Meet Don Lenihan
Dr. Don Lenihan is President and CEO of Middle Ground Policy Research, based in Ottawa, Canada. He is also Senior Advisor at the Institute on Governance in Ottawa. Don is an expert on governance and public engagement who is internationally recognized for: (1) his skills as a writer and analyst; and (2) his innovative use of engagement processes to address complex collaborative tasks, especially in strategic planning, governance and accountability, and organizational change.
Don has over 30 years’ experience as a project leader, researcher, writer, commentator, speaker, senior government advisor, trainer and facilitator. Throughout his career, he has developed and led many research and consultation projects involving senior public servants, academics, elected officials, journalists, and members of the private and third sectors from across the country.
His is the author of numerous articles, studies, and books, and for several years wrote a widely read, weekly column on policy and politics for National Newswatch, Canada’s preeminent political news aggregator. Don earned his PhD in political theory from the University of Ottawa and is bilingual (English/French).
PROJECT PLANNING AND PROCESS DESIGN
Don has extensive hands-on experience planning, designing, and delivering research and engagement processes of all sizes and forms. His expertise and experience extend to every aspect of such projects, from setting a project’s objectives to evaluating its results.
FACILITATION AND INTERVIEWS
Don regularly serves as the lead facilitator in his projects and is equally at home leading large or small groups, helping participants tell their stories, and guiding them as they reconcile difficult conflicts over interests or values. He also uses one-on-one interviews for a variety of purposes, such as exploring the space around an issue or looking for openings for solutions.
Don has highly developed conceptual and analytical skills. He is a quick learner who leverages the experience and expertise of the subject matter experts, stakeholders, and citizens around him, as he works with participants to explore, frame, and resolve issues. He also often uses more conventional forms of research, such as literature reviews and internet searches.
Don is a highly accomplished writer whose publications range from short accessible pieces on policy and politics to lengthy and highly technical works on the methodology of public deliberation.
EXPERIENCE AND EXPERTISE IN POLICY AREAS
Over the years, Don’s projects have covered a wide range of policy topics, but he is especially comfortable working on governance, social policy, and public service delivery.
A TRAINER AND EDUCATOR
Don’s writing, teaching, and public speaking have made a significant contribution to governance and the theory and practice of public engagement. For example, he has given over 150 seminars and workshops on public engagement to over 2,000 participants across Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Trinidad and Tobago, and Singapore.
WORKING WITH OTHERS
Don’s projects often use project teams, large and small and, as a team leader, he understands the importance of clearly defined roles and tasks. As a team member, he knows the value of working collaboratively with others to achieve shared goals.
MEETING OBJECTIVES AND DEADLINES
Setting clear objectives and meeting deadlines are essential for effective processes. As a project leader and a team member, Don is methodical and highly organized. He meets deadlines and focuses on tasks in a way that assures that the output achieves the objectives.
DON'S FULL-LENGTH CV
Don’s full bio includes descriptions of many of his projects over 30 years, along with links to a lengthy list of his reports, papers and books. For access to his full bio, CLICK HERE. For a concise overview of these projects and publications, recent and past, see Recent Projects.