September 13th, 2012

When seeing is hearing new understandings arise


The adage “Seeing is believing” got flipped for me the other day as I read the dialogue maps from the August 2012 meeting held at the Old Sugar Mill; reading the maps became an experience of “seeing is hearing” for me. Let me explain.

Dialogue mapping captures the concepts of a conversation in a way that keeps intact the context and connections of what is said. Other commitments prevented me from attending the August meeting, and I wanted to get a sense of what happened. Reading through two maps in particular I finally heard something I had not heard before (which is not to imply it had not been said before).  The experience was not of just reading a fact or a statement, but of actually hearing—as in understanding a little bit better—different aspects of an issue.

Here are the two statements that struck me:

“Delta believes there’s need for conveyance. Just a question of how to do it. We get all the impact, they get all the benefits” (from What can we build shared understanding around?)

“Delta interests would have to come up with a coherent set of asks” (from How can we bring in-Delta interests to the table?)

In all the meetings I have attended over the years, I do not recall hearing so clearly these two points: what benefit from the other processes could come to the Delta residents and what is it that the Delta residents want from the other processes. I felt excited about my “ah-ha” moment.

These two statements seemed to me to be like two sides of the same coin; a coin that is minted in openness and willingness to learn and that can be spent in developing mutually satisfying outcomes. These two statements, taken together, invite the Delta Dialogue participants to explore more fully.  I think such a conversation will lead to better understanding and better options to manage the complex situation in the Delta.

This “ah-ha” experience confirmed for me the benefit of dialogue mapping as a means of communicating and building shared understanding.

August 3rd, 2012

Dialogue Map of the July BDCP Recommendations


Last week, Governor Jerry Brown announced joint recommendations from state and federal agencies regarding key elements of the Bay Delta Conservation Plan (BDCP).

In order to help facilitate discussion around these recommendations at our Delta Dialogue meeting last Friday, we took the 55-page document and created a Dialogue Map version. Dialogue Mapping is a process of capturing complex issues in real-time as participants talk. It is both a powerful technique for visually representing complex issues as well as for building shared understanding among a group around wicked problems.

You can see our Dialogue Map version of the recommendations below (best viewed in full-screen mode), or you can download a PDF version for printing. Leave a comment below if you have any feedback or questions about the maps, and feel free to share!

Bdcp recommendations-2012-07-16 from RebeccaPetzel.