Donnerstag, 1. Januar 2009

Cutting Through The Many Perspectives On Participative Processes

Informal participative processes not only go by many different names, the perspectives on them are also highly divergent in scope. That's a real problem, because without a common framework for all of these processes, the phenomenon can not adequatly be perceived, analyzed, evaluated, improved, and lobbied for.

Here's a quick list (to be updated in the future) of just some of the perspectives on informal participative processes:

Over at Learning Exchange at the NCDD, they describe seven streams of practice of dialogue and deliberation.

At Procedere, we propose to cut through that mesh of perspectives and simply say:
  • all these participatory processes are informal political processes, as distinguished from formal political processes, which are regulated by law
  • what is not decisivly important about these informal participatory processes is that they are participative - because it's the nature of any process that it is integrative of its elements, and in all those cases, the elements happen to be citizens, experts, or whatever type of stakeholder engaged
  • but what is important is that they are informal processes
  • in other words, it is decisive to understand the process character, if you want to design such informal political processes
  • and that someone is the facilitator, leading the process. Her know-how and competence is decisive.
Participation, to be sure, is relevant, not the least for its normative implications. But it's not participation itself which makes participatory processes effective as collective change processes. It's process that matter: what happens when, in what order. It's the how-question that matters: how to proceed?, that needs to be answered.

Organized Dialogue is a model based on these insights. This blog serves the process facilitators by exploring OD as a tool for change.

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