Brief reasons for experiencing/ experimenting with a structured planning process in a seminar course:

1. We often have to work in groups (e.g., in meetings), get frustrated by the group's inefficiency or power dynamics, and yet find it difficult to do something to improve the group process.
2. Environmental planning and advocacy increasingly involves participation in community planning and conflict resolution.
3. In many realms of society, including the business world, the new sense of leadership is closer to facilitated planning, in which a decision is right if it is followed through by the group. (The old leadership was that an individual was supposed to have the right answer and then direct others to follow.)
4. More generally, there is a growing emphasis on the need for a vigorous civil society, that is, of institutions between the individual and, on one hand, the state and, on the other hand, the corporation. ICA's techniques for the planning process have been developed through three or four decades of "facilitating a culture of participation" in community and institutional development.

Peter Taylor, Feb. 98