Explanation

Engaging with stakeholders and getting their high quality attention and comment has never been harder to achieve. Many key stakeholders and communities have grown disillusioned with consultation activities that do not give them the opportunity to actually deliberate on the issues at hand. Such communities and stakeholders are tied of just been fed a diet of PR information from authorities. This bleak consultation environment has led to the development of more effective alternatives for involving stakeholders and increasing their input and involvement. The trend from on-sided consultation processes to more interactive deliberation and dialog approach can be described as a movement from monologue to dialog. A brief paper discussing this movement is available here.


The Rich Dialog Process (RDP)


The Rich Dialog Process (RDP) is part of this international trend focusing on the importance of deliberation and dialog between stakeholders in regard to social issues. It is part of a trend away from simple one way 'consultation' processes undertaken by authorities to a richer interaction with stakeholders which involves both time for the stakeholders to deliberate on an issue and for there to be some form of dialog between stakeholders around the topic under discussion. 


The Rich Dialog process was developed as a simple approach to dialog which was based on the wide range of such techniques now being used around the world. Such processes include the following: consensus conferences, consensus panels, citizens panels; deliberative polling; Citizen's Jury; standing panel; Charette; reference panel, advisory council, oversight group, citizen review panel; qualitative discussion groups/workshops, focus groups. A more detailed typology of community dialog processes is available here


Ideally dialog processes should be seen as a part of a wider process of decision-making in which the results are fed back into ongoing decision-making by authorities. Of the Rich Dialog Processes which have been undertaken so far (see the front page of this web site), the most successful in this respect has been the RDP on alcohol and drug education in schools. This was because the process directly involved philanthropy and government funders who have responsibility for making funding decisions about the types of school alcohol and drug program which are funded. Their direct involvement in the RDP process meant that their future decision-making could be informed by what took place in the course of the process. A paper on linking dialog processes into the wider context of societal decision-making is available here


References


Duignan, P & Parker, J. (2005) From Monologue to Dialogue: an overview of consultation methods.  [WWW document from the Strategic Evaluation Web Site, 

http://www.strategicevaluation.info/se/documents/133pdff.html]. 


Parker, J. & Duignan, P. (2005) Dialogue Methods: A Typology of Community Dialogue Processes.  [WWW document from the Strategic Evaluation Web Site,  

http://www.strategicevaluation.info/se/documents/132pdff.html].


Duignan, P & Parker, J. (2005) Feeding Outcomes of Dialogue Processes into Decision-making.  [WWW document from the Strategic Evaluation Web Site,  http://www.strategicevaluation.info/se/documents/134pdff.html]. 

 







Creative Commons Copyright Paul Duignan and Jennifer Parker 2008