The Agoras

The “Agoras” is part of a rapidly expanding maker-space movement within which the Agoras specifically supports community understanding-making.  We work with, and through, individuals and organizations who take front line positions in civic engagement. In this sense, the Agoras operates in the model of the “Intel inside”® computer chip when complex situations require heavy duty design work.

We were founded by Alexander N. Christakis and Kenneth C. Bausch as a 501(c)(3) educational nonprofit organization to serve a global community of practitioners who work with structured dialogic design (SDD®); and to engage and train future generations of design dialogue managers. These services include research, training, and networking, with the goal of transferring structured dialogic design capacity into organizations across the world.

The term design management differs from the more familiar use of the term “design” because the management task is distinct from the design task.  Structured dialogic design provides a neutral environment for diversified groups working through highly complex situations so that they can design understandings and action plans inclusively, equitably, and efficiently.

Structured dialogic design capacity is needed because design is the essential third leg of the civic engagement triad: dialogue, deliberation, and design. Structured dialogic design is unique among design dialogue management practices because it is founded on the principles of the science of dialogic design and has a forty-year validation history of refinement in the crucible of corporate application.  The Agoras exists as an effort to transplant this industrial-strength process into the fertile soil of the civic sector.