During spring and early summer of 2008, participants gathered in a series of small groups of eight to 10 people for discussions called visioning conversations. These conversations were the main component of the entire public process.
Two rounds of visioning conversations were held. The first focused on identifying community characteristics that participants appreciate today. The second round asked participants to apply creativity and out-of-the-box thinking to consider their vision for the future and what they want to see happen in Keene. Role-playing, creation of future news headlines, and visual mapping exercises helped to guide participants and stimulate creativity, independent of the feasibility of ideas.
The small-group discussion format was informal, often taking place in community gathering places such as coffee shops, the library, or in citizens’ homes. This allowed participants to feel at ease and openly share views and ideas.