Blog post

Common Cause In Dialogue Processes 
A view from Brussels

This blog is written by Eivind Hoff in Brussels.

How to use the Common Cause perspective in the design of dialogue processes? That was what we discussed through a case study at Common Cause Brussels on 19 April.

The case was a real example of an EU-funded research project that is to start soon with the aim of fostering better dialogue between R&D communities and civil society on low-carbon energy technologies that sometimes are controversial, such as wind turbines, CCS or power transmission lines. One of the first big tasks in the project will be to conduct a large number of interviews in 10 European countries with different types of stakeholders on their opinions on these technologies and the low-carbon energy transition in general.

We talked about how priming of intrinsic values (such as asking people to think of their early environmental experiences, asking them to explain their answers to their children, or organising meetings in nature) could help foster greater (intrinsic) common ground and better dialogue. We also concluded that very strictly structured interviews could most effectively be done online, whilst workshops or focus groups should be used to collect and compare views in a more open manner. Bálint Balázs from the Environmental Social Science Research Group at the Szent István University in Hungary told us about their good experience of interviewing forest-owners out in their forests, where they had the opportunity to tell their personal stories which tell more about their values than structured interviews in an office.

The next meeting of Common Cause will use a case not directly related to the environment: Patricia Scherer of Workability Europe (whose topic is people with disabilities in the labour market) will generously host the next meeting on 24 May, 1:00-2:30pm. Their address is Rue d’Egmont 15, 1050 Brussels. If interested, please drop a line to [email protected]. You can also stay in touch by joining the Facebook group “Common Cause Brussels” (if you don’t find it, click on this link).

Finally, two other initiatives that may be of interest to folks particularly in Brussels:
1) Thanks to Sergi Corbalan for sharing a link to “The imagination club” https://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/imaginationclubbrussels

2) Bálint Balázs is involved in the project CONVERGENCE http://www.convergeproject.org, with objectives quite overlapping with Common Cause. They organise a meeting in Brussels 14-16 May with a fairly open invitation: If interested please drop a line to [email protected]

Casper ter Kuile

About Casper ter Kuile

Casper is a campaign strategist and consultant, and the co-founder of the UK Youth Climate Coalition. He has worked with Avaaz, Oxfam, and Futerra Sustainability Communications and joins the Common Cause team after touring through Europe his with vocal ensemble 'Northern Harmony'. He graduated from the University of Warwick with a degree in History and Sociology and was named a Global Shaper by the World Economic Forum in 2011.