Our Process

Open-Inquiry Mindset

Our mindset determines how we think about our role and our goal in any conversation. An open inquiry mindset is comprised of four core statements:
1.) I can always learn more about myself, others, and the world around me.
2.) I can dig into the details of messy information. The most interesting problems usually don’t have obvious right answers.
3.) I can let go of certainty – my current ideas and beliefs do not define me.
4.) I’m curious about people who see things differently than I do.

Community Ground Rules

Clearly articulated, mutually agreed upon principles are necessary to set the expectations for conversation. Ground rules are vital for creating a shared understanding of what the group is attempting to accomplish and how it will get there. Ground rules also remove the pressure off individuals to decode any unspoken norms (e.g., “Don’t be the first person to speak.”) that might be in play at any moment.
Community ground rules may include:
1.) Seek out multiple, conflicting perspectives. We are seeking a volume of ideas, not a consensus.
2.) No ideas are off the table, ignored, or untouchable.
3.) Treat others as individuals, not as representatives of any group.
4.) Everyone gets a do-over. Let people rephrase statements or questions if they don’t feel they got it right the first time.

Skills and Behaviors

The Mill Center toolbox focuses on five categories of skills:
1.) Applying an analytical lens
2.) Interpreting data and recognizing its limits
3.) Reflecting on our thinking
4.) Exploring the thinking of others
5.) Generating new ideas
Each of these categories houses a large set of sub-skills including mapping arguments, assessing the validity of statistics, media literacy, active and empathetic listening, self-reflection, and more.