Creative Insight Council (CIC)
The CIC is a way that government leaders can achieve breakthrough progress on ill-defined, partisan, or impossible-seeming issues by involving citizens. It is like the Wisdom Council Process except that the issue is known ahead of time and the process only goes on for a limited time.
The CIC involves a randomly selecting twelve or so people to address some difficult issue. The process is short, maybe just two days. The first half-day is where the CIC hears from different sides of the issue, stakeholders or experts. Then they are sequestered for a day and a half to be dynamically facilitated. During this time they usually reframe the issue and determine an unanimous perspective. In a public ceremony they present their conclusions back to the public. The usual response from the community is basically, "Yes, I think so too." The point is to create a new public conversation on the issue. So it might be valuable to repeat the process for three or four times. One CIC every couple of months, possibly with government and other providers meeting between sessions and responding publicly.
Example #1: The city of Bregenz Austria used a CIC to circumvent the usual partisan battle over developing its downtown. A random citizen group met with developers and city leaders and were then dynamically facilitated to determine an unanimous perspective. They reframed the issue to be "how to link the City to the Lake." Then they suggested a way to do it, by raising the base level of the proposed project from the ground to the second floor, which would allow citizens to walk over the highway and railroad tracks and then down to the lake. It was a win/win proposal now being implemented ... without the usual battles.
A non-profit organization, coalition of non-profit organizations, or the administration could convene a CIC on the issue. Probably, it would be best if there were a series of three different CIC's scheduled, one each month for three months. The pre-chosen topic given to the first CIC could be simple like: "the budget mess."
In the first two days the CIC would hear from the two opposing sides and from a couple of experts. Then the doors would be closed allowing Dynamic Facilitation to evoke the spirit of choice-creating among Council members. In the next few days the CIC would uncover systemic understandings and a new framing of the issue. They would determine an unanimous perspective. Then the CIC members file on stage to present their conclusions to the nation. Their presentation has three parts: 1) Each person introduces him/her self and shares a little about his/her experience in the process. 2) The group tells its collective story of what happened, how they started and key insights along the way. 3) The CIC shares it's conclusions, what needs to happen. After this presentation, they disband. But all citizens are invited to talk about the conclusions. And each person is invited through the web to contribute his/her level of resonance to the CIC's conclusions. To the extent that people resonate with these conclusions and to the extent that everyone recognizes this resonance, a legitimate voice of the people is created. It's a way to build a viewpoint of the people on a hot issue that cannot be ignored.
Example #3: In October 2011 the government of the state of Vorarlberg, Austria—including the governor, legislature and opposition party— convened a CIC on the issue: "Beyond Growth—How can we secure our quality of life?" This CIC of citizens presented their results to the elected officials in a ceremony held in the foyer of their building. It was everyone sitting around tables talking and smiling. (The event was live-cast on the web.) The CIC had sets of conclusions about the Future of Politics, the Future of Education and others and presented these conclusions to the assembled legislators and the media. The point was higher level of conversation that was sparked within the Parliament. Now, this process has been embedded into the Constitution of Vorarlberg.
How is the CIC different?
The CIC works within the system to gain better results, while the Wisdom Council Process promises to transform the system.
See the chart comparing the tools of Deliberative Democracy with those of Wise Democracy. Also see the chart examining how the CIC measures up to the twelve principles of the Wisdom Council Process.
Interview on the CIC ... Citizen Involvement for Solving Big Issues (10/09)
- The Center for Wise Democracy supports local, national, and global communities in using Wisdom Councils and Creative Insight Councils. www.WiseDemocracy.org
- For more information on Dynamic Facilitation and for a network of professionals skilled in Dynamic Facilitation see www.DynamicFacilitation.com.
- Be a supporter. Donate to the Center for Wise Democracy! ... All donations are tax-deductible. We are a 501-c3 organization.