During part of the We the People breakout session, we are going to run a visioning session. This form of session has previously been used on various scales, from 2 person brainstorm sessions to a national assembly with 1500 randomly picked people from the Icelandic census. It’s remarkably good at getting a certain type of result quickly. You can see some examples of big meetings like this here and here, and here.
The goal of the session is to get a large statistical sampling of people’s opinions, ideas, values and priorities for what democracy is all about - how to democratize democracy. The breakout session participants will split down onto tables of about 7 each, one of whom will be a pre-briefed facilitator. This is the script:
Quick Rules for participants of the Visioning Session:
- Use CAPITAL LETTERS on all cards
- ONE idea written on each card
- Use your imagination, get everyone’s opinion
- Ensure mutual respect and courtesy
- Ensure equality in the discussions – make sure everyone has an input
- Ask for the zone master’s assistance if necessary
- Speeches are not to be held at the table
- Ideas and attitudes are gathered by going round the table and everyone has a short presentation
- One input from each participant is put forth in each round
- Once at your table, make sure all the necessary meeting material is there (see materials, below)
- Meet the participants at your table with a smile and assist them as well as you can.
- Don’t take a stand with or against any of the participants and keep a positive attitude.
- Show the other participants that you care about their participation and that their points of view are welcome, important, unquestioned and received.
- The task is to bring out a lot of ideas and therefore all ideas are welcome. Don’t worry about “bad” ideas getting in - they’re still ideas, and should be considered and evaluated on their own merits.
- When you start, take a few minutes of silence (about 10) for everyone to do individual accumulation of their thoughts and ideas on the subject.
- Use the silence to examine your thoughts - express your deepest beliefs and write down your thoughts.
- The objective is to bring out many and varied ideas.
- Use freedom and independence when it comes to writing down ideas.
- Idea cards may be rewritten and adjusted at any time, and they may even be torn if they address different issues on one card.
- Participants should only write one idea on each card.
- When everybody is finished writing ideas, start taking turns introducing your ideas.
- Introduce one idea at a time. Show the card, and explain why it’s an important idea.
- Be very brief and to the point, keep the flow going.
- If somebody introduces the same idea as you, just add it to the set immediately as a duplicate (don’t throw it away!) unless you feel their introduction isn’t addressing the same idea, in which case you might have to think about wording.
- Points and ideas should be clear and mostly self explanatory.
- Allow questions if someone at the table doesn’t understand the meaning of an idea, but don't allow any discussions other than the relevant explanation.
- When all the ideas have been introduced, discuss briefly if there are obvious categories that the ideas can fit into.
- Don’t worry about how many categories there are - talk it over, merge and split categories until everybody is happy.
- When everything has been categorized well, choose in your minds five cards on the table that reflect the values that you think are the most important. About one minute is given to reflect in silence before the voting begins.
- Important to stress that choosing more than one word with similar meaning should be avoided. Go for diversity!
- Everybody should start voting at once, and not worry too much about what others are voting.
- Mark the five blue cards that you selected with a line. One line on each - one person can’t spend all his votes on one value.
- The facilitator collects the 10 cards that received the most votes and writes them down along with their category designation on a piece of paper labeled “results sheet” that should be handed to the breakout session facilitators.
- Collect all of the ideas into one pile for each category and put a rubber band around it. The table facilitator should pass this to the breakout session facilitators.
- a pen for each participant
- a pile of blank cards
- some elastic bands
- an A4 piece of paper to use as the results sheet