DESIGNING AND IMPLEMENTING ENGAGEMENT PROCESSES
Every situation is different, and every engagement process should be designed to match the task at hand. This is about more than choosing between big and small processes, or online vs. face-to-face meetings. Informed Participation distinguishes between three differentstylesof public deliberation, each of which engages the participants in a different way:
- Open Dialogue asks people to draw on relevant experience of an issue and to use their natural conversational skills to exchange views and propose options to solve it.
- Deliberative Analysis has more formal rules of engagement and focuses participants’ attention on facts and arguments, and the evidence that support them.
- Narrative-Building draws on the participants’ lived-experience to develop stories about an important change or challenge. Stories are useful because they speak to people in ways they can understand and identify with.
These deliberative “styles” are natural patterns that discussion follows in daily life. For example, sometimes people use lots of narrative or storytelling, while at others they are far more focused on facts and analysis. If the goal is to solve a difficult technical problem, facts and analysis will matter. If the goal is to solve a deep values conflict, narrative may be the better option. We build features like these into a process to shape it in ways that ensure the process always matches the task.