The NCDD 2014 conference guide book is out, and quite a number of sessions and other programming elements deal with digital engagement and technology for supporting dialogue and deliberation.

Friday short talks:

  • The Anti-Crossfire: 90-Second Stories About What IF – Come to hear stories about thoughtful public policy discussions that the Interactivity Foundation has conducted in-person and online over the last decade in different states and countries and get free discussion materials.
  • Desperately Seeking a Family Doctor: Involving Citizens & Stakeholders in Healthcare System Design – How we engaged a city and its doctors in a meaningful conversation – online and in person – about how to find 1 in every 6 citizens a family doctor.

Workshop Session A (Friday):

  • Getting Local Government Participation Right: Alexandria, Virginia’s Guide to Public Engagement – Many cities and counties are strengthening their public deliberation and engagement methods to meet the needs of diverse communities for voice and impact. Learn about Alexandria’s citizen-driven process to affirm participation goals and chart distinct involvement methods. Documents to plan multiple participation options on a project are joined by practical tools on public meetings and online outreach. Resources and cases from California and North Carolina will provide similar “ready to use” materials.

D&D Showcase (Friday):

  • Visit with 25 incredible presenters, including several technology providers and software solutions (see previous post).

Workshop Session B (Saturday):

  • Text, Talk, Act: A Breakthrough in Youth Civic Engagement – Engaging the next generation in our democracy will require a fundamental shift in approach. Text messaging is the most popular digital activity for youth – with over 87% texting monthly. With this in mind, Creating Community Solutions, part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health, developed Text, Talk, Act. Following a brief introduction, participants in the session will join in a Text, Talk, Act event, utilizing cell phones and small group conversation. Presenters will then lead a brainstorming session about how this idea can be brought into our field.
  • Where is the Public in Public Budgeting? – There is no better expression of the values of a culture than its budget: the formal process for making decisions about where and to whom resources should be directed. Typically, budget decisions are made by elected officials without much public involvement. The process is complex, there are decades-old commitments to honor (e.g. veterans), there are reams of data to sift, and math is often involved. But could budgeting be improved with the addition of more thoughtful processes? Learn about and discuss two promising practices–an online simulation and a direct outreach to residents.

Workshop Session C (Saturday):

  • Moving From Nervous to Confident – A Peer Exchange on Online Engagement Tools – It’s clear that online tools will play a role in the next generation of engagement. Still, many practitioners remain nervous and have questions. Let’s talk about them! As a peer exchange, this lively session will include experienced practitioners who can offer a unique perspective: each was once skeptical and now uses a wide variety of tools regularly. They come bearing stories of challenges, successes, and best practices. Learn by stories — Experienced panel, great case studies. Learn by doing — Try them yourself. Learn by dialogue – Ask your questions, join this lively dialogue!

Day 2 Plenary (Saturday):

  • Working in small group, participants will discuss strategies for overcoming specific barriers to the field. Each table’s top three ideas will be collected and entered into the online participation platform Codigital, so conference participants and others in the D&D community who aren’t present will have the opportunity to hone and prioritize the ideas, providing guidance to NCDD and many others who are interested in paving the way for this important work.

Workshop Session E (Sunday):

  • Video Deliberations: the Opportunity and Challenge – Online video conferencing is quickly becoming an important tool for dialogue and deliberation. This session will feature lessons learned from a number of projects that used Google Hangouts, Webex and other platforms to conduct live video conferences for people to discuss public policy issues—including Interactivity Foundation projects, Face the Facts Hangouts, Soliya’s cross-cultural web dialogues, and the NCDD 2012 Catalyst Award winner Real Dialogues. Through recorded video, live demonstrations and group discussion, participants will explore the strengths, challenges, capacities and pitfalls of online video conferencing for public discourse.

Day 3 Plenary (Sunday):

  • Gamification, Rapid Response & Our Path Forward – In our final plenary, we’ll begin with a panel focused on Gamification and Public Engagement. This panel will examine how the principles of game design can strengthen public engagement efforts. We’ll look at several inspiring examples of gamified public engagement and identify ways to think about these tools for your work. We’ll also explore when a game design approach might not be appropriate.

The community engagement phase earlier this year identified people’s interest in online tools and digital engagement, and the conference agenda offers a wide range of learning opportunities. Very nicely done!