National Dialogue Network Draft Plan


Publication: 2013-08-09


Introduction -- In these times of increasingly complex and urgent challenges, the vision and intention of this proposal is to contribute significantly to strengthening the capacity, sense of responsibility, and desire of people to actively participate in their own self-governance. This is an essential, but certainly not a sufficient element for a well-functioning, robust democracy. Lack of confidence in the American political process is dangerously high. This National Dialogue Network will create space for high-quality dialogue and deliberation in-person and online using the best tools and methods available from a coalition of supporting organizations and individuals. Periodically (with the frequency depending on resources), people of all ages and backgrounds will gather (using in-person or on-line methods—encouraging both random and/or self-selected participants) to discuss important public issues. Collaborating organizations and conveners will be empowered to conduct and customize these gatherings so that they are most relevant to the specific needs of their communities. If you have not seen it yet, please watch the video descripton of the process this document explains in more detail:

Disclaimer -- All ideas presented in this document are my own and in no way speak for the NCDD board or its membership. I draw upon the nearly 50 years of experience and practice of my father and the operational models of his many Dick Spady Legacy Projects -- the most recent being the Community Forums Network of Washington State. This proposal is intended to: Encourage and strengthen broad public engagement on national issues by ordinary everyday Americans and Optionally provide a means for others (public and private) to adapt and extend national core materials to their natural constituants (locally, regionally, or statewide) and/or their methodologies.


Name:Owen Ambur


Name:National Dialogue Network



  • NDN Working GroupA working group would be tasked with the establishment, operation, and management of the National Dialogue Network. The working group responsible for the National Dialogue Network should be a team of collaborative volunteers drawn from the organizational and individual membership ranks of NCDD. NDN itself will seek collaborations with other independent national dialogue projects as they emerge from other institutions in order to build capacity for as many people as possible and from wherever the source. All representatives on the working group are expected to attend virtual meetings, speak their minds freely, and participate in the decisions of the working group. All representatives are free to withdraw their support and involvement in the working group at any time. New representatives can be invited with approval of the working group. Do you have suggestions for working group participants? -- add their names below so we can follow up (its OK to add your own name too):

  • John SpadySeattle, Civic Entrepreneur for a National Dialogue Network and author of a Catalyst Award proposal at:

  • Craig Paterson

  • Mary Dumas

  • Michael Briand

  • Roshan Bliss

  • Doug Zenn

  • Colin Gallagher

  • Tyler Goulet(added January 23 after submitting final Catalyst Award proposal)

  • NDN Advisory CommitteeThanks to Lisa Heft for reminding me of this potential resource for the working group. An advisory board should be established to advise working group members in their efforts. Suggestions for advisory board invitees can be added below. Please provide name and field of expertise -- multiple field suggestions are welcome:

  • Lisa HeftFacilitation, Access and Inclusion and Referrals Clearinghouse advisor

  • Peggy HolmanMedia advisor

  • Stephanie NestlerodeOrganizational Performance advisor

  • Stephen BuckleyEngagement Metrics advisor

  • Steve StrachanPolitical and Government Relations advisor (and former King County Sheriff)

  • Daniel ClarkNational Dialogue advisor

  • Faith TrimblePolicy Research and Analysis advisor

  • Rosa ZubizarretaCommunication and Facilitation advisor

  • Linda Blong,Process Design advisor

  • Cheryl Honey[RIP]

  • Sarah ThomsonProcess Design advisor (added Feb 2)