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Hi Everyone,

 

I have a wonderful opportunity to try and influence and shift the way in which citizens engage in the political conversation and process in the province in which I live - here in Canada. I have been asked, by one of our major political parties, to design and organize Cafe Conversations in the 83 constituencies in our province to engage our citzens on what are those things that matter to them most. What are their hopes, dreams and concerns. The input will then be used as the basis for developing the party's platform for the next election. They are really looking to try and take a grassroots approach, re-engage people in the democratic process and listen to what the real issues are.

 

In addition to the World Cafes they are also encouraging all party leaders to engage in both kitchen conversations and individual meetings to actively listen and gather feedback on issues. Ideally the same questions will be at the centre of these discussions also.

 

As I was reflecting on and pondering what the questions should be it occurred to me that I don't need to do this alone - I have an entire community out there that I can tap into. So today I reach out to this wonderful community to see if anyone has any thoughts on what 2 -3 awesome, thought provoking questions might be. They need to be thought provoking and also illicit some concrete thinking that we can move forward on.

 

My very initial thinking is a question on what matters to people most, getting at the individual wants, needs, apsiration; then maybe a question that starts to get their imaginations going in terms of what our province could be, the future possibilities; and a final question that starts to get at now what needs to happen to begin moving forward.

 

Although I'm open to any thoughts and suggestions!

 

Thank you so much and have a wonderful week everyone.

 

Warmest Regards,

 

Corrina Chetley-Irwin

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Dear Corinna,

 

I think this is a marvelous opportunity to create political agendas that really serve the people and I´m happy to chip in my 5 cents of thought around the issue.

As far as I understand it, the political party is interested in understanding how they can serve the people best, whom they will be representing in parliament later. I think this is what lies at the heart of every true politician, though many are often perceived as power-driven (and some still might be). 

So what are they really asking for? What do they need to know, so that they can do a good job later?

I agree that it is a good start to have people think about their own environment first: work, home, neighbourhood... If they understand that they can influence these things that matter most to them, you might even spark some civic engagement right there. When listening to all the individual needs, maybe threads will emerge, and the community can move from the question: what is it that matters to me? to the question: what is it that matters to us? Then I imagine it to be important to frame these wishes in political terms and understand how a political action can support the common need.

I´m not familiar enough with the topic to know what exactly is entailed in "political work". Maybe there are more people like me, so I don´t know if the participants can make this translation themselves. Maybe it is something that the members of the political party can do afterwards.

In any case, I think it could be beneficial if the members of the political party had another World-café or open space session, in which they share their impressions from the kitchen conversations, individual talks and harvests from the World-Cafés. Like this, they will not only understand the content and harvest of the conversations, but also get a feeling for the process, that their voters have been through. After all, they are not so different from each other.

 

I hope that this was of any help. I wish you many good conversations.

 

Best greetings,

 

Ursel

 

 

Hello Corrina,

 

Your question and my thinking about it, makes me realize for me as a citizen in the Netherlands, the province is quite far away. Local government is more close, of course. And national government-issues get al lot of media attention. I don't know if in Canada this is the same. So I would ask a question that has to do with distance-proximity. Like " how close do you want the province to be?" Or " how close is the province allowed to come?". And I am thinking about the question " what should I like the province to ask me", if I were invited to this event and have a nice conversation. Well, I hope these thoughts help you.

 

warm regards,

Marjolein

Corinna!

Some time ago, I created "The 4 Million Dreams Project" to talk about how we might shape New Zealand's future.  We developed an appreciative interview for the process.  If we would have gone all the way with this, thousands of interviews might have been logged. I've attached the interview guide, protocol and summary sheet for you here.

 

Recently, I've been experimenting with short AI interviews in pairs and debriefing these within a World Café setting.  It is an ideal way to create common ground and great energy in a larger group.

Attachments:
Here's the summary sheet...

Mary Alice Arthur said:

Corinna!

Some time ago, I created "The 4 Million Dreams Project" to talk about how we might shape New Zealand's future.  We developed an appreciative interview for the process.  If we would have gone all the way with this, thousands of interviews might have been logged. I've attached the interview guide, protocol and summary sheet for you here.

 

Recently, I've been experimenting with short AI interviews in pairs and debriefing these within a World Café setting.  It is an ideal way to create common ground and great energy in a larger group.

Attachments:

Hi Marjolein,

 

Thank you very much for your thoughts. Your question "What would I like the province to ask me?" is very intriguing - as is the whole notion of distance proximity.

 

In terms of the role of the province in Canada, certainly here in Alberta it is quite close - particularly around the oil industry which is in their portfolio and we are a large oil producing province. They are also the ones that legislate and regulate around education and healthcare which are two big ongoing issues. Here in the media we probably hear more about the province than the federal government - and I would think that they have more of an impact on the day-to-day concerns of our citizens than perhaps the federal government. It is a great notion to ponder though! I will have to give it some thought.

 

Thank you again for taking the time to share your thoughts and perspectives.

 

Have a wonderful day!

 

Corrina

Marjolein de Lange said:

Hello Corrina,

 

Your question and my thinking about it, makes me realize for me as a citizen in the Netherlands, the province is quite far away. Local government is more close, of course. And national government-issues get al lot of media attention. I don't know if in Canada this is the same. So I would ask a question that has to do with distance-proximity. Like " how close do you want the province to be?" Or " how close is the province allowed to come?". And I am thinking about the question " what should I like the province to ask me", if I were invited to this event and have a nice conversation. Well, I hope these thoughts help you.

 

warm regards,

Marjolein

Hi Mary Alice,

 

Thank you for sharing these documents. I haven't had the opportunity to read them yet, however am looking forward to it. The idea of combining AI interviews with a world cafe debrief is very intriguing.

 

Thanks!

 

Corrina

Mary Alice Arthur said:

Corinna!

Some time ago, I created "The 4 Million Dreams Project" to talk about how we might shape New Zealand's future.  We developed an appreciative interview for the process.  If we would have gone all the way with this, thousands of interviews might have been logged. I've attached the interview guide, protocol and summary sheet for you here.

 

Recently, I've been experimenting with short AI interviews in pairs and debriefing these within a World Café setting.  It is an ideal way to create common ground and great energy in a larger group.

Hi Ursel,

 

You very effectively summarized exactly what we are trying to accomplish. One of our objectives is really to try and move beyond "political work / speak" and really try to engage with and create a process that everyone one is comfortable being a part of, whether they are politically active or not. The idea of how do we connect with the citizens of our province in a way that they feel comfortable and inspired to participate and not intimidated by the process. We would like this approach to dialogue and conversation to become a part of how the party operates and works in the world moving forward. I really liked your idea about holding a world cafe or open space to debrief the conversations and their impressions of them. We are going to build in a feedback loop of some sort to ensure that we capture these learnings and insights and are able to build on them moving forward.

 

Thanks for taking the time to respond!

 

Corrina

Ursel Biester said:

Dear Corinna,

 

I think this is a marvelous opportunity to create political agendas that really serve the people and I´m happy to chip in my 5 cents of thought around the issue.

As far as I understand it, the political party is interested in understanding how they can serve the people best, whom they will be representing in parliament later. I think this is what lies at the heart of every true politician, though many are often perceived as power-driven (and some still might be). 

So what are they really asking for? What do they need to know, so that they can do a good job later?

I agree that it is a good start to have people think about their own environment first: work, home, neighbourhood... If they understand that they can influence these things that matter most to them, you might even spark some civic engagement right there. When listening to all the individual needs, maybe threads will emerge, and the community can move from the question: what is it that matters to me? to the question: what is it that matters to us? Then I imagine it to be important to frame these wishes in political terms and understand how a political action can support the common need.

I´m not familiar enough with the topic to know what exactly is entailed in "political work". Maybe there are more people like me, so I don´t know if the participants can make this translation themselves. Maybe it is something that the members of the political party can do afterwards.

In any case, I think it could be beneficial if the members of the political party had another World-café or open space session, in which they share their impressions from the kitchen conversations, individual talks and harvests from the World-Cafés. Like this, they will not only understand the content and harvest of the conversations, but also get a feeling for the process, that their voters have been through. After all, they are not so different from each other.

 

I hope that this was of any help. I wish you many good conversations.

 

Best greetings,

 

Ursel

 

 

Hi Corinna,
indeed you don't have to do this all by yourself! As we usually say in Art of Hosting trainings: find your mates! With two or more you are way smarter than alone! What if you would connect with some other people in your country who are masters in AoH and might support you well in your endavour? Or find someone who you trust in AoH matters and do this work - which seems huge and so important! - together.?...
I'm thinking of Chris Corrigan, Kathy Jourdain, Tim Merry - and probably many others, but I'm sure they offer you some support when needed - like organising a conference call to let them listen to your overall questions?

My way of working with questions is that I work with my client(s) until they know what their real questions are. I'm not the one who is deciding on the questions, I only sense if they are at the heart of the matter or not; and I check them out on how opening and wicked they are to spark of some good conversations. Many times I provide my clients with a document that describes what Powerful Questions are. (it is not yet on this website, but you can find it at the World Café site -> Resources)

These were my two cents for now!

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