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Newsletter, February 2007

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STOP PRESS - e-Government award

Dialogue by Design has won a Commendation in the e-Government category of the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) Planning Awards 2006 for our e-consultation process around the North West Regional Assembly's Regional Spatial Strategy.

The judges said that 'significant efficiency and productivity savings have been made compared with document-based methods'.

Conflict and conversation

One of the downsides to the third party role we play is that it is always the most interesting work that cannot be described. In the last couple of months Dialogue by Design has been helping to untangle a particularly sensitive situation involving a large company, a small community and a lot of cross people.

Progress has come from something very simple: helping people to have the conversations they should have had a long time ago. In the course of this work one of those involved said to me that the real problem is that 'they' are so irrational it is quite impossible to talk to them. It is hardly the first time I have heard the 'i' word used of 'the other side', and I doubt there is a single reader of this newsletter who has not, at some time, either used it or been very tempted to do so.

Coincidentally I was asked to contribute to a new publication that centres on the idea of 'conversation'. The editors asked me a simple question: what makes conversation rich and deep rather than poor and shallow?

If you follow the link it will take you to what I wrote. I can't pretend it's very profound, but if you are stuck in a conversation going nowhere, and you are tempted to dismiss those around you as irrational and beyond redemption, you might want to take a breath and try again.

Andrew Acland


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