Engage facilitators to teach neighborhood and organizational representatives how to facilitate short-form dialogue processes / methods. There is an existing network of Obama neighborhood organizers - add in other representatives from local nonprofits, businesses, local government, faith communities and other organizations. To this group, teach proven dialogue methods for engaging conversation and discussion - forms of dialogue which can engage a group in 3 hours or less. Only certain forms work for this but they work very well. These trainings are best done over time to teach a skill, allow practice of the skill, return to share experiences and best practices, apply again: action learning. Dialogue tools help individuals understand across differences, share experiences, listen for common threads in someone else's viewpoint, combine diverse ideas or cultural ways of looking at things to solve problems, gather data to see a full-systems perspective on an issue or opportunity, engage people, foster collaboration, and tap into rich knowledge and cultural diversity in the process. Use professional facilitators who are skilled in these particular methods and who also understand how to teach. They can be the mentors to the community facilitators as a community of learning and practice is fostered. Invitation is essential - invite across organization, region, age, ability, experience, culture, class - the key is to identify and train people who set ego aside in service to the group and its work - who invite and engage rather than direct.
Idea No. 699