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Who we are

Our services

Stage 1: Design

Stage 2: Recruitment

Stage 3: Implementation

Stage 4: Analysis

Stage 5: Reporting

Stage 6: Evaluation

Stage 7: Resolution

Methods: Web-based

Methods: Meeting-based

Methods: Paper-based

Methods: Integrated

Supporting services




Press room

About consultation

Demonstration video

Site map

Stage 7: Resolution

Engagement and consultation processes do not end with a report and an evaluation. Sometimes those are just the beginning of another stage - when you have to implement the conclusions regardless of how unpopular or divisive they are.

Facilitating groups of all sizes

Dialogue by Design's expertise is rooted in 15 years' experience of facilitating face-to-face events. These have ranged from small, intense meetings where we have mediated between individuals or organisations to large workshops involving 100+ participants.

The smaller meetings have been in legal or political contexts where confidentiality has been vital and our role as third parties has been to help the participants break a deadlock or negotiate a solution to a particular problem. Doing this requires both training in mediation and conflict resolution techniques and experience of analysing and understanding how people behave in polarised situations.

Our experience of large workshops is equally extensive and much more public. Since the early 1990s we have been designing events that enable large numbers of participants to work collaboratively on complex issues. Many of these have addressed the major environmental debates of the past decade: what to do with decommissioned industrial structures such as the Brent Spar, Shell's oil storage platform, for example, or how to reconcile the competing interests of people and business in the transport of used nuclear fuel through North London or in the development of a gas pipeline through the virgin rainforests of Camisea in Peru.

Not all of our work is so exotic: we have also run our share of public meetings to talk about issues such as the Newbury by-pass, parking problems in Bath, the third runway at Heathrow Airport, waste and recycling, leukaemia clusters and many others.

Our rationale

Our methods rest on three pillars: clarity of process and dialogue; structuring of information; and ability to interact positively with participants, however angry or confused they may be.

Underlying all these is our insistence on the importance of designing from three points of view: that of the sponsor of the event who needs a successful meeting and the achievement of specific goals; of the participants, who need to feel valued and well-informed; and of our needs as guides and third parties with an overview of what works.

Our workshop methods rest on detailed design. We work out whether it is best to tackle an issue in plenary or small groups, taking into account everything from the nature of the subject to the character of the participants to the time of day. We then work out the right stimulus - a presentation, a carefully phrased question, or sometimes a creative task - and how long it will take, and how to report the results back to other participants.

Design is based largely on our own experience, but we are also fortunate to work constantly with equally experienced colleagues, and also to deliver many training courses that help us to absorb and learn from the experience of others.


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