We offer social innovations to help “We the People” solve impossible-seeming public issues and spark “wise democracy”


Is it possible? ... to facilitate “all the people” to come together as “We the People,” face the most important issues and develop win/win solutions, and work together to implement them? ... If we could do this, then you and I would live in a “wise democracy.”

At the Center for Wise Democracy we have developed a set of social innovations which provide for the people to work together in this way ... at all levels

  • Locally (cities and communities) ... e.g. to build a relationship of respect among police and sub-communities, or to move ahead with contested community projects, or to gain appropriate funding for local hospitals, parks and schools.
  • Regionally (state-wide) ... e.g. for the citizens to come together about public education and how to fund it
  • Nationally ... e.g. to overcome partisan gridlock, to responsibly address issues like health-care and money-in-politics.
  • Globally ... e.g. to open a new door of possibility for overcoming monster issues like wars, poverty, and climate change.

The Social Innovations include ...

  1. Choice-creating … the heartfelt quality of thinking where we face the important issues creatively and collaboratively and achieve win/win progress through shifts and breakthroughs. This quality of thinking is ... or should be ... the heart of "true democracy." (See the chart contrasting decision-making with choice-creating.)
  2. Dynamic Facilitation … the ability for one person to reliably evoke the spirit of choice-creating in a group of people or a meeting. This allows them to face ill-defined, emotionally charged, impossible-seeming issues and achieve unanimous perspectives through win/win shifts and breakthroughs. (See the chart comparing Dynamic Facilitation with traditional facilitation.)
  3. The Wisdom Council … a way a large system of people like a community, organization or state can face difficult issues and reach thoughtful, near-unanimous conclusions about what to do. The process builds the spirit of involvement, empowerment, and community. (See the chart comparing Wisdom Councils with other forms of public engagement: Three forms of Public Engagement.)

This strategy can be set in motion by government leaders, citizen groups, organizational leaders, conference organizers, or seekers of societal transformation.

Examples include:

  • In the Westernmost state of Austria, Vorarlberg, government leaders now use the Wisdom Council to involve and empower citizens, build the spirit of community, and leap forward difficult public issues. See the 5 min video (in English) on how the Wisdom Council was recently used state-wide on the issue of “influx of refugees.”

The Civic Council ("Bürgerrat") in Austria on: "How do we deal best with the influx of refugees" - June 2015 from Martin Rausch on Vimeo.

  • Citizen groups in Asheville NC, Victoria BC, Pleasantville NY, Port Townsend WA, the Rogue Valley of OR, and other communities implemented Wisdom Council experiments to try this form of citizen empowerment.
  • See this two minute video for how a TV show might spark this “We the People” conversation globally:
  • See the 22 minute video interview created by Hemma Spreitzhofer and the people at KOMUNARIKO. Filmed Feb. 13, 2012 in Salzburg, Austria, Jim Rough describes Dynamic Facilitation and the Wisdom Council

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