Artful & Disciplined Dialogue for Today’s Wicked Problems

Peter Jones Dialogic Design, Wu Wei

So was the title was published for the C2D2 conference (Canadian Community for Dialogue and Deliberation) just held in Toronto.  While the room was too small for the 15+ participants, and 90 minutes too short for the ideas and activities, we had an energetic and intellectually engaging session. This was the first public presentation of this mix of Art of Hosting and Structured Dialogue concepts. The session was rather unique at C2D2, and served to raise awareness of the need for progressive engagement of stakeholders for complex (Rittel-style) wicked problems. The slides show methods used in the seminar to move stakeholders from an open dialogue to a structured, focused dialogic design.

C2D2 Artful & Disciplined Dialogue for Wicked Problems

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The session was offered with this description in the proceedings:

Effective change leadership requires negotiating both open and disciplined participation, especially when addressing fuzzy situations such as peace or political reform. What if we treated social and policy issues as wicked problems, concerns that are never “solved,” but are satisfied through evolutionary progression? This approach to social design requires a mix of dialogue styles to enhance ideation and mitigate power in multi-stakeholder engagements. We present both Art of Hosting (open) and Structured Dialogue as a mix of participation models for problem-focused planning and decision-making. While rarely used together today, we explore why both perspectives help in today’s complex concerns in democratic decision-making.

Patricia Kambitsch conducted visual reflection of participant’s ideas from the lecture portion, shown here with a “landscape” model of the explicit propositions (above) and supporting or deep contributions (below the ground line).