Building upon the foundation established over recent decades, The Mediation Futures Project will gather and report upon our best thinking about the future of the mediation field and mediation practice.
The Future of Public Policy

Public Policy Articles


Peter Adler

A User's Guide to Joint Fact Finding — "JFF"

(5/23/17)Peter Adler

Joint Fact Finding (JFF) is a public engagement strategy that creates a needed safe harbor for technical and scientific discussions between all sides.

Maria Volpe

Mediation in the Future of Policing

(11/08/16)Maria Volpe

The future of policing must incorporate mediation. No other profession places its practitioners more in the middle of challenging situations; police officers are regularly expected to make difficult conversations work on the spot.

Bernard Mayer

The Future of Mediation: Be Less Certain—and More Flexible

(10/24/16)Bernard Mayer

The challenge we face is how to be adaptable, but still focused and effective. To meet this challenge, we need to remain clear about our fundamental purpose, to keep working on refining our skills and enhancing the range of approaches we can take to achieving those purposes, to commit to diversifying our field, and to maintain a clear hold on our values and ethical principles.

Marvin E. Johnson

The Integrity of ADR Processes and the Risks of Blurred Boundaries

(4/14/15)Marvin E. Johnson

Historically, the three main dispute resolution methods used in the United States have been violence, avoidance, and litigation. Today, there are a variety of additional processes that can be used to foster the resolution of disputes. Many of these processes began gaining popularity in the early 1970s as a result of frustration with the varied human and financial costs associated with litigation.

Lisa Parkinson

Looking to the Future: Complexity, Chaos, and Making Connections

(3/31/15)Lisa Parkinson

Diversity matters! For mediation to develop in fresh and vibrant ways, we need to think and act creatively. Some of the best ideas come from making connections – for example, between mediation, sciences, and the arts – and through using these connections in practice. Bernie Mayer's article in the Mediation Futures series struck chords with me, with its references to complexity science, chaos, and the importance of adapting the ways we mediate to meet diverse needs, instead of expecting participants to fit in with the particular way we choose to mediate.

Howard Bellman

It’s Been A Trip and We're Not There Yet

(3/26/15)Howard Bellman

It seems I have reached the point in my career when those who would be historians ask for my recollections, assessment of the state of the art and vision of the future. Here is my polite reply, including my very personal description of our earliest days, some aspects of our evolution and the future as I would prefer it, not how I predict it. I would only add that I don’t know the dimensions of the learning curve we are on and I prefer to believe that despairing over unachieved goals is premature. Optimism, patience and tenacity ought to come naturally to mediators.

J Anthony Licciardello

Revolution Calling

(2/27/15)J Anthony Licciardello

The Need For Increased Coordination Among Divorce Professionals: The divorce experience starts early...perhaps in the therapists office and the Wednesday reading group where the decision is made...quietly... to move on. And once the papers are signed there are months of recovery, both financial and psychological, until a sense of "normal" is achieved. The whole process can take several years from start to finish, and involves a host of professionals. So it is no small surprise that the outcomes are varied and often poor.

Don't Rush

(2/26/15)Constantin-Adi Gavrila, Christian Radu Chereji

There is a lot of talk nowadays about the apparent failure of mediation to live up to its potential. Reports published on paper and online, presented before institutions or at various conferences, point to the relatively low number of mediation cases compared to the number of lawsuits filling the logs of the courts and then draw the inevitable conclusion that mediation has missed the opportunity of (be)coming mainstream.

Greg Rooney

Rebooting Mediation by Detaching from the Illusions of Neutrality, Just Outcomes, and Balanced Power

(2/23/15)Greg Rooney

I would submit that the next quantum leap for the theory and practice of mediation is to detach from the concept of neutrality as a core element of mediation practice. I propose to reboot the profession of mediation by championing the proposition that mediators are not neutrals. That they bring their own personal history and professional expertise to the process of assisting parties who are in dispute.

Alex Azarov

APR: Alternative Political Resolution

(2/20/15)Alex Azarov

Mediation has proven to me that adversarial litigation is an archaic way to resolve many of our conflicts. I think it's logical that we the best for the future is to use mediation to resolve the political deadlocks that are plaguing our societies, transforming democracy from the divisive popularity contest that it has become to the participatory civic engagement that so many have fought for.

Mary Aderibigbe

The Importance of Preventive Law to the Growth of Mediation

(2/10/15)Mary Aderibigbe

We are in the information era marked by influx of ideas, data flexibility and improved efficiency. This information age has to a large extent contributed to global decline in career and employment opportunities.

Integrating Conflict Management and Workplace Mediation Practices: A Blueprint for Future Practice

(2/03/15)Daniel Dana, Craig Runde

A key motive for closer integration between workplace mediation and conflict management processes is the desire of organizational clients to control costs. In a manner similar to the evolution from litigation to alternative dispute resolution, organizations are increasingly recognizing the advantages of improved ability of managers and employees to manage their conflicts at the lowest possible level and at the earliest possible time.

Robert Benjamin

The Place of an Old Fashioned Deal Broker in the Future of Conflict Management: An Interview with Kenneth Feinberg

(2/02/15)Robert Benjamin

Robert Benjamin recently interviewed Kenneth Feinberg for Mediate.com about his career over the last 30 years. He has managed the settlement of complex and difficult claims in the wake of some of the largest catastrophic events we have faced as a society and has pioneered an approach that has altered, not only the legal landscape, but also our culture. Read the interview in this article.

Debra Oliver

Mediation: Centerpiece of World Recovery

(1/20/15)Debra Oliver

This articles examines the future of mediation as a tool for global improvement. There are a variety of venues where mediation might prove to be the only answer for entrenched conflict.

The Future of Mediation in Different Sectors

(1/05/15)Susan Dubow, Elinor Robin

Mediation has come a long way in the last 4 decades since it was endorsed, but this article examines all of the areas in which mediation still needs to grow.

Douglas Noll

Doug Noll Discusses the Future of Litigated and Non-Litigated Mediation - Video and Transcript

(12/12/14)Douglas Noll

Doug Noll discusses the future of litigated and non-litigated cases.

Mary Novak

The Ups and Downs of ADR Policymaking

(9/26/14)Mary Novak

This is the story of how a law intended to increase mediation use led to a dramatic drop-off in mediation and what was done to try to fix the error.

Engineering Peace - Achieving the promise of mediation in the world's most difficult conflicts

(9/16/13)Nadja Alexander, Michael Leathes, Irena Vanenkova, Tina Monberg

Achieving the promise of mediation in conflicts that threaten the stability of societies and economies is one of the most important challenges of our time. Inspiring progress has been made in the past few years by the UN, and political leaders increasingly perceive mediation as vital for avoiding and resolving conflict at all levels in society, worldwide. Yet in individual cases mediation is rarely used as an avoidance and prevention process, and left until conflicts have escalated to the point that achieving a timely negotiated outcome, or avoiding a catastrophe, is virtually out of reach.

Peter Adler

Expectation and Regret - A Look Back At How Mediation Has Fared In The U.S.

(5/17/13)Peter Adler

In May, 2013, I gave a keynote talk to the Civil Mediation Council in London for their 7th National Conference. The question I was asked to address was: “What should we in England learn from the U.S. mediation experience?” Said differently, what might others profitably take from the explosive growth of court, community and privately offered mediation over the last 25 years in the U.S.? What hind-sights can we offer now that, by some measures, both countries have succeeded in marrying mediation into their civil law systems and legal cultures and what regrets and appreciations do Americans hold?

ODR and Government

(5/01/13)Ethan Katsh, Daniel Rainey

The topic at hand is the use of the Internet to govern, and the role that ODR can play in e-government. Our discussion of e-government will be divided into three main sections: What has changed?; What must government (and e-government) do?; and Where are e-government and ODR going?

Jeff Thompson

Mediators Instead of Police?

(5/07/12)Jeff Thompson

A new report, ordered after last year’s student protests on the UC Berkley campus resulting in the pepper-spraying of nonviolent student protesters that received global media coverage, has resulted in 50 recommendations over 133 pages. The report details recommendations on how to prepare and respond for similar situations in the future.

Joint Fact Finding A Strategy for Bringing Science, Policy and The Public Together When Matters Get Contentious

(6/06/11) Peter S. Adler, PhD; Todd Bryan, PhD; Matthew Mulica, MS; and Julie Shapiro, MS

JFF procedures are flexible, but have six essential characteristics. (1) They involve multiple stakeholders who may have very different viewpoints; (2) they are collaborative and require people to work together; (3) they are structured, meaning, JFF processes and meetings are not left to chance but are well designed and highly focused dialogues; (4) they are inquiry based and require a robust exploration to understand the problem from all angles; (5) they are interest driven study processes rather than forums for arguing value positions; and (6) they are integrative and multidisciplinary.

Frank Fowlie

The Next Generation of Online Ombudsman Consulting

(5/23/11)Frank Fowlie

The future of ADR includes an integration of technology.

Howard Bellman

Howard Bellman: Mediation Past, Present, and Future - Video

(9/27/10)Howard Bellman

Howard Bellman speaks of how the mediation field has become more mainstream, though it's original intention was to be more radical and counter-culture. He believes the field will continue to grow.

John Folk-Williams

Can Government Solve Big Problems Collaboratively?

(7/12/10)John Folk-Williams

The Open Government Initiative of the Obama Administration has given high priority to increasing the use of collaboration in the federal government. Yet many federal offices have not in the past encouraged the sort of collaborative mindset that is necessary for meaningful efforts in this direction.

John Folk-Williams

Defining Collaborative Leadership

(6/07/10)John Folk-Williams

What kind of leadership is most effective in building collaboration around public policy issues?

John Folk-Williams

Why Certify Public Policy Mediators?

(4/19/10)John Folk-Williams

In his keynote address at the 2009 conference of the Association for Conflict Resolution, Wallace Warfield discussed the difficulty of attempting to certify mediators when the role itself has become a moving target. Pinning down a set of qualifications and certifying competence based on a single definition of practice could have the effect of stifling innovation in a dynamic field.

Gail Bingham

Gail Bingham: Future Environmental Policy Mediators - Video

(4/18/10)Gail Bingham

Gail Bingham shares her views on how up-and-coming mediators should start mediating from the very beginning, involving all the parties in an assessment or diagnosis of the dispute.

Holly Hayes

Where Does ADR Fit In Health Care?

(4/05/10)Holly Hayes

Readers have asked us, “where does ADR fit in health care? It’s a good question and one we have contemplated ourselves. To learn more, we are undertaking an informal survey asking leaders in the field to share their thoughts and experiences on this topic. So far, we have learned that ADR techniques can be applied with the following groups:

Howard Gadlin

Howard Gadlin: Future of Mediation Profession - Video

(3/28/10)Howard Gadlin

Howard Gadlin discusses where he sees the mediation field heading in the next 25 years. It will become another reasonably established profession, credentialing standards will develop, standards and guidelines will formalize.

Larry Susskind

Collaborative Rationality

(2/22/10)Larry Susskind

In their extraordinary new book, Planning With Complexity (Routledge, 2010), Judith Innes and David Booher make the case for a new way of knowing and deciding.

John Folk-Williams

The Need For Collaborative Capacity

(11/09/09)John Folk-Williams

Increasingly, leaders and managers are looking to collaborative methods for dealing with contentious policy issues. When making a first attempt, they may well recognize that success takes a lot more than bringing people together to talk. They know they need guidance.

Kirk Emerson

Mediate.com Inside: Megatrends in Governance, Kirk Emerson

(10/27/09)Kirk Emerson

Kirk Emerson speaks on megatrends involving governance at the Keystone Conference, October, 2006

Ann Gosline

Mediate.com Inside: Megatrends in Society, Ann Gosline

(10/27/09)Ann Gosline

Ann Gosline speaks on megatrends involving society & culture at the Keystone Conference, October, 2006

Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow

Mediate.com Inside: Megatrends in Law, Carrie Menkel-Meadow

(10/27/09)Carrie J. Menkel-Meadow

Carrie Menkel-Meadow speaks on megatrends involving the law at the Keystone Conference, October, 2006.

Larry Susskind

Larry Susskind: Developing a Public Dispute Resolution Field - Video

(4/29/09)Larry Susskind

Larry Susskind reflects on the steps and processes of his current international work of developing a public dispute resolution field as well as discussing supply and demand.

Robert Benjamin

The Obama Presidency and the Future of the Conflict Management Business: The Mediative Leader and the Activist Mediator

(11/05/08)Robert Benjamin

While premature to presume, there is cause to believe, or at least to hope, based on the model of his presidential campaign that the leadership style and governance of President-Elect Barack Obama will be a boon to conflict management practice and a valuable endorsement of mediation.

Some Radical Thinking on Centrism, Politics, And the Future of Conflict Management

(8/01/05)Peter Adler, Christopher Honeyman

In the space of a single generation, it would seem, the idea of using less-adversarial methods of conflict management has come of age. But what of the political culture?

Building A Future By Consensus

(7/31/02)Mark Cullen

This article explores the creation of the U.S. Consensus Council.



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