In 2014 we polled our former panelists from IF Project Discussions over the preceding ten years or so to ask for their feedback overall and about their experiences in participating in an IF project. Listed below are some of the comments that we received from our panelists.
When you think back to your time as a panelist, what, if anything, did you find to be most valuable about your participation?
- “Sharing a meal and discussion with a group of folks that I would not have been likely to meet. Hearing the perspectives of older, younger and a somewhat diverse group of folks was inspiring.”
- “No matter how provocative my proposition was, it was tolerated and entertained seriously.”
- “It helped me better understand the current situation and the direction we are heading. In the end it prompted my wife and I to start our business, which we hope will provide for our family for generations to come.”
- “Creating dialogue that is meaningful. That is largely a lost art. Cheers to IF for resuscitating that.”
- “The opportunity to discuss big ideas with peers in a ‘safe’ environment. By safe, I mean an environment free from the posturing and political maneuvering that accompanies most policy discussions in DC. If was refreshing to engage in open, free-flowing discussions knowing that no one was watching, there were no points to be scored on an opponent, and that no one was keeping notes to later use against you what was said during the discussion.”
- “The comments of others were often such a new and refreshing perspective that I left the sessions contemplating my own values and views. I was enriched as an educator and a citizen.”
- “I deepened my personal connection with some of the participants – we went into the experience as strangers and came away as friends.”
- “All the time—I continue to ask myself, “what if” with any new procedure and/or policy change.”
- “Definitely more open to possibilities – actually, now look forward to strange and even exotic approaches that can only come from very different people.”
- “It helped me see the importance of approaching problems or issues with an open mind and from multiple perspectives. It also helped open my eyes to the importance of discussion and the sharing of experiences versus arriving at black-and-white conclusions or answers.”