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How to proceed ...

The Governor or President (or the legislature, or a network of non profits, or a well-funded group of citizens) should establish a three part Wisdom Council on some important issue.  The issue does not need to be well-defined ahead of time or it can be defined in different ways. (This form of Wisdom Council where it is given a topic ahead of time is called a "Creative Insight Council"(CIC).) Core elements of the process include:

  • There will be three cycles, three Wisdom Councils over the course of six months to a year. Pick an issue like money-in-politics (… or education, or health care, or the budget, etc.)
  • In each cycle twelve randomly selected citizens from the state or nation are gathered together to meet in person for two days on this topic.
  • In the first half-day they hear a brief but balanced set of perspectives on the issue, from the Left and Right, and from experts.
  • Then the Wisdom Council meets alone with someone skilled in Dynamic Facilitation for a day and a half. The Dynamic Facilitator assures the necessary quality of thinking in the Wisdom Council, "choice-creating," where the group creatively seeks answers that work for everyone, where they co-create a unanimous perspective, and where others in the larger community resonate with their conclusions. 
  • Also, all citizens are invited to a "community gathering" of the state or nation to hear the results and talk about them. The Wisdom Council presents its results briefly to an in-person audience as well as a TV audience. They share their personal experiences, their unified conclusions and the story of how they arrived at these conclusions.
  • After the presentation this first CIC disbands. The audience visits with one another face to face and online about what they've heard. Then there is a "call out" where each individual can register his/her response in an online survey. This survey provides a way that together everyone can see the level of resonance of the whole population.  (In practice we've found that the public is overwhelmingly supportive of the CIC and its conclusions. So this viewpoint has immediate political weight, which elected representatives do not ignore.)
  • Key is how this process establishes a new kind of public conversation where ordinary citizens become more informed and are respectful of people with different views. The power struggle goes away and is replaced by people seeking what's best for all. So, for example … when someone in the larger audience has a different view than those expressed by the CIC, these views are met with interest rather than dismissal. The new conversation is among the whole society rather than just the Wisdom Council members.
  • This new creative public conversation continues on the web, in one-to-one conversations, and in the media until the next CIC. Ideally, three or more CIC's are held on this topic.
  • At the next CIC, the new random group hears a brief review of what happened in the last one, especially the story of the group's progress. Then they might hear more from the Left and Right and experts before being dynamically facilitated. This group may build on what happened last time or they might strike out in a new direction. 
  • After each Wisdom Council government should organize a Responder Conference. These are where elected officials, people in public agencies, or nonprofit organizations who have responsibilities in the field meet to pull together a coherent response to the Wisdom Council positions.
  • Change happens in many different ways … through shifts in policy, in new collaborations among agencies and people, in changed individual motivations, and in a new spirit of community. This strategy can be used with all sorts of issues and at all levels of society, like cities, states, or nations. 
  • Then a new topic can be selected for the next cycle of Wisdom Councils. In time a Wisdom Council Process should be established, where the Wisdom Councils are ongoing and where they choose their own topics.