Facilitate the whole community to get involved, solve public issues and build a new spirit of community ... Here’s a simple strategy to
- More people understand the issues ... and the complexity
- More people get involved, more deeply
- A new spirit of valuing diversity ... realizing better solutions because of the diversity
- Citizen empowerment ... people are capable of solving big, impossible-seeming issues
- Engage people in a new kind of public conversation that’s enjoyable ... instead of one that’s an argument
- Help elected officials to feel more support and be more able to serve the public interest
HOW IT CAN HAPPEN IN YOUR COMMUNITY
- Learn the New Paradigm and skills. Things usually begin with the 3-day “Dynamic Facilitation, choice-creating and the Wisdom Council” seminar held in your community, far cheaper for community members. This seminar, which has been taught to rave reviews all over the world, provides new-paradigm understandings about creative thinking, facilitation and whole-system change. Participants have the opportunity to practice Dynamic Facilitation on issues they care about, plus local people have the opportunity to make a plan. These are the skills for helping people face and solve seemingly impossible issues through shifts and breakthroughs. They can be applied to personal life as well as to “community democracy.”
- Set up a Community of Practice. Often local participants who attended the seminar will choose to keep meeting, further developing their DF skills. This can provide community organizations with a new facilitation capability. It's a way to build community awareness about meeting quality ... especially about the shift from "decision-making" to “choice-creating.”.
- Conduct a series of Community Wisdom Councils. At some point this Community of Practice can help the local Community Foundation (or government) to convene periodic Wisdom Councils on different issues. In a WC process twelve or so citizens are randomly selected every four months or so. They meet for about one and a half days (e.g. Friday evening + all day Saturday) to address a difficult issue from the community. Because of Dynamic Facilitation they achieve shifts and breakthroughs, reach unity on a perspective, and share this unity plus the story of how it was achieved in a community meeting. Then they disband.
- Facilitate “Community Democracy.” When a Wisdom Council is held regularly, every four months or so, this process establishes a new kind of public conversation, where symbolically everyone is involved, and where “We the People” provide clear direction to community leaders. Just the existence of this new public conversation evokes “Community Democracy," where a thoughtful "We the People" provide responsible leadership. Here's a way that a community foundation, for example, might facilitate all the people to determine what to do about the school bond, or the homeless problem, or to establish a brand/theme for the community, etc.
EXAMPLES of citizen-initiated Community Wisdom Councils
- Experiment #1: In October 2014 citizen groups in North Carolina convened a seminar on "Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council" and then a Wisdom Council experiment. See the newspaper article on the results of the Wisdom Council. They also developed their own web page.
- Experiment #2: In the Rogue Valley of Oregon three citizens convened a Wisdom Council ... just one ... but it empowered a “We the People” movement in Ashland OR that eventually reshaped the town charter and town council. See the 22 minute documentary by Joseph McCormick “Democracy in America" as well as Joseph speaking about the effect of this Wisdom Council on Ashland OR.
- Experiment #3: In Victoria BC a gathering of citizens organized a set of Wisdom Council events that built a spirit of community that continued for a time under the auspices of the city council. See www.WiseDemocracyVictoria.org
- Example #4: See how the community of Mauthausen in Austria was able to turn their World War II concentration camp into a base for teaching civil rights.