Steps in the Process

Implementing a Rich Dialog Process consists of the following steps:

Step 1. Identify the most important different groups to be involved in the dialog. Make sure that the separate groups are formed around a community of interest such that the major differences in perspective are likely to be between, rather than within, groups. Of course, some diversity within groups is fine.

Step 2. Bring the groups together to initially discuss the issue under a facilitator. This could be in face-to-face meetings or electronically (e.g. within the Access Grid as with the national values survey RDP (see the front page of this web site). Do the following:

- Describe the process to the group

- Get it to deliberate on the issue

- Get it to reach some initial conclusions

- Record the conclusions in writing 

- Pass the conclusions on to the other groups (make sure that it is clear that they are interim conclusions only)

So far all groups involved in RDPs have come up with a written statement, it is possible that a group may decline to do so and the facilitator must be open to this possibility. 

The initial discussion of the groups could be stimulated with some formal input (e.g. as research findings as in the case of the national values survey RDP or a literature review as in the case of the school alcohol and drug education RDP. It is possible for the process to be conducted with only a small amount of input and the groups just taking the discussion where they want to take it. 

It is possible to have either an initial meeting of all of the groups where the overall process is discussed and the input material presented. Or it is possible to do this individually with each of the groups, hence avoiding an initial meeting of all of the groups. It would be possible in some situations to bring the groups to a workshop where they first met together to have shared input and then they broke out into a series of separate group meetings before coming together again to discuss the issue at hand. However, wherever possible there should be time in a RDP for the groups to go away and think about the issue and to discuss it with other stakeholders similar to themselves before they come back to discuss it with the other groups. 

Step 3. Share the initial findings of the groups with the other groups. This can be done by email or a web site.

Step 4. Bring the groups together for a collective meeting where they dialog about their perspectives on the issue.

Step 5. Where possible and appropriate get some sort of joint statement from the groups from the joint meeting if they want to produce such a statement. 

Creative Commons Copyright Paul Duignan and Jennifer Parker 2008