Imagine a world in which important, top-level policy decisions, such as those regarding nuclear power, higher education or foreign relations were made on the basis of real discussion focused on real facts. In these conversations, hype would be washed away, moderate majorities would probably find more voice, and (hopefully) better decisions would be made – with less residual acrimony and polarization.
John Lennon’s “Imagine” material? I don’t think so.
Working with a group of very serious-minded, yet somewhat playful, coauthors, we envisioned a way to engage the public in such conversations through combining elements of public participation, the power of games, and the capacities of the internet.
In “A Game of Negotiation”, Christopher Honeyman, Peter Adler, Colin Rule, Roger Strelow, Chittu Nagarajan and I describe the Deliberation Engine, and how this game platform can serve to engage the public on important issues and reach meaningful results. Could this be implemented in practice? We think it could: The technology exists, and augmented with expertise from the negotiation and dispute resolution fields as well as other disciplines (such as collaborative government, game design, and others) could be put to work. We’re hoping to raise this gauntlet ourselves, but we wouldn't mind cooperation, or even competition, in helping us get public conversations back on the track they should be on. Along the road to such big-picture achievements, this notion should be of interest to teachers of negotiation and dispute resolution, some of whom have already agreed for their classrooms to provide early adopters and participants.
Check it out at http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=2302687