In this collection of original essays, empirical analysts and theorists across disciplines turn a critical eye to a variety of recent institutional forms and styles of innovation. They examine lived reality and theoretical underpinning, promise and accomplishment, but also the pitfalls and capacity-building challenges that face virtually all attempts to bring citizen voice, knowledge, and skill to the center of public problem solving. Their analyses are both hopeful and hard-headed and are guided by commitments to help understand appropriate fit and realistic sustainability. Cases include face-to-face deliberation, online networking and citizen journalism, policy forums, and community and stakeholder planning sessions across local, state and federal contexts. Policy issues run a broad gamut from community and regional economic development and environmental sustainability to minority rights and gay marriage.