With its research as a foundation, the DMG team crafts the hypothetical scenario that forms the spine of the program and determines a cast of characters that will drive the story forward. The producers look for drama as well as authenticity in the scenarios they create. Their goal is to challenge the characters in the story - and, therefore, the participants in the dialogue - to test their opinions and ideas in a series of very realistic and difficult decision points where there may be no one "right" decision.
As potential panelists are considered for the program, the team "casts" the characters in the hypothetical. The panelists will be called on to bring their professional and personal experiences to their roles, to illuminate the challenges the characters might face and the difficult choices that emerge.
Before the Dialogue takes place, the hypothetical "roadmap" is mastered by the moderator. The panelists have no idea what the story will be or what role is in store for them. They will discover their character and be forced to respond to the dilemmas that develop as the moderator slowly builds the plot of the scenario, adding unexpected new factors that complicate the judgments involved.
The result is a discussion that is relevant, spontaneous, and compelling. When programs are videotaped and edited, the spontaneity of the live event is scrupulously preserved. Whether experienced as a live event or through another media platform, the fascination of a DMG Socratic Dialogue comes, in part, from seeing participants struggle to find their way through the thicket of wrenching decisions emerging from the hypothetical, and asking oneself, "What would I do?"
The Socratic Dialogue's broader success consists in compelling the audience to confront knotty but essential issues in their own minds.