IF reports and the public discussions of them are generally thought of as conceptual and horizonal in the sense that they attempt to be anticipatory and transcend specific problems and particular solutions.
A former panelist from the “Democracy Project” approached me with the proposal to use one of our reports in a discussion approach very geared to current events and identifiable policy tension points.
The proposal is to use modified form of an IF discussion with the IF report The United States’ Democratic Promise as a starting point for practical applications of the report’s conceptual possibilities.
The idea is to have an open election year discussion of the report in terms of issues exposed by ongoing campaigns in Wisconsin and at the national level.
I volunteered for this mission.
We start with the following framework for this discussion:
- We will ask participants to read the report so that it may be discussed thoroughly and in detail.
- We will apply IF “sanctuary” rules to this report discussion: what is said by individuals in the room stays in the room.
- We will attempt to recruit diverse viewpoints and a range of practical political experiences.
- We will record all insights and possible actions that lend themselves to policy applications as expressed by any participant.
- We agree to help proponents develop insights and possible actions into policy expressions even if we do not agree with the direction they take.
- We will revisit this framework from time to time to evaluate its results and adjust where appropriate.
- At the end of discussions we will evaluate any “findings” or “conclusions” and attempt to make a group decision about whether to “go public” with the results.
I will co-facilitate these discussions with my former panelist, but may shift more into the role or observer/recorder if discussion flow permits. I expect to report on these discussions as they unfold.