Facilitate a new spirit of community ... Here’s a simple strategy to
- Involve more people more deeply, where they co-determine wise solutions to problems
- Educate the citizenry to understand issues in their complexity
- Spark a new spirit of valuing diversity ... and realizing better solutions because of the diversity
- Empower people to solve big, impossible-seeming public issues ... something they can use in their personal lives
- 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. One possibility is to invite the 3-day “Dynamic Facilitation, choice-creating and the Wisdom Council” seminar to be held in your community and encourage key community members to attend. This seminar, which has been taught to rave reviews all over the world, provides the new-paradigm understandings, an opportunity to practice the leadership skills, and the opportunity for local people make a plan. The leadership skills – helping people face and solve seemingly impossible issues -- can be applied to one’s professional and personal life as well as to “community democracy.”
- Set up a Community of Practice. Often local participants in the seminar will choose to keep meeting, further developing their DF skills by facilitating meetings in different organizations. Here’s a way to begin building community awareness about the potential of shifting people’s thinking from “decision-making” to “choice-creating.”.
- Conduct a Community Wisdom Council. At some point the Community of Practice (or the Community Foundation, or government) may bring together a convener group ... e.g. from media, government, church groups, youth, etc. This group provides for a regular Wisdom Council to address difficult issues in the community. 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 addressing a difficult issue in the spirit of choice-creating. They reach unity on a perspective and strategy, and share this unity and the story of how it was achieved with the community. Then they disband.
- Facilitate “Community Democracy.” If a Wisdom Council is held regularly, every four months or so, this process establishes a new form of public conversation,where the people get involved and where “We the People” provide clear direction about the public interest. This new public conversation evokes “Community Democracy.” Wisdom Councils are relatively inexpensive and simple to convene. A community foundation, for example, might host one every four months on issues like the school bond, the hospital expansion, the homeless problem, etc.
EXAMPLES of citizen-initiated Wisdom Councils
- Experiment #1: In October 2014 citizen groups in North Carolina convened a set of seminars on "Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council" and then a Wisdom Council. 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: Victoria BC a gathering of citizens organized a set of Wisdom Council events that built a spirit of community that is continuing now under the auspices of the city council. See www.WiseDemocracyVictoria.org
- Example #4: See how one community uses the Wisdom Council process to transcend its past
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