Disciplined dialogues for transformation

Our non-profit dialogic design organization (Institute for 21st Century Agoras) is currently underway with an international dialogue being convened for over the next two weeks with scholars, designers, educators, and activists on the question:

“In the context of Obama’s vision for engaging stakeholders from all walks of life in a bottom-up democracy employing Internet technology, what factors do we anticipate will emerge as inhibitors to the actualization of his vision?”

Our intention is to create a consensus mapping of the factors that must be anticipated, negotiated, and mediated to accomplish the revolutionary goals of the next era of the American vision. As people worldwide have a stake in the restoration of values and revisioning of the American promise, we have participants from nearly every continent.

This engagement of US, Canadian, German, South African, Greek, Mexican, Australian, and UK participants is multisynchronic – mediated across multiple times, time zones, and places – by asynchronous wiki services and synchronous teleconferences. The structured dialogic design (SDD) methodology is employed as a means of faciltating a disciplined dialogue across multiple languages and perspectives, yet generating authentic agreement on consensus. In systems science, it is a cybernetics-inspired design method, an example of de Zeeuw’s Third Phase Science.

SDD displays the emerging progression of dialogue contributions in multiple visual and text formats, the central disctinction being the Influence Map – visually showing root cause analysis – using the Cognisystem software. An example of such a mapping is shown here (link to full size).

Also see Agoras Director Tom Flanagan’s article about the SDD methodology applied in community design in the current Design Management Review.

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