The Deliberative Democracy Consortium

Jul 28th
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The DDC is proud to be one of several organizations collaborating to create Participedia - - the world’s primary repository of information on citizen participation, public deliberation, and collaborative governance. The development of Participedia is led by Archon Fung of the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard and Mark Warren at the University of British Colmbia. Participedia is an open-source, Internet-based “participatory knowledge tool” that will allow hundreds of researchers and practitioners not only to catalogue, but also to compare the performance of participatory political processes.


Democracy Helpline

The growth of democratic governance has been a grassroots phenomenon, but most of these efforts to mobilize citizens have been initiated by traditional kinds of leaders. The promise of the Democracy Helpline, a project of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and its Partners, is to enable a broader array of people to make use of these powerful democratic strategies and principles.

The Democracy Helpline will be an unprecedented resource that people will be able to access by phone or on the Internet. Community stories will be the essence of the Helpline: the most valuable way to inspire and prepare new organizers is to give them narratives of existing projects that give them inspiration and useful lessons.


Teaching Democracy in Public Administration

Teaching Democracy in Public Administration

Why should public administration educators be rethinking their approach to democracy? Is “collaborative governance” broadening to include (or evolving into?) “democratic governance?” How should PA schools teach democratic principles and strategies? Find out how some of your colleagues answered these questions, and add your own thoughts to the mix.

An article by Matt Leighninger called "Teaching Democracy in Public Administration: A roundtable discussion on trends and future prospects," is included in the latest issue of the Journal of Public Deliberation. The issue, a symposium on the ways in which higher education can contribute to democratic governance, was guest-edited by Nancy Thomas of the Democracy Imperative and Martin Carcasson of Colorado State.

Find it at 



Much of the work of the DDC is accomplished by four Task Groups:

The DDC is embarking on a new set of activities, each of which is aligned with one of four key priorities:


What Does Public Innovation Mean?

By Richard C. Harwood

Recently, I was on the public radio program "Innovation Trail" in Rochester, N.Y. to talk about " public innovation ." The station posted the following statement on its website about my appearance : "Two recent interviews by Innovation Trail served as reminders of how often the 'innovation conversation' is framed in terms of technology and economics..." But as we discussed on-air, there's another way to define it.

Rochester is home to Eastman Kodak, the venerable though now long-suffering company best known for making camera film and now feverishly trying to transform itself into a digital technology company. To Kodak, innovation is about developing new product lines that generate high profits. But Rochester also is trying to transform itself from a town once dependent upon Kodak to a community with a more diverse economic base, a revitalized downtown and stronger public schools, among other goals.

Even when talk turns to innovation regarding community goals, the tendency...


Making Public Participation Legal -- Brookings recap

Making Public Participation Legal -- Brookings recap

By Charlie Wisoff

On October 23, 2013, the Brookings Institution held a panel presentation on a model municipal ordinance and a model state act for public participation. The presentation, titled “Making Participation Legal,” was the culmination of a year’s work of the Working Group on Legal Frameworks for Public Participation, consisting of public participation practitioners and researchers, local public officials, and lawyers. Notable groups represented include the National League of Cities, the International City/County Management Association (ICMA), the National Civic League, America Speaks, and the American Bar Association. Moderator Matt Leighninger and panelists Lisa Amsler and Mike Huggins represented the Working Group. During the Brookings event, the panelists explained the background and main features of the model ordinance and act. A defining theme of the conversation was the extent to which the proposed laws promote, as opposed to simply make a space for, public officials to ...


The Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review

The Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review

In March 2012, Elliot Shuford of the Oregon Citizens' Initiative Review participated in a colloquium on deliberative democracy organized by the Participatory Governance Initiative of Arizona State University. In this interview with Participatory Governance Initiative co-director Daniel Schugurensky, Elliot recounts the history of the “Citizens’ Initiative Review,” explains how it works, and shares some of the main lessons learned. He argues that ballot measures are often complex issues that have significant financial and social implications for taxpayers. Given that the stakes are so high, campaigns and interest groups spend millions on campaign tactics like poll-tested messages and sound bytes to shape the debate to their advantage. Their goal is to get votes, and their tactics are primarily meant to influence, not necessarily to inform. He notes that in order to exercise responsibly the right to participate in direct democracy, voters should have reliable and clear information about ba...


G1000: Deliberative democracy in Belgium

by Peter Vermeersch

For more than 500 days Belgium has been without a government. Responding to this political crisis, an independent group of Belgian citizens - from various walks of life and different parts of the country, none of them politicians, but all passionate defenders of democracy – launched the idea of organizing a large citizens’ summit called G1000. It will be the largest exercise in deliberative democracy in Belgium so far.

On 11 November 2011, the G1000 will bring together a random sample of 1000 Belgian citizens to discuss the future of Belgium. This will be done by inviting 100 tables of 10 people to talk about a number of topics that have been identified as major concerns (the identification of topics has happened through an extensive survey). The discussions will be facilitated by moderators and translators. In a later phase, 24 randomly chosen citizens will meet at regular occasions to develop the initial decisions into concrete policy proposals.

Belgium has no clear ...



The Deliberative Democracy Consortium (DDC) is a network of practitioners and researchers representing more than 50 organizations and universities, collaborating to strengthen the field of deliberative democracy. The Consortium seeks to support research activities and to advance practice at all levels of government, in North America and around the world.

[Image: AmericaSpeaks' 21st Century Town Meeting]


JPD logoThe Journal of Public Deliberation is a collaboration between the DDC, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2), and the Center for Civic Discourse and Democracy at Kansas State University. An online, refereed journal, JPD is the flagship publication in its field, and an important catalyst for the rapid growth of interest in democracy, citizenship, and participation. Find it at


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Deliberative Democracy Handbook

The Deliberative Democracy Handbook is the first book to bring together the best practices and thinkin on deliberative citizen participation processes. Deliberative democracy is the nationwide movement to make citizen participation meaningful and effective. Learn more...

Deliberative Democracy Handbook Cover

The Next Form of Democracy

Beneath the national radar, the relationship between citizens and government is undergoing a dramatic shift. The stories of civic experiments in "The Next Form of Democracy: How Expert Rule Is Giving Way to Shared Governance -- and Why Politics Will Never Be the Same" by DDC Executive Director Matt Leighninger show us the realpolitik of deliberative democracy, and illustrate how the evolution of democracy is already reshaping politics. Learn more...

Journal of Public Deliberation
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Democracy Helpline

Deliberative Democracy HelplineThe growth of democratic governance has been a grassroots phenomenon. The promise of the Democracy Helpline, a project of the Deliberative Democracy Consortium and its Partners, is to enable a broader array of people to make use of these powerful democratic strategies and principles. Learn more...