朝邦文教基金會 CP Yen Foundation

推動對話力, 促進社會正向改變,朝向永續發展的城邦

2018年9月 朝邦對話新訊息 [秋季刊] | CP Yen Foundation Newsletter  [Fall Issue 2018 September]

2018年9月 朝邦對話新訊息 - 秋季刊

開放政府的溝通模式: 訪 行政院數位政務委員唐鳳

                                                 

    

今年10月,台灣首任『數位政務委員』即將就任滿兩週年,上任以來強調政府公開溝通、數位治理的唐鳳,建立『Join公共政策參與平台』,運用多種對話疏通政府與民間的溝通管道,其中尤以2017年實施運作的『開放政府聯絡人』制度受矚。

唐鳳的數位創新專長,協助政府各部會行政數位化唐鳳的非公職背景,更能以第三方角度,打破繁重圍籬將跨部會業務進行聯繫、整合、協調,將民眾在網路上的公共政策提案,透過協作會議變成政府與民間的有效溝通。這次,朝邦文教基金會透過面對面的訪談,與這位最年輕的政委進行對話,聊聊公民素養的養成,理解溝通與對話力在開放政府間的應用。

以下是朝邦文教基金會執行長暨董事與唐鳳政委的訪問摘要:

問:身為引導師,我們經常使用的團隊引導法是焦點討論法, 也就是 ORID. 聽聞您在政府會議中也常運用ORID焦點討論法,請問您認為這對會議進行有什麼樣的幫助?哪種面向的會議較建議使用呢?                                                   

答:

這要從兩個層面來陳述,一個是目前推動一年多的開放政府聯絡人制度,一個是這制度中所進行的內政部空勤總隊進駐恆春機場連署案

 

目前院內每個月約有兩場協作會議,是一種同時具有教育與解決問題性質的多方對話。在操作模式上,每月在各部會都有一組『開放政府聯絡人』,就是所謂的"PO"(participation officer), 當人民有訴求或連署案時,開放政府聯絡人團隊透過協調、引導能力,負責統合各部會內三級、四級機關意見,在面對跨部會討論時,這樣的方法也能協助聚焦,讓問題有多於一種的解決方式。

 

我們常舉的案例是「內政部空勤總隊進駐恆春機場連署案」,八千民眾希望內政部空勤總隊能夠把黑鷹直升機放到恆春機場,來當救護車用。但這件連署案所反應出來的,其實是這地方離最近的大醫院須九十分鐘車程,後送不方便。

 

在我們有這個開放政府聯絡人團隊之前,這種有多重解法的題目很難有具體回應,所以在公共政策網路參與實施要點裡面,我們特別註明權責機關若有兩個以上時,由國發會協調,國發會協調結果若各部會都覺得不適合,就大家都變主辦。當這樣的團隊一進去恆春連署案討論時,便是跟所有可能相關的利益關係人,大家運用心智圖方式,像拼拼圖一樣去開協作會議,這個叫做Issue based mapping。

 

整體協作會議是透過張芳睿顧問進行,她曾在英國的Policy Lab內閣辦公室政策實驗室帶協作討論,並將她所開發的這套架構帶回台灣,連同外部利害關係人,包含議員、鄉民代表,或是當地醫院的院長,甚至所有連署人都有資格一起來討論。

 

再來談到ORID焦點討論,雖然我們先有這個連署訴求,但我們會問說,你這個具體建議可不可以再分細一些?這些又是各自在回應甚麼樣的主觀感受(R)?這些主觀感受後面又有哪些事實作佐證(O)?這樣一步一步回去推之後,看到所有可能的解決方案(I),再開始收斂到比較可行的(D)。而從事實到大家具體的訴求,就是很細的(I)到(D)的程度,所以我們盡可能去還原,這些訴求提出來時,到底是回應大家實際的什麼感受?

 

好比說,光看原本的訴求,我們無法得知其實大家希望讓在地醫生回來,希望醫護人員把心留在這邊,須透過協作會議一步一步往回問,才能做出決策。

 

這個案子的最後作法,就是我們希望當地醫院能夠擴建,讓醫護人員能夠有宿舍,新的設備先採買,並請高雄的醫生先來恆春做訓練。這樣一來,如果發生緊急情況,不是把人載上直升機送到高雄。

 

問:恆春這個案例,前後約用了多少時間討論?

答:

從有連署到最後拍板,大概前後不到半年,當時林全院長看了這個案子之後就說,他覺得擴建恆春旅遊醫院確實是很好的,因為他可以看到各方利益關係人的感受,雖然沒有辦法完全滿足,但是沒有人排斥它,這時他就實際去恆春看,看了後他就撥款三年三億,現在就已經開始建置。

 

賴清德院長時期,我們也有處理一些像澎湖的南方四島,想要禁止捕魚和要捕洄游魚類的船隻,那個案例大概三次會前會,三次會後會,約半年之內產生一個具體的可行方向。

 

問:利害關係人與一般民眾在這樣的協作會議中,如何參與表達?

答:

連署人五千人裡面總是會有四、五人會願意參加現場溝通,其他有些線上參加,有的事後去看,表達意見。一個房間內連同各單位利害關係人,約30人以內的討論參與者,一些地方性的訴求案,我們會安排兩個會場,一個小的會場是利害關係人,一個大的會場是開放一般公民參與。因為大家可能本來不知道有這個連署,但畢竟都跟公眾利益相關,所以我們利用縣市公所、區公所大禮堂,讓大家在禮堂裡面看直播,直播就是小房間的討論,同時在大會場show簡報。

 

這時候我會在大的會場,專業的第三方主持人在小的會場,這很重要,因為如果是政委主持,第一拘束力太高,第二是大家一定會覺得我偏向公務員。在大會場時,政委可以像球評一樣解釋專業術語,民眾透過提問單線上提問,讓小房間可以看到非情緒發洩的意見表達,再次促成新的溝通。

 

問:一般民眾有什麼機會能更了解這樣的討論呢?

答:

我們有一個YouTube頻道,就是PDIS(Public Digital Innovation Space)公共數位創

新空間,我們有中文網站,也有YouTube, 只要有直播的內容都會在YouTube頻道上。如果你當年有參與連署,就會有email,我們也會寄。

 

我們自己也有開共識營,我們的核心價值是建立互信,以這個為核心,再去做大家看得到的事情。

 

問:剛剛您提到學習引導也是公務人員在職進修的方式,那是什麼樣的內容?

答:

我們現在是強調三種能力,首先就是所謂『主持技術』,我們比較不說引導技術。原因是大家還是習慣叫引導師為主持人,因為畢竟麥克風在他手上,而且他可以控制下一秒麥克風到誰手上,這在公共體系就叫主持人,所以我們還是說這是主持技術。

 

除了主持之外,我們還要『轉譯的技術』,就是把專業語言轉譯成常民語言,但也是要把常民語言轉譯為公共行政語言; 最後就是『紀錄的技術』,這就包括視覺影像紀錄,直播、或是文字紀錄,讓大家事後如果他當場錯過了,盡可能呈現現場訪問品質。

 

問: 加拿大政府與ICA (Institute of Culture Affairs文化事業學會)合作, ORID焦點討論法或者其他參與式的引導技術 納為公務人員在職進修的項目。我們今天很高興知道原來我們政府也同樣重視公務人員「引導主持技術」的培養。請問未來還有其他相關規劃嗎?

答:

我們接下來會跟國家文官學院合作,規劃薦任升簡任的課程,是還沒有完全確定,因我們先去試教了一次,反應是蠻好的,所以會有可能納入薦任升簡任的課程。

 

現在開放政府聯絡人是中央的制度,所以現在是部會有,有些部會覺得很不錯,他的三級機關也開始有,但是都不是在中央。地方的話,我們目前是技術轉移,就是去demo,在台北、台中,接下來去台南,希望地方政府也可以慢慢有這樣的能力。

 

問:您加入政府團隊之後,心目中對於成為「最會溝通的政府」的想像是什麼呢?是什麼造成了現在的信任問題?

答:

政府信任人民是第一步,如果政府自已不信任人民,要求民間信任政府,那個叫法西斯,不是台灣的這個方向。所以這個問題可以化約成政府為什麼不夠信任人民?這裡面我想有兩個重要的因素。

 

一個是溝通方式,政府裡面許多的作業還是以紙本作為想法,就算是電子公文系統,其實是模擬紙本的邏輯。紙本的動作非公開,線性過程中的所有私人動作,非相關人都不知道,等到公文發出才能得知。但現在民間不管年齡職業,溝通都以螢幕為主,在螢幕上看到的訊息操作互動公開,與紙本恰巧相反。

 

從民間角度看,就會覺得為什麼政府做完決定再跟我們講,民間感覺不到,原因是政府無法多對多回應,依舊採一層一層往上的,或一層一層再往下的線性。民間跟政府的想法作法不同,是造成信任不平衡最主要的原因。

 

次要的原因就是,大家對於公共事務的參與心。目前多數人仍然認為透過選舉找一個正確的人代表意見,其他就不用管。但一些比較先進的民主制度,已進行到選「事」,絕對不是選「人」。把關心這件事的人組織起來,然後把這件事情提出好的版本,最後如果有好幾個版本,我們再來投票,投票也是對事不對人,這樣的好處是:事情可以大家透過討論越來越了解,但是人,大家品頭論足還是沒有更了解那個人。所以,台灣對這種對事不對人的民主態度,還是要培養的。

 

問:對於公共事務的關心,我們好像看到有種極端,一是非常強烈的主張,一是事不關己。您認為對於公民來說,可以做些什麼來提升公民素質?

答:

在新課綱中,我們強調即使是國小的階段,也要有自發、互動、共好的素養。『自發』就是提升學習者的好奇心的提升,『互動』我們特別強調的是社會參與,就算是家附近的某個公園,也能一同參與期待它長成不同樣貌的程度。其實小學生有很多想法,不用等到他變成18歲,再來學這種對話能力,而是從幼稚園或者小學開始學習參與些公共議題。

 

也許是制服,也許是公園,讓大家可以一起來討論應該長什麼樣子,每一個有公共性的題目都可以變成參與的話題。所謂「共好」的意思就是,每個議題每個人都有不同的立場,可是你只要願意聽,到最後大概都可以找到共同的價值,我們就專注在這些價值上,找出大家都能接受的解決方案,這個凝聚共同價值就是共好的素養。

 

如果大家能夠在這種極小的尺度上,利用國民教育、高等教育、大學社會責任,在學習的過程裡就已經把解決共同的社會環境問題,當作生活的其中一部分。雖然不一定能解決,但是至少討論就是素養的延伸,如果真的能解決,那就是社會創新

 

問:以您這樣的角色,如何去創造面對面的對話機會,進行有溫度的溝通?有什麼計畫是往這方

答:

跟我自己直接相關的計畫大概就兩個,一個是各位今天來的社會創新實驗中心,這裡即將變成台灣當代文化實驗場,鼓勵大家把創作的過程帶來這裡。在這邊會碰到的是創作者,碰到的是人,創作者也不是把自己關在小房間創作,是碰到對他的創作關心的人。

 

這個空間其實當初也是透過五次討論共同創造,當時的共識就是每天都要開到晚上十一點,而且要有廚房、咖啡廳,還有個常駐的主持,唐鳳每個禮拜三都要來這裡,大家若對空間有任何想法,每個禮拜都可以改,這真的就是「參與式設計」,由參與者來決定的空間。只要這種公共空間一多,大家就會願意重新去做公共討論,因為這個公共討論在參與者覺得安全的地方發生,不會好像一言不合就會發生什麼事情,我們這個地方就連內部設計都盡量做讓大家比較舒服的光線與聲音場。

 

從明年開始,我們會盡可能讓各地方政府的閒置或可活化空間,都可以產生類似社會創新實驗中心一樣的場所,讓在地組織者去積極改造,提供大家在面對面溝通的時候,能身處在一個有溫度的空間,就是社會創新的實體化、具象化。

 

另外一個相同重要的是數位空間。以往的數位空間溝通較冷,可能以幾段文字、低解稀度的圖片作為媒介,但這些文字端看人與人間的熟識度,若認識十年,就能精準捕捉文章的意思,若只認識十分鐘,整個文章的投射可能都會錯誤,因為文字背後的生命經驗,無法完整傳達出來。

 

所以現在我們盡可能多一些非常高解析度的影音呈現,甚至未來5G的時代裡面,我們希望用VR,讓討論的對象即使坐在不同空間,仍能夠感受到對方細微的聲音或微表情,此時網路就真正是沒有空間的隔閡。這個算是研究工作,我們辦公室也一直在研究。

 

問:這樣就彌補我們的擔心:AI時代一來,人類的溝通會是什麼樣貌。

答:

我們現在有個口號叫Extended Intelligent延伸智慧,我有加入一個智庫GlobalCXI,我們在研究的是:怎麼樣讓群眾智慧與人工智慧不要看成是像擾亂我們的人性,而是延伸人的人性,是以人為本的方式去繼續演化,讓這些資料、科學、新的技術去加強人的能動性,而不是讓人只能照著電腦寫的去動。

 

我們也在思考,這個時代能不能不要再用像人跟人之間比較分數,或者國跟國之間的GDP比較,那種已經沒有意義了。我常講說,如果你只是看智力測驗的話,任何人拿著手機,智商都會爆表,因為測的東西都是手機可以幫你做的東西,所以測不到的反而是自發、創造力的程度,互動的能力、批判思考、最後找到共同價值共好。

 

現在國際上當然也有一些我們剛剛在談論的永續發展指標,或者OECD好生活的指標,或者聯合國做的 Happiness Index,台灣據說是東亞排名第一的Index。但這些都很粗略,我們看能不能再切細一點,讓大家知道所謂拼經濟,它後面的意思是永續發展,而不是去拼一些量化的東西。

 

問:您的引導書單有哪些?您的引導學習是如何開始的?

答:

像《Dynamic Facilitation》、《From Conflict to creative collaboration》、《The Tao of democracy》、《Participatory Sustainability》,也有從精神分析那邊來的《Andrew Samuels》的系列,或跟社會營造相關的書籍。

 

從書單裡面可以看出來,我還是以團體動力或是團體心理治療的取徑,我只是後來知道還有應用面的引導方法。就像馮燕老師當時跟我交接的時候,她也有跟我推薦你們辦的共識營非常有用,當時我跟她說自己有點半路出家,就是嫁接團體心理學,但是我自己比較關心的還是長期的團體動力我們會希望即使是連署人或提案人,他一次跟我們開完這種協作式工作坊之後,就會回來這個平台,跟我們有一個比較長期的關係。同時我們希望做研究、規劃需求的政策設計 跟最後真的到地方政府變成執行單位或者是委外單位是有連續性的,所以,我現在比較在意長期關係的、長期的團體動力。

 

最後我們請教唐鳳政委,「朝邦基金會以對話力為核心,在這個時代環境下,我們可以為這個社會或為這個新的世代多做些什麼事? 政委肯定我們目前的努力並勉勵我們持續貢獻。她很開心看到朝邦將”Power & Love" 翻成中文「力與愛」並出版,認為書中的案例可以提供台灣對於「轉型式的討論」作借鏡。

(訪談人: 朝邦基金會 吳咨杏, 江欣惠, 張桂芬。林穎青整理)

訪談全程錄影請參考  www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXsjSA8vmkI

 

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Communication for an Open Government

Exclusive interview with Audrey Tang, Digital Minister at Executive Yuan

By this October, Audrey Tang will have served two years as Taiwan’s first Digital Minister.  As a cabinet member who advocates open communication and digital governance in the government, Audrey established “JOIN”—a participatory platform for public policies, implementing numerous outlets for dialogue between the government and citizens. One of Tang’s most noted efforts was the Participation Officer (PO) initiative enforced in 2017.

Tang’s expertise in digital innovation has helped to speed up the digitalization process in various administrative departments within the government. Tang’s experience from the private sector brings a fresh perspective that pushes the boundaries between different government bodies to connect, integrate, and coordinate so citizens can better communicate with the government through collaborative meetings.

In this issue of our newsletter, CP Yen Foundation comes face to face with Taiwan’s youngest Minister without Portfolio. We chatted about nurturing citizenship and the application of communication and dialogue in the open government.  Here is an excerpt from our interview with Minister Tang:

Q: Facilitators like us often incorporate the focused conversation method, also known as ORID, in our processes. We heard that you also use this method to facilitate governmental meetings. Can you tell us how it helps these meetings? What types of meetings would you recommend using the ORID method?                                               

A: There are two important components. The first is our Participation Officer initiative and the other is a project we had worked on, a petition for the National Airborne Service to station at Hengchun Airport.  

In the Executive Yuan, our two collaborative meetings every month serve as a multi-method dialogue platform, and they both educate on and solve problems. Every month, there is a team of Participation Officers (PO) who coordinate, facilitate, and consolidate issues and discussions with third and fourth-level central agencies on citizen petitions and inquiries. In these cross-department discussions, ORID helps us to focus on issues to find various solutions to the problems.

One of my favorite examples is the petition of the National Airborne Service to the station at Hengchun Airport. About 8,000 citizens petitioned the National Airborne Service to allocate Black Hawk choppers to the station at Hengchun Airport for use as ambulances. The core issue of this petition is actually the long travel time (90 minutes’ drive by car) locals have in order to access the nearest hospitals.  

Before we set up the PO system, we couldn’t respond to issues with multiple solutions. That is why in the “Directions for Implementing Online Participation in Public Policy” specifies that “When there are two or more responsible authorities, the Participation Platform administrative authority shall coordinate the designation of the principal and assisting authorities. If a dispute arises that cannot be resolved through coordination, the authorities concerned shall all be designated as principal authorities.” So, in our discussion of the Hengchun petition, our PO teams work with all the stakeholders in our collaborative meetings through the method of mind-mapping. We call this Issue-based Mapping.

Our collaborative meetings are facilitated by Fang-Jui Chang. Fang-Jui had previously facilitated discussions at the Policy Lab in the U.K. and is actively implementing the practice in Taiwan. All the outside stakeholders - including legislators, village representatives, even superintendents of local hospitals and petitioners - can join the discussions.

Now back to ORID. We looked at the petition and asked: can we break this down further? What emotion is each element responding to (R - reflective)? What are the facts about these emotions (O - objective)? As we backtrack each step, we see all the possible solutions (I - interpretive) After that, we converge to feasible D (decisions).

So if we looked at just the original petition, we wouldn’t have known that the citizens’ intention was to have local doctors return. They wanted the medical personnel to stay longer in the community. We had to step back and ask questions along the way to make the final decisions. 

The conclusion of this petition was a recommendation that the local hospital should be expanded and should provide dormitories for medical staff. New equipment must be acquired, and physicians should be trained by experts in Kaohsiung. In this way, local medical staff would be able to handle emergency cases instead of just sending patients to Kaohsiung by helicopter.

 

Q: How long was the discussion process for the Hengchun petition?

A: From the petition to the final recommendation, the process was less than half a year. Lin Chuan, the Premier at that time, reviewed the case and really supported the expansion of the Hengchun Tourism Hospital. He felt the solution could satisfy most of the stakeholders, if not all of them; at least, no one was against the idea. He went to Hengchun in person to understand the issues further. After that, he allocated 3 billion NT dollars for the next three years. The hospital is now in the works.

After Premier Lai took office, we undertook several similar issues, including the initiative to stop fishing at the Four Islands area in Southern Penghu. For that project, we held 3 preliminary meetings and 3 follow-up meetings and came up with a feasible direction within 6 months.  

 

Q:  How do stakeholders and citizens participate in these collaborative meetings?

A:  About 4 or 5 petitioners, out of the total 5,000, are usually willing to come to these meetings. Others offer their input through our online platforms. In a room of stakeholders from different sectors, there would be about 30 people. For some of the local issues, we sometimes allocate 2 meeting rooms: a smaller one for stakeholders and a bigger one open to all citizens. People may not be aware of the petition, but since it’s a public issue, we would broadcast the meeting in the small room live at civic centers or in the auditorium of the district office. We would also brief everyone in the large meeting room.

I would be at the bigger town hall while the independent facilitators would host the smaller meeting. This is important. If the minister facilitates the smaller meeting, participants might think I am biased toward the public servants. But in the bigger meeting room, I can help explain the terminologies and the complex issues. Citizens can ask questions online. And the participants in the smaller meeting room can see these emotion-free inputs. This stimulates further communication.

 

Q:  How would citizens further understand discussions like this?

A;  You can find us on YouTube at PDIS (Public Digital Innovation Space). We also have our website. We broadcast our live meetings on YouTube. If you want to join our petition, you can also email us.

We organize consensus workshops as well. Our core value is building mutual trust. With that as the foundation, we will work to create tangible results.

 

Q:  You mentioned learning to facilitate is part of the civil servant’s development program. Can you tell us more?

A:  We focus on three skills. First is the skill of convening. We don’t call it “facilitation” because we still call the person with the mic the convener. This convener can control who gets the mic next. In our public domain, we call it convening. So we call this the “convening skill.”

Apart from that, we also want to enhance our “communication skill,” which entails translating professional terminologies into common language and turning common language to public policy language. And the third one is the “documenting skill,” including visual records, live broadcasts, or written documentation that can better communicate the actual meetings and be available to those who missed the events.

 

Q: In Canada, the government works with ICA Canada (Institute of Culture Affairs, Canada) to include ORID Focused Conversation method or other facilitation skills as part of the personal development program for civil servants. It’s nice to know our government is also supportive of developing civil servant’s facilitation skills. Will there be similar training in the future?

A:  We are going to work with the NACS (National Academy of Civil Service) to plan out the training program for promotion from junior to senior civil service positions. The curriculum is not finalized yet, but our trial program received positive feedback. The curriculum may be incorporated into the training program for the promotion of junior positions.  

The participation officer system is adapted in the central government across the ministry level. So far we are getting good responses. Third-level agencies are starting to adopt the system, although mostly at the local government level. On the level of local government, we showed them the essential communication skills through demonstrations. We have done this in Taipei and Taichung, and then we will visit Tainan next. We hope local governments will adopt the system, too.  

 

Q: After joining the cabinet, what is your vision of becoming “the most capable government ever in terms of communication”? What do you think caused the issue of trust right now?

A: Trust in the people by the government is the first step. If the government does not trust its people but demands trust from its people, that’s fascism. That’s not Taiwan. So the question is why doesn’t the government trust its people? I think there are two important factors.

The first is the way the government communicates. The government still operates with a paper-based mindset. Even the digital documents follow paper formats. All the processes for paper documentation are private. Unauthorized people would not know about the policymaking context until official documents are released. In the private sector, regardless of age and jobs, people communicate mostly digitally. Digital information is interactive and open—it is totally opposite to the paper mindset.

From the citizens’ perspective, they feel uninvolved in the decision-making process. The process is linear, either bottom-up or vice versa without much detail along the way. The difference in mindset is the main factor for the trust issue.

Another reason is how everyone participates in public affairs. Most people still think they just need to elect the right government official through voting and that will be enough. In a more mature democracy, decisions on “issues” are more important than the selection of “people.” Get all the interested parties together and find the best solution for the issue. If there is more than one solution, we vote. Voting is based on issues, too. The advantage of issue-oriented practice is that we understand the issue better through discussion. But if we vote on people, we can talk and talk without really getting to know the person. I think people in Taiwan still need to learn more about being issue-oriented.

 

Q: Regarding attitudes toward public affairs, we seem to have two extremes. On the one end, some have very strong opinions about issues; on the other hand, some are indifferent and uninvolved. What do you think we can do to improve the quality of citizen participation?

A:  In the new education curricula, even at the primary school level, we emphasize the values of “taking initiative,” “engaging the public,” and “seeking the common good.” By “taking initiative,” we want to stimulate students’ curiosity. “Engaging the public” emphasizes participating in society. Even just visiting the nearby park can be a form of engagement—imagine the process of envisioning how the park becomes in the future. Students have lots of ideas from a very early age. They don’t have to wait until they turn 18 to learn the skill of dialogue. They can learn to be involved in public issues from kindergarten or primary school. 

The issue may be the school uniform or the neighborhood park. Everyone can talk about how it could be. Every public issue can be a topic of participation. By “seeking the common good,” we want to emphasize the fact that everyone has different opinions on different issues. But if you are willing to listen, we can all find the common values in the end. Those common values are what we focus on to find solutions acceptable to all. Finding common values is a way to develop our citizens’ participation.

If we all work on these values on smaller scales through public education, higher education, and university social responsibility, we will be equipped to solve common social and environmental issues in the learning process. Although we may not be able to resolve everything, the process of discussion enriches the quality of citizen participation. If we find solutions, that is social innovation.   

 

Q: In your role, how do you create opportunities for face-to-face dialogues for communication with a human touch?

A: There are two projects I am directly involved in. One is this Social Innovation Lab. This is part of the “Taiwan Contemporary Culture Lab” encouraging people to share their creative processes here. Here we meet up with people who create. Creative people do not create in small rooms. They meet people who care about their creative processes.

This lab was the result of five co-creation meetings. The consensus we agreed on was to operate this place every day until 11 pm. There should be a kitchen, a coffee shop, and a person would be stationed here. Audrey Tang would be here every Wednesday. If anybody has anything to say about the place, we can make changes every week. This is a real “participatory design”—participants can decide how the space should be. By making more places like this available, people are more willing to discuss public affairs because these dialogues occur in a space where participants feel safe. They will not have to worry about what happens if they disagree. When we designed this place, we paid close attention to the details inside, including the lighting and the sound field, to ensure it’s comfortable for everyone.

Starting next year, we will reorganize unused public spaces in local government to set up more places like the Social Innovation Lab. Local organizations can set up places to enable face-to-face communication. These are concrete actions for social innovation.

Another equally important area is digital space. In the past, communication for digital space was relatively simple using just short texts and images with low resolution. But short texts cannot accurately communicate the stories and experiences behind the words.

So we now try to use images and clips with very high resolution. In the future 5G era, we hope to incorporate VR so participants can feel the nuances in voices and expressions even in different locations. We want to make the digital world truly boundary-free. This is an area we are still doing research in in our office.  

 

Q:  That’s quite comforting to hear. What do you think human communication will be like in the AI era?

A:  There is a term called Extended Intelligence. I am a part of a think tank named Global CXI. We are studying how to prevent collective intelligence and artificial intelligence from tearing our society apart, but rather to extend our humanity so we can continue to evolve in a human way. We hope data, science, and new technologies will enhance human agency rather than direct human actions with computers.

We are also thinking about the indicators of comparison we use, such as scores, GDP, and others. These indicators are now meaningless. What these indicators measure are things your mobile phones can do for you. What you can’t measure is your creativity, your ability to take initiative, critical thinking, and how you find common values.

There are also other indicators used in the international arena, including the sustainability index, OECD Better Life Index, or the UN’s Happiness Index. I heard Taiwan ranked No. 1 in Southeast Asia in that index. But these are all very general indicators. We want to look closer, break it down further, so everyone will understand that economic development depends on sustainability, not on things we can quantify.

 

Q:  What is your recommended reading list for facilitation? How did you start your learning about facilitation?

A:  Books like Dynamic Facilitation, From Conflict to Creative Collaboration, The Tao of Democracy, Participatory Sustainability, books by Andrew Samuels on psychoanalysis, and books on community building.

My book list shows that my focus was on group dynamics and group psychotherapy. I learned about the application of facilitation at a later stage. When I took over tasks for social responsibility, my predecessor, Professor Joyce Yen Feng, recommended your consensus workshop to me. At that time, I explained I had mostly learned from group psychology. My main focus is still long-term group dynamics. We hope that even petitioners or initiators can come back to this platform after completing this collaborative workshop so that we can establish long-term relations. Also, we hope we can research and design policies and later work at local government levels as implementing agents or other agents who can continue to work with the policies. I will continue to focus on long-term relations and long-term group dynamics.  

At the end of our conversation, we asked Minister Tang: Since CP Yen Foundation is focused on promoting dialogues, what else can we do for society and the new generations? Minister Tang praised our current endeavor and encouraged us to keep going. Tang was happy about the availability of a Chinese translated edition of the book Power and Love by CP Yen Foundation. Tang felt the examples in the book can act as excellent references for “transformative discussions” for Taiwan.

Click here for interview video : www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXsjSA8vmkI

Interview by Jorie Wu, Florence H. Chiang, and Jackie Chang, translated by Susan Chen

 

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