As we in court ADR continue to define what mediation, arbitration and other processes are, it might do us well to look at others who are defining processes. This came to mind when I was checking out the web site of the National Coalition for Dialogue & Deliberation, www.NCDD.org. Their introduction to the “streams” and processes of dialogue and deliberation contains almost 20 processes in the four streams: exploration, conflict transformation, decision-making, and collaborative action.
I’m not suggesting that most of these are the types of processes to which courts are going to refer litigants, but there are approaches that courts and their kin (mediation centers, bar associations, etc.) might think about using when designing and reviewing court ADR programs. A fresh approach might be just what is needed to think outside the box about ADR as it becomes increasingly institutionalized.