has developed a set of demands for policymakers on how to rescue universities and put our higher education system onto a truly sustainable footing.

Now is the time to start pressing our politicians for meaningful action. This starts with an online lobby with the Shadow Higher Education Minister, Emma Hardy MP.

This is a crucial opportunity to take real action to defend our universities and students. Please join us!


  • Prof John Holmwood (Campaign for the Public University) will introduce the Convention for Higher Education’s recommendations for a policy response.
  • Representatives from the hardest-hit institutions (including Reading, Liverpool, SOAS) will share what is happening to them.
  • Emma Hardy MP, Labour shadow Higher Education minister, will outline the risks to universities and what Labour believes the government should do to provide support.
  • Lord Rowan Williams (Council for the Defence of British Universities) and Matt Crilly (NUS Scotland President) will offer short responses.

Other speakers have been invited to discuss how we can build the movement to defend higher education and access. We will also take as many questions from the floor as possible. 

The meeting was recorded.

An article on Basic Income funded by sovereign money

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Thu, 09/07/2020 - 5:58pm in



Geoff Crocker has published an article in the Real-world economic review: ‘Inequality and the case for UBI funded by sovereign money‘ The current economic system is generating increasing inter-personal inequality in income and wealth. This is well documented by several observers, including others in this collection of essays, such as James Galbraith, and not least […]

The UK: A Summer discussion series

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Tue, 07/07/2020 - 1:40am in


News, research

The Basic Income Conversation is launching a Summer Discussion Series on Basic Income. It’s a 3 part series that explores the Future of Work, Pilots, and Monetary Financing – some of the most talked about subjects when it comes to UBI. The first event is on Wednesday 15th July, 6.30pm on Basic Income & the Future […]

Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century (June 11)

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Mon, 08/06/2020 - 10:00pm in



The following event was shared by our friend Sterling Speirn, who has served on the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship along with NCDD Members Martha McCoy and Carolyn Lukensmeyer. Register to attend at the link below!

Our Common Purpose: Reinventing American Democracy for the 21st Century

Join us for the release of the final report of the Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship. Hear from the Commissioners, dedicated Americans, and organizations who came together to make these recommendations. Learn more about the steps we can take to improve the resilience of our democracy by 2026, our nation’s 250th anniversary.

This event takes place Thursday, June 11th at 1:00 PM Eastern/10:00 AM Pacific. Please register to join us via Zoom videoconference at

The event features Commission Co-chairs:
Danielle Allen, Director, Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics, Harvard University
Stephen B. Heintz, President, Rockefeller Brothers Fund
Eric Liu, President and CEO, Citizen University

Moderated by Judy Woodruff, Anchor, PBS NewsHour

With Remarks by:
David Brooks, Columnist, The New York Times
and David Oxtoby, President, American Academy of Arts & Sciences

The Commission on the Practice of Democratic Citizenship, a project of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, will deepen the national dialogue around democracy, citizenship, and community, by exploring civic engagement and political participation in the United States today and will set out a plan of action for promoting the values and behaviors that define effective citizenship in a diverse 21st century democracy. Read more about the Commission here.

Smart People Work Everywhere - using your research skills outside academia

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Wed, 19/12/2018 - 2:20am in


Academia, research

A panel discuss using your research degree outside academia. Research degrees - what are they good for? Can you use the skills you have acquired during your DPhil in a career outside academia - and why would you want to? Professor Philip Bullock, Director of TORCH, chairs this panel discussion with individuals from a diverse range of employment sectors who use the skills they acquired during their research degrees in their current roles. Hear about their career paths to date, learn more about their current roles, and find out how they utilise their research skills in their professional lives. The panellists are Professor Kate Williams (author, historian, TV presenter and Professor of History at the University of Reading), Dr Mark Byford (partner at Egon Zehnder) and Dr Michael Pye (Investment Manager at Baillie Gifford).

Equality and the REF 2021 consultation

Published by Anonymous (not verified) on Fri, 08/09/2017 - 9:06am in



Does the potential for the use of headcounts in determining REF2021 submissions run the risk of breaching equalities law? James Hand highlights the potential issues.

The post Equality and the REF 2021 consultation appeared first on Wonkhe.