Social innovations to spark “wise democracy”

Wise Democracy Parade

In communities, cities, states, and nations … and globally … we are facing impossible-seeming problems like:

  • Deep inequities ... poverty, prejudice, elite power, neighborhood blight, etc.
  • Institutional failures ... education, health care, justice, security, etc.
  • Intractable problems ... punishing economic cycles, addictive substances, environmental destruction, etc.
  • Flawed decision-making ... disaffected citizens, money-in-politics, partisan gridlock, etc.
At the Center for Wise Democracy we have developed a set of social innovations that offer new possibilities for breakthrough progress on these issues. The innovations are now being adopted and proven to work. They can be set in motion by forward-thinking government leaders or by citizen groups. Some examples are:
  • In Central Europe, government leaders now use the Wisdom Council to involve and empower citizens, build the spirit of community, and leap forward difficult public issues. The process has proven so successful that all four parties of the Parliament of Vorarlberg amended the state Constitution to include the Wisdom Council.
  • Citizen groups in Victoria BC, Pleasantville NY, Port Townsend WA, the Rogue Valley of OR, Asheville NC, and other communities have implemented Wisdom Council experiments to facilitate citizen empowerment.
  • We aspire to a national Wisdom Council in the U.S. (and to a global Wisdom Council). See this two-minute cartoon video created by Martin Rausch to imagine how we might gain the interest of a TV network:
Albert Einstein famously said, "today's problems cannot be solved at the same level of thinking that created them." Right. We propose a different kind of thinking ... choice-creating vs. decision-making. And we propose a way to facilitate choice-creating into our collective thinking process as well as our individual thinking.
Three
social innovations make it possible for large systems of people to solve today’s seemingly impossible problems:
  1. Choice-creating … is the heartfelt quality of thinking where we all face the important issues creatively and collaboratively and achieve win/win progress through shifts and breakthroughs. This quality of thinking is the heart of "true democracy." (See the chart contrasting decision-making, consensus, and choice-creating.)
  2. Dynamic Facilitation … provides the ability for one person to reliably evoke the spirit of choice-creating in a group of people, so they quickly achieve unanimous perspectives on ill-defined, impossible-seeming issues. (See the chart comparing Dynamic Facilitation with traditional facilitation.)
  3. The Wisdom Council … is a way to evoke the spirit of choice-creating throughout a large system of people, like an organization, city or nation. This way we can start facing the really important issues and co-determine what to do ... where the thinking process builds the spirit of community rather than tearing it apart. The Wisdom Council convenes a series of small groups of randomly selected people. They are dynamically facilitated to face difficult, ill-defined issues and co-create unanimous perspectives. These random, unanimous groups act as symbolic representations of "We the People" and shift the public conversation from power-struggle to choice-creating. Different forms of Wisdom Council include:
  1. Society's Breakthrough ... is a strategy to apply the Wisdom Council to the national and global levels.
See the 22 minute video interview created by Hemma Spreitzhofer and the people at KOMUNARIKO. Filmed Feb. 13, 2012 in Salzburg, Austria, Jim Rough describes Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council



206.459.8429 or 360.385.7118 info@wisedemocracy.org www.wisedemocracy.org

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