Getting large numbers of people into ongoing discussions that lead to shared understanding and commitment and actions that grow each year is a huge challenge.
MIT has created an open-source tool called The Deliberatorium. I would like to apply this to the work the Tutor/Mentor Connection is doing but need partners who can organize and provide facilitation to the process.
I posted this comment on the page I just pointed to.
It seems that this could add value to community organizing and on-going problem solving if the facilitation team were sustained for many years. Have you done any experiments with using this as a project management tool? For instance, if you put a set of blueprints for building a hotel on line, you could set up a template for discussions starting with the initial design and financing work through the first steps of laying the foundation through the final step of opening the doors to new customers.
If another group of people wanted to build a similar hotel in a different places they could follow that template and even learn from the work done in earlier projects. I have used concept maps to describe strategies that would result in more and better non-school tutor/mentor programs in inner city neighborhoods. http://tinyurl.com/TMC-4-Part-Strategy
If discussion nodes could be attached to each of the steps of these maps, the facilitation could be a form of project management intended to get more people involved, informed and active in achieving the goals of the project.
Instead of starting a discussion with a blank sheet of paper we’re starting with a goal in mind and working backwards to fill in what we and others already know. As we do that we’re working forward to know more and act on what we know to make volunteer-based tutor/mentor programs available in more places, based on the strategy that is outlined.
Is this possible? Is it already being done this way?