The MIT/UACh team hosted a Devising Seminar in Santiago in January 2013. A Devising Seminar is an informal, facilitated brainstorming session that brings together high-level representatives of a range of stakeholders to imagine (or devise) possible actions any of the parties could take individually or together to help resolve the specific conflicts or concerns at hand. These ideas may be as grand as sweeping policy changes at the national level, or as simple as small gestures a company might make to build trust in a community. The ideas generated at the Seminar are captured in a non-attributed summary document, which the parties may use (or not) to follow-up with each other and the organizations or communities they represent when planning future actions.
In Chile, ten influential individuals from government, environmental and human rights NGOs, a group of Mapuche communities, and hydro companies attended the Devising Seminar hosted by UACh and MIT. The half-day seminar was held in Santiago, and was facilitated by Professor Susskind and two colleagues, David Plumb and Betsy Fierman from The Consensus Building Institute.
The question the Seminar was designed to consider was, “How can communities, government, indigenous groups, and environmental interests create better opportunities to raise concerns and participate in decisions about hydropower development?” Prior to the meeting, the MIT/UACh team drafted a discussion paper entitled “Conflictos y la Participación de los Actores en el Desarrollo Hidroeléctrico Chileno” (available in English and Spanish). This paper was designed to frame the conversation and help the participants prepare for the meeting. During the meeting, the participants spoke passionately about their respective interests and listened respectfully to each others’ views. With the help of the facilitators, the group generated a small handful of ideas about what they might do separately, or in collaboration, to address their collective concerns.