Sure. We have a two-day curriculum for this, which we train hundreds of public servants in. I can send you the whole curriculum. Just to summarize, the key point is that we work with the focused conversation method pioneered by some Canadians 10 years ago.
The idea is very simple. We do fact discovery, the objective part, first. We do not start by asking for, "What’s your opinion on the draft?" There’s no draft. We first ask for stakeholders to discover more stakeholders and share just objective facts -- what’s their experience like of this topic.
In this mode, obviously, it scales because when 100 people say the same facts, it’s just the same fact point. It’s strictly additive, there’s no room for fighting.
After the fact discovery, then we turn to the reflective part in which we ask only for people’s feelings. No suggestions or anything else. "What do you feel about these objective facts that everybody can agree with?" There’s no right or wrong feelings, of course.
I see it as a signal failure if people mix their feelings with their suggestions. Sometimes, people offer suggestions without backing it up with personal feelings and with the facts that led to their personal feelings.
Our methodology moves one step at a time. At the feeling stage, we only demodulate the feeling signals. Because it’s not voting, people don’t feel like they need to enlist tens of thousands of their companions.
If they do, and they shared the same feeling, it’s just one point on the feeling map, which is a multi-dimensional map that we visualize with two dimensions — to get a feeling of how polarized are people of this particular fact.
Getting people to nevertheless agree on the set of core feelings that everybody can agree on despite their apparent differences is the main work at this stage. We use Pol.is, a technology that scales to millions of people, with machine-learning based moderators. We don’t play attrition games with the trolls.
It’s basically enlisting all the participants to play part-time moderator. By the end of it, because we say only the feelings that convince a super-majority of people that’s included in the agenda of the next stage, people will strive to find eclectic, nuanced feelings that somehow transcend their differences. That’s the second stage.
The third stage, the idea or interpretation step, we do it in conjunction with the stakeholders themselves. We basically say, "This how the society feels about this issue," so anyone who can come up with particular ideas that covers a majority of these feelings.
Again, this is not a vote or anything like that. It’s basically comparing other country’s legal systems in the same solution space, asking if we can copy and paste parts covering the most of these feelings -- the maximum consensus feelings.
This stage, we usually do it face-to-face. Because the fact checking and the reflections are all on the table at that moment, people don’t waste time trying to rally. They focus on just getting some solutions out.
Finally, we move to the decision stage in which there may be a referendum. Or they may be up to the parliament. It may be just the cabinet Ministers who says, "It’s OK," then it’s OK. It depends on the level of the issue, of course.
The point is, that person making the decisions will take full political responsibility for the decisions knowing the popular consensus on the ideas, reflections, and the facts. Usually, they come up with something very reasonable.
Basically they are, "OK, within the power of our ministry, we can take maybe 80 percent of the collective consensus. We will translate into code -- meaning a legal code." For the rest 20 percent, it may need a cross-ministry collaboration, or they would have to wait for the president’s call.
Sometimes, maybe 5 percent of it is would be against the current national direction, so the elected officials will have to say no, but at least they will have to say why. That’s it. Once you separate the stages, each individual stage is a solved problem. Most of the signal failure is just people confusing the stages.