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Overwhelmed by Talking Heads at Emerging Progressives

BY Kaliya Hamlin | Saturday, January 15 2005

I just left the 5th plenary session that I have heard in less then 24 hours at emerging progressives (perhaps less gracefully then I could have). So far all the folks on stage are 'elders' in the party and movement talking about what they did in the election and how the piece that they did worked and that messaging is key.

There have been virtually no opportunities for strategic face-to-face networking between the young leaders here. I hope that some of the technologies that can be considered when examining politics and how it can be different include face-to=face technologies that have evolved since we got voting for representatives in the 1700's.

Open Space would be great to use in this sort of gathering – it supports large groups of people talking about what they are most passionate about in self-organized groups over the space of the weekend. It was innovated BECAUSE ‘the best parts of a conference’ are often the coffee and lunch breaks, this format supports that quality of dialogue and inquiry over a whole weekend – not just between the talking heads.

For even more ideas about these technologies used in the context of democracy in the larger society we can look That Away to the whole National Coalition on Dialogue and Deliberation website and this Participatory Practice page on the wiki (editable webpage).

In terms of thinking about the intersection of online tools and how they could be paired with these new innovative large scale deliberative democratic process, Tom Atlee, director of the Co-Intelligence Institute , has done some amazing thinking on what might be possible and questions that need to be considered. It is worth looking at Extreme Tao of Democracy Inquiry

I am working with Tom to figure out how to have a discussion about these ideas and from that to take action to experiment in new ways with these tools. You can contact me if you are inspired by this idea :)