Poverty and Wealth in America – final report published by the National Dialogue Network


The culminating results and insights from the National Dialogue Network (NDN) about its 2013 inaugural national conversation on Poverty and Wealth in America were presented during the NCDD conference in Reston, VA, October 17-19, 2014.

A PDF copy of that report is available through this link.

Thank you again to all the people that helped make the National Dialogue Network, and its inaugural effort, a success. Your names are documented on the cover page of the referenced report.

And just to document again how the NDN came to be, I wanted to leave this trail of links to previous posts about the idea (see below)… creating a national scale infrastructure, that is decentralized and collaborative, and that can help the most locally focused groups of people, organizations, and institutions, better engage their natural scale of constituents or members about issues important to themselves. AND THEN taking locally developed materials and inserting a national scale “Opinionnaire® Survey”, packaging it all up, and distributing it all to anyone else, ANYWHERE ELSE, that wants to engage their (other) constituents and community members in a similar conversation.
Contact me if you want to unpack this last paragraph further.




If you have other thoughts about any of this, please either leave a comment below or contact me privately. I continue to refine the tools and infrastructure of the National Dialogue Network… this is all available without charge to NCDD members. Please let me know how I can help you do something similar with your community — big or small —
“Because We Are All In This Together!”


Peace Education Center in Lansing, Michigan, holds community dialogues on Poverty and Wealth in April


An exciting message from Terry Link in Lansing, Michigan, describes upcoming community events at Michigan State University (on April 4) and Lansing Community College (on April 9) that are organized by the Peace Education Center and co-sponsored by big name community supporters.

Hello John,
Just wanted to let you know that we finally have all the pieces aligned to run the NDN program on Poverty and Wealth here in Lansing, MI. We have two sessions organized – the first at MSU for the larger campus community , nearly 60,000 potential participants, although we’ll be happy with any more than 50. The second to be held at the local community college on downtown Lansing. The local Peace Education Center is the organizing force for both (I am a board member) but as you will see from the flyers we’ve solicited co-sponsorship from different entities for each event.

We hope to have the surveys completed and will find volunteers to submit them online back to NDN. We will also be doing an interview in advance of the events on our public radio station’s public affairs show at a date yet to be determined. I will keep you both posted as we move ahead. I will be travelling March 13-27, so you likely won’t hear anything further back from me until I return. Below is the note I sent out to campus sponsors this morning. For more info see the website

All good things,
Terry Link

The problem of an ever expanding disparity between the “have’s” and the “have-not’s” has become the issue of the day.

Please join us in a respectful conversation about a problem that affects us all. We will use a process and materials designed by the National Dialogue Network, funded by a grant from the National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation. Seated in small groups, we will listen to each other’s perspectives to further our own understanding of the concerns and possibilities surrounding this important issue.
There will be two sessions, one for the Michigan State University (MSU) community and a second one for the larger Lansing community.

MSU Session, APRIL 4, 3–5 PM, MSU Main Library, North Conference Room, 4th Floor West. This event co-sponsored College of Communication Arts and Sciences, College of Social Science, Residential College of Arts and Humanities, Peace and Justice Studies program, Philosophy, and the Peace Education Center of Greater Lansing.

Seating is limited so reserve a seat please send your name and email to: The event flyer can be downloaded here.

Greater Lansing Community Session, APRIL 9, 7-9 PM, Lansing Community College, Administration Building Board Room. This event is hosted by Lansing Community College and sponsored by the Peace Education Center, Michigan League for Public Policy, Capital Area District Library, Power of We Consortium, Justice & Peace Task Force at Edgewood United Church, League of Women Voters – Lansing Area, Red Cedar Friends Meeting, and Common Cause of Michigan. Seating is limited, so to reserve a seat please send your name and email to: The event flyer can be downloaded here.


Zilino demonstration dialogue on Poverty and Wealth in America


Zilino begins demonstration dialogue on Poverty and Wealth in America.

Zilino Invite

Zilino is a new web-based solution for hosting deliberative online forums that enables practitioners to design and manage well structured, well facilitated group conversations.

Please join us for our next Zilino demo dialogue on “Poverty and Wealth in America”, March 3-7, 2014. We’ll be following the materials created by the National Dialogue Network. The expected time commitment for the average participant is roughly three hours total (approx. 15-30 minutes per day), less if you’d prefer to join as a passive observer.

Email, and we’ll send you an invite.


The 2013 NDN public analysis phase begins


Submitted by John Spady: The 2013 National Dialogue Network (NDN) process has now entered “Cycle 4” of a five cycle process where our volunteer working group releases a preliminary graphic report of all responses received as of November 23, 2013 along with the underlying Excel spreadsheet used to create it.

Focusing on Cycle 4

(click to enlarge)

During this phase, the general public is strongly urged to help intrepret the results and submit any and all insights to the working group for review and inclusion in the final summary report that is due before the end of 2013.

I am asking readers of this post to make a small contribution of time to this public analysis phase. Click on both of the following links and just focus on what interests you. Try to understand “what the data is saying.” Then post a comment below with any insights that you are able to glean from the preliminary report.

If you want to see another type of cross tab or have any other questions either ask them below or leave a private comment at 800-369-2342.

Total number of participants who completed the national survey: 105

Preliminary report:

Final Excel data (XLS) download:

View 2013 NDN Participant Responses (105) in a full screen map

Thank you!
John Spady
Volunteer Coordinator for the National Dialogue Network


Infrastructure for Sustaining the National Conversation


There is a great deal of innovation around giving Americans a greater voice in their government, but we still have a long way to go.  That’s why I’m excited to see the National Dialogue Network (NDN) breaking new ground and the Conversation Collaborative’s online experiment from Ben Roberts (a member of the NDN working group.)

The closest thing we currently have to a “national conversation” is the comment section of the NY Times and other major newspapers.  Comments aren’t a conversation.  There isn’t enough back-and-forth exchange for participants to inquire more deeply with each other about comments they don’t understand or to explore opposing opinions in a productive way.

Blended models of online, phone-based, and in-person participation are emerging, and there is so much potential there.  As a board member for the 1700-member National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation, I look forward to watching NDN develop and share its lessons learned as it explores ways to fill in the gaps of this vital infrastructure for sustaining the national conversation.  Without such infrastructure for earnest and important dialogue, we cannot bring our nation’s collective intelligence to bear on our collective challenges.


Bridge Building and Other Civic Infrastructures


A different approach to national dialogue-

The title of this post is the same title of a presentation I’ll be making on September 23, 2013, at the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2) conference in Salt Lake City. Will you be there?

Tim Bonnemann and I will be summarizing our efforts since receiving our different 2012 Catalyst Awards from the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD). If you are reading this then you have a clue as to the efforts that has been going on behind the scenes by the many “working group” volunteers and advisors to this new site of the National Dialogue Network.

What’s different about the National Dialogue Network?

My shortest response to this question is simply that, “the NDN seeks to coordinate collaborative local conversations into mindful national dialogue.” There is a lot contained in that statement that I hope you’ll take a moment more to think about.

Our current “5-cycle process” creates “basic core materials” for a national audience on one important public issue per year — ideas for a more rapid response model are invited! Core materials include (at a minimum) a Conversation Guide and a special “Opinionnaire® Survey” that are provided to all participants (physically at their own expense or online without cost.) One important feature of our process allows any group to privately extend the core materials and the survey with additional content that is important to their audience. A showcase of this feature in action is the Conversation Collaborative’s online experiment from Ben Roberts (a member of our NDN working group.)

That’s all I have for now… but please give me your comments. Blogs can be lonely activities without a little feedback!