Nashville Town Hall RoundTable Discussion – Sep 1, 2022 – Analysis and Decision-Making

Nashville Town Hall Roundtable, September 1, 2022 
Decision-Making Processes – Critical Thinking – Notes
 Presented by Tim J. Clark

Updated: Sep 5 , 2022

Facebook post at Brown County Matters. Sep 1, 2022. Tim J. Clark. Nashville Roundtable Discussion. Anna Hofstetter asked me to provide an overview of the assessment and decision-making processes that were incorporated in support of the Brown County Leader Network. I also supplemented with a context for “critical thinking” and the “Scientific Method.” Anna was the Town Council Rep present and there were three other members of the community including Commissioner candidate and school board member Stephanie Porter Kritzer Good discussions and ideas. These include how checklists can be used to support policies for approving decisions.

Outline and Notes

Purpose: Provide an overview and context for analysis and decision-making

Suggestion: Take a new or existing initiative and test out the methods and tools

Guiding Principle – Federalism. Citizens (We the People) and government at all levels working together toward “a more perfect Union.”

  • The quality profession has validated that the closer a product or service (including government services), gets to the ideal or target, the higher the quality (better results) and the lower the cost to the individual and society. Ref: Taguchi Loss Function

 1.  Identifying Problems and Solutions 

  • Avoid developing solutions without a clear identification of the problem. With a “Solution First” approach, bias enters into the identification of the problem in order to justify the need for the solution. 

2. Background Information – Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI) and Brown County Leader Network (BCLN)

  • HCI – State Program – Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA). Trainers from Ball State and Purdue

  • Three Categories of Projects – Placemaking (Quality of Life), Economic, or Leadership.
    • Brown County was the first community to select Leadership

  • Funding – 5K from the State; 5K from Brown County Redevelopment Commission (RDC)

  • May 2017. Application accepted – 30 Volunteers – numbers varied throughout the training and projects. Core Team – 4 members – Sandy Higgins, Darren Byrd, Brandon Harris, Tim Clark 
  • Capstone Project:
    • Initial – Placemaking – Local Foods
    • Revised, Approved, and Accepted – Brown County Leader Network, Support Guide and Website – Fact and process-based decision-making in support of continuous improvement
  • Self-Help Guide and Facilitation support 

3. BCLN-Support Guide

  • SWOT Assessment – Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats (Challenges)
  • Community Decision-Making Process
    • Problem or Opportunity
      • Context – Description of the situation, History, Background Information
      • Facts, Data, Assumptions, Constraints
      • Be Aware of: Speculation, Conjecture, Opinion, Anecdotes, Allegations, Hope, Context and people just making things up.
    • Ideal/Desired End State
    • Decision Criteria for Selecting the Best Option
    • Three Options or Alternatives (Solution)– Pros, Cons, Risk, Risk Mitigation
      • Analysis of Alternatives (AoA)
      • Risk – assess the level of certainty (1-10) and the harm that will be caused (High, Medium, Low).
    • Selection of the best option
      • Ranking against the decision criteria
    • Project Management – A project has a beginning and an end. Processes, Tasks, Schedule, Milestones
    • Strategic Planning – Systemic Approach – Stakeholder Identification and Assessment. (See SWOT). 
  • Stakeholder Identification
    • Direct – Receive the product/service
    • Internal – provide the product/service
    • Indirect – everyone else that is needed or affected in the near, mid, and long-term: Example: Suppliers, private, non-profit groups, other government entities, families, etc.
    • Stakeholder Assessment
      • Identify and Document: Needs, Product/Service Provided (Output), Expectations (Outcome) and Feedback Measures or Indicators
        • The Five Whys. To get to the need, identify the product/service and ask the Why Question; repeat the cycle.
    • Vision (See stakeholder expectations), Mission (See Products/Services), Goals, and Objectives (SMART), Feedback Metrics
    • Plan of Action and Milestones (POAM) – Includes a Follow-up plan

4. Scientific Method – PDSA – Integral part of BCLN

  • Hypothesis – Testable statement of a relationship derived from a theory. “If this, Then this.
  • Continuous Improvement and Learning Cycle: PDSA – – PLAN a change or test, DO: Carry it out – preferably on a small scale; STUDY the results; ACT on the results.

5. Critical Thinking and Fallacies. A system for building a “good argument. to support solutions and identification of a problem. Five criteria of a good argument: These five categories deal with:

  • The structural demands of a well-formed argument, (2) the relevance of the argument’s premises, (3) the acceptability of the argument’s premises, (4) the sufficiency of the relevant and acceptable premises to support the conclusion of the argument, and (5) the effectiveness of the argument’s rebuttal to blunt the force
  • Fallacy. “A fallacy is broadly defined as an error in logic and also to a mistaken or false belief.” ”A fallacy is a violation of one or more of the five criteria of a good argument.”
    • Example: Ad Hominin – attack the messenger (name-calling) and not the message
  • Rhetoric “The art of persuasive writing and speaking. The purpose is to persuade others to adopt a belief.”
  • Rhetorical Force. “The attempt to persuade someone to adopt a belief based on the psychological or emotive responses one has toward the idea.”
  • Common Rhetorical Devices– “Euphemisms and Dysphemisms, Weaselers, Downplayers, Stereotypes, Innuendo, Loaded Question, Ridicule/Sarcasm, Hyperbole, Proof Surrogates.”

6. Illustration of Critical Thinking – Criminal / Civil Case  

Sep 2, 2022. Update. The relationship to the “scientific method” in this case is that the aim of the justice system is to get as close to the same outcome based on facts and evidence despite “where” the trial may be conducted.

  • Problem/solution – compared an actual situation to the desired situation and identify a deviation (problem) – A basis for “The Argument”
    • Examples: County / Town Government – Proposed Solutions: New or Revised Ordinance, Project, Initiative, Expenditure, etc.
  • Roles (Stakeholders):
    • Community/Society – Benefits and Harms
    • Prosecutor – makes the case for the argument
    • Defense – makes the case against the argument
    • Judge – determines if the information presented is admissible – rules of evidence
    • Jury – evaluates all the evidence and makes a decision

Additional Information and References

 Brown  County Leader – Working towards a more perfect community, county and Union.

HCI -BCLN –  About

Independent Voters of Brown County. This site was used for posts until the HCI website was developed.

Capstone Project – BCLN

History HCI – Hometown Collaborative Initiative

Critical Thinking and Fallacies. 

 Other/ Misc – Various County and Town projects and issues

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