episode 7

“Why We Need A Wiser Democracy Now” with Tom Atlee

Listen Now…


For all the links

Listen Now…


For all the links


Watch the episode below:


  • How the prime directive of wise democracy can help guide change agents who are navigating the non-linear complex system that is the whole that we are all part of.
  • Tom talks about how we need to out-Gandhi Gandhi.
  • Discover the world of the Wise Democracy  Pattern Language.
  • Learn how technology is revolutionizing democracy.
  • Uncover why activism isn’t working. 
  • Learn why we need to include climate deniers in the discussion.
  • Tom recounts an incredible story about dialogue bringing people in conflict together. 
  • Understand why we need to focus on the whole.
  • Learn about processes that exist to engage diverse groups and elicit their collective wisdom in service of the whole.
  • Learn about how those processes work and feel.
  • What it will really take to bring wise democracy into reality. (Hint: it’s about recognizing that we are already participating, whether we want to or not, and then striving to do it with wisdom.
Click here to download the transcript
Tom Atlee

About this episode’s guest

Tom Atlee is the creator of the Wise Democracy Project and a lifelong advocate for co-intelligence. Tom researches and promotes ideas and approaches for generating collective wisdom about public affairs, which he presents in an encyclopedic vision called “Wise Democracy”.

Guest Resources

Wise Democracy Project

The Wise Democracy Project exists to help us envision and co-create a deeply participatory culture that generates policies and activities that support the longterm quality of life.

Wise Democracy’s Prime Directive:

we seek to evoke and engage
the wisdom and resourcefulness of the whole
on behalf of the whole.

Listen to Tom Atlee’s Episode Fractal Friends:

“The Emergence of Wise Democracy” with Tom Atlee

Wise Democracy Pattern Language

The Wise Democracy Pattern Language highlights dynamic factors and design principles which can make an activity, organization or community more wisely self-governing. Based on hundreds of real-life innovations, this evolving database of wise democracy “patterns” helps us understand, re-imagine and transform the ways we manage our shared world.

Order your card deck

You can now buy a beautiful boxed set of version 2.0 pattern cards and support materials here. Version 2.0 is also available for free download here.

I  Diversity
How can we include enough diverse people and perspectives?
II  Interaction
What kind of healthy interaction can help us generate wisdom and resourcefulness?
III  Big Picture
How else can we see a big enough,full enough picture?
IV  Realizing Potential
How else can we tap the wisdom and energies latent in life’s dynamics?
V  Caring
How can we care in big enough ways?
VI  Action
How can we get things done in wholesome ways?
VII Sustainability
How can we sustain our wise activities over time?

Pattern Language Examples

Maclean’s The People’s Verdict

“Canadian Adversaries Take A Break to Dream: The Maclean’s 1991 Experiment”

One weekend in June, 1991, a dozen Canadians met at a resort north of Toronto, under the auspices of Maclean’s, Canada’s leading newsweekly. They’d been scientifically chosen so that, together, they represented all the major sectors of public opinion in their deeply divided country. But despite their firmly held beliefs, each of them was interested in dialogue with people whose views differed from theirs. That dialogue was facilitated by “the guru of conflict resolution,” Harvard University law professor Roger Fisher — co-author of the classic Getting to Yes — and two colleagues.

Read Tom Atlee’s full article here.


Interviews with major players in the Maclean’s 1991 “People’s Verdict” experiment


Maclean’s-Canadian TV “People’s Accord” Documentary

Canadian TV filmed the entire two-and-a-half day interaction and then wove highlights into an hour-long special edition of their regular public affairs program W5 which they dubbed “The People’s Accord”. Below you will find that program in its six parts with the advertisements clipped out.

Here’s a google drive folder with all the videos.

Part 1

Part 4

Part 2

Part 5

Part 3

Part 6

Topics Discussed in Episode

Dynanmic Facilitiation 

Dynamic Facilitation releases the innate creativity of people. In the face of difficult issues people rise to the challenge, pull together, and create practical, unanimous solutions.

Dynamic Facilitation evokes “choice-creating,” a special quality of thinking where people use all their capacities to achieve breakthroughs on impossible-seeming issues. Choice-creating is like what often happens naturally in a crisis, where everyone drops their old ways of thinking and comes together to achieve the impossible.

Healthy Democracy 

Healthy Democracy is a U.S.-based nonpartisan nonprofit that works to elevate everyday people in public decision making.
They use democratic lotteries to empower new voices and guarantee representation across our many diversities.  They design deliberative processes that prove a more collaborative politics is possible. They partner with governments, nonprofits, and other organizations to bring together Lottery-Selected Panels that tackle our most difficult policy issues –¬ from housing to health care.


Polis is a real-time system for gathering, analyzing and understanding what large groups of people think in their own words, enabled by advanced statistics and machine learning.

Getting to Yes
by William L. Ury, Roger Fisher & Bruce Patton

Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving in
Is the key text on problem-solving negotiation.
Getting to Yes has helped millions of people learn a better way to negotiate. One of the primary business texts of the modern era, it is based on the work of the Harvard Negotiation Project, a group that deals with all levels of negotiation and conflict resolution.
Getting to Yes offers a proven, step-by-step strategy for coming to mutually acceptable agreements in every sort of conflict.

About The Omni-Win Project

The Omni-Win Project is a multimedia effort to raise awareness of the myriad existing and emergent opportunities to improve our democracy and heal our political culture.

Our mission: facilitating the healing and evolution of our democratic systems and political culture, so that we can co-create a future that works for everyone.

Meet The Host


I’m Duncan Autrey, the Host/Creator/Source
of the Omni-Win Project.

I am a conflict transformation catalyst with over twenty years of experience working with conflicts around the world. I’m guided by the value of omnipartiality (a bias in favor of everyone), and my primary goal is to raise awareness the many ways conflict can be transformed into an omni-win outcome for everyone involved.

“Conflict is always an opportunity; it means we’ve discovered a line straight into someone’s heart.”

Fractal Friends

Duncan is also the host of the Fractal Friends podcast. An exploration of our self-similary across our diversity.

Fans of the Omni-Win project podcast will enjoy this collection of episodes: https://www.fractalfriends.us/transforming-politics about Transforming Politics and Healing Democracy

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