開放政府的溝通模式: 訪 行政院數位政務委員唐鳳
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？
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。
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。
我們有一個YouTube頻道，就是PDIS（Public Digital Innovation Space）公共數位創
問： 在加拿大，政府與ICA (Institute of Culture Affairs文化事業學會)合作，將 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？
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。
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。
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，我們還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)
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 :