When Engagement Matters ®

Plans been KO'd?

Public policy doesn't have to be a blood sport

Build Nonpartisan Solutions,

your confidence, and a safe harbor. 

The Only Consensus Ranking Software

Our solutions menus read like the sports page. 

:: What challenges or opportunities is your municipality and county facing or avoiding? ::

What do you call the person that convenes structured conversations to find nonpartisan solutions? What do you call the person with proven decision making tools to replace paralysis by analysis? What do you call the person that can separate the signal from the noise? The person who can tame the frenzy?


You call them the leader. Or at least a person exhibiting leadership behavior. 


First, you announce on all your communication channels that you're moving the discussion over to VirtualCommittees™ which is either on your website, or a new one, or use one of ours. 


Then post the Topic in the "Elevator." This will raise the level of discussion so we can find out what it is we can agree on!  All sides of the Ideological Table. Next enter relevant facts in bite-sized pieces the stuff everyone needs to know. 


Next kick things off  by posting just a few of the most pressing Questions, and invite others to join in on the fun.  If there are already preliminary solutions on the Table pre-populate those on the Solutions Menu. The convo has begun and folks can start searching for the treasure together—solutions a vast majority of us can agree on.  Support we can measure, together.


Now any concerned citizen can self-select in on any structured convo that interests them without having to show up to an inconvenient meeting. And after participating online you may very well see more citizens drawn to the faces-to-faces meetings because they are now part of the solution.  

: : An Ideologically Balanced "Table" is the Secret Sauce

:: WOW, keeping score of public policy solutions?! ::

Who knew? Think about this for a minute. Nowhere in the world is there a Leaderboard of Solutions for the most pressing issues of our day. Nowhere. Why is that acceptable? 


There are hundreds of thousands of sports teams and we obsess over their standings and every possible metric. Isn't quality public policy important, too? 


Our Leaderboard is ideologically balanced, no one is gaming this system. The software is neutral, it doesn't care if the outcome is getting rid of a law or passing one. 


If you're a partisan, this is the place to try and change everyone's mind with your reasons, gut instincts, and stories. You'll be able to test the framing that each side of the Table prefers best. Build consensus one point, one aspect at a time. 


The VirtualCommittees™ software will easily identify aspects that have nearly unanimous support, vast supermajority, strong supermajority, and supermajority support. Getting to a mere majority is very; us against them. Might it not be easier to start by finding out what we agree on before fighting over the rest?


The VirtualCommittees software is for  your Local Decision Making. 


The Table Legs Forum "TabLegs"  supports conversations around best practices: For Engagement, Local government public policies, and their Processes and Procedures, and the Software itself. All the things to support your success.


WonkWave™ Think Tank is for Locally Building National Consensus. 


James Madison envisioned nonpartisanship. The VirtualCommittees™ process reboots nonpartisanship.  How the software  works.

You're a VOter, Local Leader, Diplomat, County ANd State Resident, and unique

Do you think like a "Scout" or a "Soldier"?

Are you the kind of person who likes to understand something completely before making up your mind? Soldiers need to follow orders, Scouts need to find the correct trail. 


We're talking about Public Policy Leadership here. 


You want to attract and interact with more citizens who are interested in finding great solutions almost everyone can agree on. You have unique consensus building skills, and are always looking new and better tools. You want citizens talking about the better way we do things around here. You believe in empowering continual improvement. 


Do you have what it takes to host conversations that seek agreement before disagreement?


These are the decision-making tools you fine Scouts have been searching for:  Question-storming, Silent ideation, Idea walls, and Team thinking to make discussion less like a prizefight and more like a team treasure hunt. What solutions could a vast super-majority of us agree on? Not just the popular stuff but also well understood. Are you the kind of person that searches for nonpartisan solutions? Let's Begin at Agree®.

This requires a different mindset—it's about what we can agree on.

:: How We Help your municipality ::

Helping Introverts Roar

 All too often the extroverted alphas, the fighter and the boxer metaphorically climb in the ring and start duking it out.  We have no choice but to stare or walk away. With VirtualCommittees™ software the same-old-same-old intractable arguments and groupthink can be averted by a process that lets introverts have their say sooner rather than later or never. Studies have shown that when everyone on a team participates about equally performance soars! We can so help you do that.  

An Engagement Officer's Dream

People are so busy today. It's almost impossible to increase attendance at committee and board meetings. Now with the VirtualCommittees™software any concerned citizen can self-select in on any conversation that interests her or him 24/7/365 from the comfort of home or on the road. Your other social media accounts can feed into your municipal website where the conversation is highly structured and efficient with team thinking tools. Hey, today with the way things are, shouldn't everyone in local government be an engagement officer?  

Relatable Public Relations

When something  happens in the city rumors can run rampant. Currently, there isn't one place where an extended conversation over a number of days or weeks can unfold in an orderly fashion. VirtualCommittees™ allows for a conversation devoid of gossip around persons or parties, and instead around facts, questions, civilized responses, and proposed solutions. A refreshing break from other social media. And you can gauge feedback from the four sides of the ideological table heat map.

Frustrated Committee Chairs

Choosey  Chair Jeff can't get the quality and quantity of feedback needed to get the committee's work done. VirtualCommittees™ software lets any citizen access the work of the committee 24/7/365 from their smartphone. It's concise format of facts, questions, responses, and proposed solutions makes Jeff's job easier. The entire process is ideologically balanced with the metrics to prove it. No other engagement software offers this unique consensus building capability. 

Bored County Commissioners

Balancing all the information from Federal, State, Local, and interpreting it for the residents of the county is a major challenge. County Commissioners are bored of all the angst this creates. The County's VirtualCommittees™ software integrated with all the local governments' versions provides a seamless place to get the skinny from the get go. Citizens will appreciate the same user interface for all local and county conversations. 

Interns Getting Hired

Standing out is a challenge. How does an intern make a good enough impression to get offered a real job? Converting complex issues into the bite-sized format citizens prefer is a talent. It's also great work for an intern to take a star turn. VirtualCommittees™ is social media without the gossip, and yelling into an echo chamber. Interns are frequently savvy about social media.

"If you can't explain it simply, You DOn't understand it Well Enough" — ALbert Einstein

:: How the Virtual COmmittees Process Works ::

Persona :: Stymied Selectman Emma

Apparently, Emma didn't explain the need for the Police Station renovations well enough.  Last month, after studying the renovation of the Police Station for over two years, going out and getting bids, the citizens of the town voted down the $3M renovation plans. Ugh.

 

Thousands of hours of labor went into carefully developing the plan. Now, assuming Emma has to go back out to bid with new plans, the prices will be even higher because of inflation and contractors building in their sunk costs for the next bids. 


The Playbook for VirtualCommittees™ would be…


Before collecting bids, before devoting more than even a few weeks or months of work, to post “Police Station Renovation” in the elevator in the VirtualCommittees™ software to raise the level of conversation. 


Any citizen in the town can click on “Police Station Renovation” (even on their smartphone when they get a chance), and see all the facts Emma has collected for why the Police Station needs upgrading.


Citizens can read the facts in bite-sized nuggets like on other social media platforms. Citizens can mark the Fact; Useful, Not-so Useful, and/or Respond. Emma and her team quickly reply, honoring the townsfolk engagement. 


Then as citizens think about the facts, they can post Questions further down the same page, and anyone, including Emma and her team can do their best to answer these Questions. Perhaps someone in the town will ask such a better sounding question that a better sounding answer will present itself!


The highest rated facts, and the highest rated questions, and the highest rated responses rise to the top of the feed so other citizens will have an easier time getting up to speed on the proposed renovations.

 

The entire conversation is in one place, and in the form most people read these days, in a social media “like” format, just without the gossiping, and yelling into an echo chamber.

 

All the rating and scoring is ideologically balanced so the process isn’t just about getting the most advocates for one position to show up. Emma wants, and will get a full and fair hearing from the townsfolk.

 

Anyone in town can access the conversation anytime they want from their smart phone or computer. The processes typically run for a week, month, quarter, or a year. That’s up to Emma, but for a relatively complex issue that needs a decision, 13 weeks or a calendar quarter is probably the best length. 


Finally, after all this fact gathering, question answering, responses, and ratings, the Solutions Survey is opened up to be co-authored by anyone in the town. 


Solutions are a bit tricky. It's too easy for people to get into arguments over the small details of a complex subject, which can derail the whole conversation, and can make enemies.  Not good. 


VirtualCommittees™ software avoids this by breaking the solutions into three types or flavors: 

1 Scoop /  Identifying the smallest or Singular parts of the whole Solution.

2 Scoops // What's the Intent of the Solution?  

3 Scoops ///  Then anyone can suggest creative mixes for Compound Solutions. 


This way Emma is first building consensus on; Intent or Purpose (Why), then each and every Singular thing (What), and finally Compound plans that require compromise and creativity to solve (How). 


Emma is raising citizen engagement to a whole new level. 


During and at the end of the process, all the Solutions are listed on a Leaderboard for citizens to keep an eye on the standings. It reads like a sport page, ranking each solution by its Table Rating [:##:] its ideologically balanced score. 


Essentially, now Emma has found the solutions that have been pretested for support. It's not that difficult to obtain a large enough sample size so Emma will easily know when it's time to take the next steps.  


Anyone can review the proceedings and the results because it's archived on the VirtualCommittees™ software tab.

  

Whatever solution(s) Emma assigns resources to, she can be reasonably confident that at ballot time the solution is highly likely to pass—the first time.

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What's the Best Way to Start an Engagement Habit? Make it Frictionless. Make it Easy. Crowdsource it. Time-shift it. Keep it Brief. Keep Score. Enable Fast Wins. Make it Fun. Make it Social in a Good Way.

And we've done this all for you!

:: How we help you Help Your Citizens ::

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Reluctant Activist Raya

Raya has driven past one too many homeless persons. She feels like we're not doing all we could. But what does doing more look like?  She has taken it upon herself to research other towns' and cities' solutions. If the city has a VirtualCommittees™ site license Citizens can start their own conversations, and see if they can garner the critical mass to make a difference. Now Raya can engage townsfolk and the local government to search for feasible solutions. It's like a team treasure hunt. Solutions that all four sides of the ideological table can support. 

Wannabe Wonks & Advocacy Groups

There are subject matter experts in your citizenry. Oft times a newbie has a fresh take on a subject because she or he isn't afraid of asking a seemingly dumb question. It's a forest from the trees thing. VirtualCommittees™ empowers wannabe wonk types to let their genius flags fly. What problems could local governments solve that larger governments can't? A supermajority? 


Advocacy groups have a tendency to only appeal to one or two sides of the ideological table. A VirtualCommittees™ license can convene conversations to broaden support for the whole table of possible donors and fans. What new insights might you find that will lead to better messaging?

Candidates in the Rough

Many people are called to public service but only a few get elected. How can a candidate stand out? One way is obtaining a VirtualCommittees™ coveted 4 Plate Count [: :] rating signifying support from all four sides of the ideological table. This means that your Facts posted, Questions asked, Responses given, and Solutions offered—are mostly appreciated by each individual side of the ideological four-top table. That translates into votes. Another way is to have bragging rights for proposing solutions that rank high on the Solutions Leaderboard. And yet another way is to actually convene conversations around public policy with your own VirtualCommittees™ license. What conversations aren't being had that need to be? 

Public Policy Theses

Many want to get an advanced degree in public policy. There is no more unique, easier or robust tool to base research on than VirtualCommittees™. The metric gauges support from all four sides of the ideological table. This data can be extrapolated to the demographics of the larger population. Getting to statistically significant sample sizes isn't difficult. What might you publish about a public policy breakthrough that will change the world? Perhaps be your reason for getting up in the morning. Define your career. 

Pragmatist Maggie

It's been said that "we" can agree on 80% of the challenges and opportunities we face. The other 20% is partisanship. There are lots of pragmatists but getting them to meetings and to participate in cumbersome proceedings isn't going to happen. Why? Pragmatists are trying to make their way in their own complex lives. VirtualCommittees™ software makes it easy to participate in civic matters because it's almost as easy as other social media. The being more careful what you say part, yes, that's a bit more difficult (and mercifully preferable). 

News Desert Oasis

Many places  don't have a daily newspaper any longer. Some think that might be a good thing, others think it's a bad thing. Here's the thing, citizens need to be able to find out what's going on, period. And since they're busy it needs to be easy. Formerly employed reporters can participate in the municipality's VirtualCommittees™ License, and/or purchase a license and become the municipality's new News source. VirtualCommittees™ is perfect for selling advertising or sponsorships around. You keep all your advertising revenue. 

:: Frictionless Engagement with a NonPartisan Bias ::

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:: The Problems We Solve for Municipalities ::

:: Busy folks can't attend meetings

::  Cynicism and mistrust of local government

:: No "Place" to find the whole conversation

:: Not enough data or metrics to predict policy support

:: Low quality & quantity of engagement

:: Omissions of best practice solutions

:: Working on low priority items first

:: Chaotic long term planning

:: Complaints about committee or council process


VirtualCommittees™ is a safe haven. No citizen can claim they weren't aware—the discussion was literally taking place in the palm of their hand. A balanced discussion from all four sides of the ideological table. Virtual public policy bread breaking is groundbreaking. 

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:: You Will Break Engagement Records ::

  If you're looking for consensus building tools, and decision making tools, VirtualCommittees™ software will do all that with a side dish of frictionless engagement served up on your citizens' cellphones. It makes the process more like sharing a nice meal with three other people who have different views. Listening is interesting. 


How many people can your town hall hold? What's your population? Your VirtualCommittees™ software can hold more than your Hall—Guaranteed


Gone is the bias of who shows up in the room and talks the longest and/or loudest. Outcomes that can be trusted to be thorough and virtually apolitical. Begin at Agree™ to foster Team USA, Town USA kind of thinking.

:: What's Your Population? Here's How to Engage WIth WAY More Of THem ::

The Table Legs Forum :: Best Practice

"TabLegs" is an open forum, for conversations about Best Practices in any areas of Engagement, Local public policy form and function, group process, and the software itself.  


Tables don't just have four ideological sides, they also have four legs; Why, What, How, and Where. That's how you share the best practices in public policy.


That's the stand we've taken. 


"TabLegs" uses the same VirtualCommittees™ software which will also get you accustomed to the platform, and how you might optimize it for your municipality.


:: FREE 


(This is different than the WonkWave™ Quarterly National Public Policy Think Tank.) 

Beginner's License :: Public or Private Sector

One Facilitator License can process One Topic at a time with Unlimited Citizen Users by Zips, and archive up to Three conversations. 


There will be regular teleconference calls on Facilitation, Sponsorship Development, and Best Practices included in your set-up fee. 


For Municipalities, Media, Candidates, Researchers,  Schools, Universities, and Nonprofits. Perfect for a side hustle supported  by local advertising.  


One seat at the Table for the Quarterly WonkWave™ National Public Policy Think Tank (after successfully completing your first VirtualCommittees™ Topic process.)


All VirtualCommittees™ license holders will have a chance to publish their public policy results nationally.


Thanks for displaying your public policy leadership game!


 :: $39.94 a month.

One Time Set-up Fee of $144

 

:: First 40 ELGL members who subscribe before 7/1/19—FREE  for six months. Limit one per municipality's zips.  

Quad Committees License

Four Facilitator Licenses can process up to Four Topics at a time, with Unlimited Citizen Users by Zips, and archive up to 40 Conversations


Regular how-to teleconferences plus Access to the regular Mastermind Calls for advanced Engagement Professionals.


For municipalities, Media, Candidates, Researchers,  Schools, Universities, and Nonprofits. Perfect for a side hustle supported  by local advertising.  


Four Seats for the Quarterly WonkWave™ National Public Policy Think Tank (after each successfully completes their first VirtualCommittees™ Topic process). Special Events will be planned for "Table of Four" Fellows*. 


::  $124 a month, add Topics for $31 a month each. One Time Set-up Fee of $144


* WonkWave™ "Table of Four" Fellows demonstrate together that they make up an ideologically-balanced Table, and dedicate themselves to cheerfully search for nonpartisan solutions. 

Municipal Site License :: Best Value

 Twelve to 400 Facilitator Licenses can process UNLIMITED Topics at a time with Unlimited Citizen Users by Zips, and archive up to 100 Conversations.


Regular how-to teleconferences plus Access to the regular Mastermind Calls for advanced Engagement Professionals.


A seat for each individual licensee for the  Quarterly WonkWave™ National Public Policy Think Tank (after each successfully completes their first Topic process.) Special Events will be planned for "Table of Four" Fellows*.


 :: Site Licenses start at $194 a month, with individual license cost dropping to between $16.17 and $9.99 a month each based on volume. (Each Individual License in a Site License gets their own portal and database for their own discussions and archive—to make it super easy for citizens to navigate and engage.) One Time Set-up Fee of $144


* WonkWave™ "Table of Four" Fellows demonstrate together that they make up an ideologically-balanced Table, and dedicate themselves to cheerfully search for nonpartisan solutions.

County License

A County Partnership License is when  the County and all its towns and cities become Site License Holders then there's a volume discount ranging from 8% to 20% based on County population. 


A County Sponsorship License is when the County becomes the Licensee and distributes Licenses to the Towns and Cities on an as needed basis. This can be a fundraising opportunity for the County, but doesn't have to be. 


Having the local municipality and the County on the same engagement platform fosters even more consensus building outcomes with a familiar user experience for citizens. These County Licenses also offer an unlimited conversation archive to all.


One Time Set-up Fee of $144 per municipality.


Each municipality and the County get an ideologically balanced "Table of Four" at the Quarterly WonkWave™National Public Policy Think Tank.


(All License Fees subject to change)

Conurbations & Megalopolis

How often do you get to use the word Conurbation? If you need more than 400 individual licenses for moderators/departments 


:: Call for Custom Packaging and Pricing.


:: You can put your Trust into many conversation places online ::

 Most social media is terrific for announcements, and information exchanges. These are two of the four kinds of engagement. But when it comes time to converge on an answer or to properly identify what the problems really are—that's when the going gets really tough. How do you separate the signal from the noise?


Cross talking on social media is rarely productive. Sometimes a better sounding idea dashes by but everyone is too distracted to give it the time it deserves. Do all four sides of the table gather and check facts together? Do they have decision making tools like silent ideation, question-storming, idea walls, and team thinking? Do they rank solutions fairly? Do you even have a diverse enough group to get a robust hearing of the subject? Do those other places really warrant all the time you are putting into it? While you're busy doing that what could you be doing that's more productive? 


Endlessly debating public policies is like serial dating. Eventually, you really do need to make a commitment to a decision. Isn't it time to move past the endless echo chamber? You can structure conversations on VirtualCommittees™ for lengths ranging from a Week, Month, Quarter, and a Year or longer.  


Perhaps, other social media is like being in the stands, and VirtualCommittees™ is like being on the playing field. A structured process with consensus-ranking is WAY more productive than paralysis by analysis. Some say 6 times more.  

On a Scale of 1 to 10, How do you rate the level of Public Policy Discourse in this Country? Yeah , Let's Raise that, too with the ...

:: WonkWave™ Quarterly National Public Policy THink Tank ::

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Catch a Wave :: Personally, Professionally, and Societally®

:: Meet other like-minded Wonks

:: Do what wonks do best — quality public policy 

:: Get noticed for your next great adventure


We search for better solutions to one National Public Policy a quarter, and tee up the next quarter's topic. Closed discussions are archived for research. We'll publish the results Nationally—curating solutions that are already well-studied and popular.  


You could even pre-test National Solutions locally with your VirtualCommittees™ software, then enter them nationally in WonkWave™ to see how they do. The same topic can be revisited if you fine Wonks want to further the discussion. The Solutions Leaderboard allows you to attempt to beat the current ideologically-balanced best solution. 


Gain cred. Amaze your friends. Make history. Local knows best, let's just do that nationally.  Someone has to.

Do what you do best — quality public policy

One of the beta tests for VirtualCommittees™ process was "Illegal Drugs" in the Topic Elevator, with the instigating question on the Briefing Balcony of "How might we determine if illegal drugs are a health and/or criminal issue?" Unanimous and vast supermajority solutions were found. Some just got passed into law by Congress. What took them so long? We had the solutions in 12 weeks,  two years ago. Wonks rule, or should. 


:: We'll kick off the First Quarterly WonkWave™ National Public Policy Think Tank on July 1st, 2019. Nominations for Topics will begin in May at the ELGL National Conference in Durham, NC. We'll open Voting for the Topic in June using the VirtualCommittees™software. The winning Topic will be processed by you fine Wonks until September 30th, 2019 when the Season ends, and that Topic's Leaderboard of Solutions published. We will immediately catch the next National Public Policy Wave in the last Quarter of 2019 for the next Think Tank. You got Public Policy Game? You gonna make ThinkTankWaves® (§)?


Where solutions might there be vast supermajority support for on...?


Immigration

Illegal Drugs

Homeless Policies

Severe Weather Preparedness

Money v Free Speech

Veterans Affairs


The list is endless. What wave do you want to catch first?

Meet like-minded Wonks

We're a bit different. Not many people can talk about public policy like it's a sporting event. Bill sponsors are rockstars. Research assistants are heroes. Listeners are legend. 


And you might want to wave (§) at someone whose game catches your eye.   ;o)

Get noticed for your next great adventure

You were called to public policy work for a reason. Whether it's a bigger job, elected office, university chair, or appointment—here' a place to show other decision makers how you roll. 

:: About Us ::

What if?

What if busy people could engage with their municipality on their schedule?


What if citizens could offer constructive input on public policies  from the device in the palm of their hand?


What if people thought they were truly part of the process and not just being told what to do or spun into someone else's agenda?


What if there were reliable real-time metrics to predict overall support?

Jon Denn, Founder

Jon is a member of the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation. He has had a long abiding passion to raise the level of public policy discourse in this country. He ran an adaptive leadership program for over a decade. He now chairs several private advisory boards, is an international speaker, and author of the DRUMBEAT Business Productivity Playbook: How to Beat Goals and Disorganization.  

Now we can ::

With a social media public policy app for listeners not yellers. 


With a place to ask questions, share ideas, offer constructive responses, and have solutions rise to the top based on what we CAN agree on.


With a process designed for people who want to understand the whole issue before making up their minds. 

:: Contact Us ::

:: Got Engagement Questions? Just ask!

:: We can help you break engagement records ::

Why the double colon (::) mark? It represents the four plates on the ideological table, and serves to remind us to listen to each other instead of the grumbling. Let's eat !! This is the opposite of politics as we know it. Let's Begin at Agree®.

virtualcommittees.com