Delta Dialogues: Read the Official Story, Get the Backstory


deltadialogues-phase1-story-thumb-500x670Phase I of our 2012 multistakeholder project, the Delta Dialogues is officially done, with the publication of the story of the process and a lunchtime panel in Sacramento attended by 150 people, including journalists and bloggers. Joe Mathews, professional journalist and storyteller, wrote 12,000 page-turning words, giving Michael Lewis a run for his money. The published story, designed by Amy Wu, includes candids of the participants and photos taken by Groupaya staff of the complex Delta landscape, the silent central figure that haunts these difficult conversations. To read the story for yourself, download your own copy here.

For those of you curious about how a practitioner thinks about a multistakeholder conflict, join Eugene Eric Kim, Rebecca Petzel, and myself, as we talk about the real story behind the design and facilitation of the Delta Dialogues. How were the participants chosen? How were they convinced to give their time to a once-a-month conversation that had the exquisitely “modest” goal of shared understanding, in a sea of well-funded and well-connected organizations, including such heavyweight players as the California governor, all aggressively advocating for their desired future of the Delta? How was conflict handled? What were the critical factors that enabled this project’s success? What were the biggest challenges? Why did it take a team of seven to pull it off? What would we do differently if we could do it all over again? What is next for the Delta Dialogues? Are there any lessons that are relevant for other organizations?

We’ll be meeting Wednesday, February 20, in San Francisco to discuss the project from a practitioner perspective, from 3:00-5:00 pm. RSVP in the comments below if you are interested in joining the conversation, and we’ll let you know the location.

  • Tim Bonnemann

    Would love to attend.

    • KristinCobble

      Great! So glad you can make it, Tim. We’ll send you a separate note with the location.

  • Betsy Merck

    Kristin- Love to attend if earlier meeting ends with sufficient time. Would you mind sending me location with the hope my timing works?

    • KristinCobble

      We’ll keep our fingers crossed that you can make it Betsy!

  • Gisela Wendling

    I’ll be there, too. Hope to bring one or two more folks from Ag Innovations Network. They will RSVP separately if they do. Gisela

    • KristinCobble

      Look forward to seeing you, Gisela!

  • Jeff Mohr

    Would love to attend and learn more.


    Thanks 4 the great work! I can be there until 4:20pm. Have an engagement at 4:30pm, Peggy

  • Noah Rimland Flower

    Count me in! Sounds like a fascinating story.

  • Joseph McIntyre

    First off, congratulations on the project. Great work! Would love to attend this.

  • Alissa

    I’d love to attend and congrats on moving the needle.

  • Elissa

    Glad I can join you and learn from your learning, looking forward to it!

  • KristinCobble

    Hi everyone,
    We are so excited that so many of you are able to make it! Today we are looking at a new space, that can accomodate more folks. We will confirm the space with you by the end of the week. Looking forward to the conversation!

  • Sande

    Hi – This sounds fascinating. I’d love to attend on Wednesday. Sande

  • Patrick Dippery

    Kristin, I’d like to attend and possibly bring one of our interns, Vasu, who will be working with me tomorrow.

  • Robert Miller

    Interested in attending. Can I still squeeze in? Where? Robert

    • Eugene Eric Kim

      Absolutely, Robert. We’ll be glad to have you. And you won’t have to go far, since it’ll be at Wikimedia!