Supporting citizens' deliberation

Citizen Engagement

Citizens need, and increasingly demand, opportunities to have a voice in decisions that affect their lives. More than any time in the past 50 years, leaders in government, business, and nonprofits are called upon to provide forums for their constituencies to contribute to those major decisions.

We at CBI view citizen engagement as an important element of democracy, and so we seek to design forums with robust participatory structures. The goal is to foster meaningful dialogue, shared understanding, and engagement that support joint problem-solving and new ideas.

CBI has succeeded in citizen engagement by, for example:

  • Eliciting and clarifying citizen priorities for a 21st-century transportation system in Massachusetts through interactive statewide workshops, and contributing to the state’s decision-making on new transportation policies and investments
  • Reaching out to a wide range of stakeholders on what is important to individuals, local communities, and national visitors as the Bureau of Land Management and the U.S. Forest Service develop a management plan that integrates divergent goals for Browns Canyon National Monument in Colorado
  • Facilitating public forums across New England to develop shared data and methods, and coordinate effectively among federal and state agencies, for uses of U.S. territorial waters in the northeast Atlantic
  • Designing and facilitating a statewide process for New Hampshire citizens to weigh in on improving the state’s energy siting process, leading to the passage of a new, widely-supported energy siting law

Our Services


Convenors/clients and stakeholders consistently note our facilitators and mediators’ ability to:

  • Structure Productive Meetings

    We design engagements—using interactive tools, data, expert opinions, and ground rules—for productive and engaging meetings.

  • Be Inclusive

    Our commitment to inclusivity and cultural sensitivity ensures that people with a range of perspectives can participate and express their views.

  • Incorporate Expert Knowledge

    We integrate technical, local, indigenous, and policy expertise to tap into knowledge and wisdom across sectors and disciplines.

  • Manage Disputes

    Through their calm, respectful, and approachable manner, our facilitators and mediators help participants address controversy constructively.