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Paricipation, idea generation and deliberation

The Citizen Summit III, convened in November 2003. More than 2,800 residents of the District of Columbia gathered on 15th November at the Washington Convention Centre to help plan the future of the city, discussing and voting on a range of policies. Image courtesy of AmericaSpeaks.

Methods for participation, idea generation and deliberation such as the deliberative polling techniques developed by James Fishkin at the Center for Deliberative Democracy at Stanford University. This combines traditional public opinion research with intensive small group discussions to assess and advise on policy issues. Other examples include 21st Century Town Meetings organised by AmericaSpeaks. These bring together between 500 and 5,000 people to discuss local, regional and/or national issues. Participants are given electronic keypads and are able to vote in real time on various issues. They can also be divided up into small working groups.


These handheld devices allow participants to vote in real-time. Image courtesy of AmericaSpeaks