Why live community forums are making a comeback

In the past few months I’ve had the pleasure of attending a number of live community forums in South East Queensland. While attending these forums it struck me how much has changed in community engagement practices in the past ten years. More recently live community forums, with open invitations, seem to be making a comeback.

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Why staff, stakeholders and community are better at innovation: 5 Insights

Frank wore high-vis and a shaggy beard. He worked with his hands. And he managed his crew with an iron fist. He was 50-plus and locked into a rut.

He did not look like the face of innovation.

But in Frank’s words … why wouldn’t we innovate? We have a legacy to leave. We need to do better.

Across from him at the stakeholder event, sat Joe. Joe wore a buttoned-down shirt and closely-cropped hair. An accountant by trade, he trusted numbers. He was experienced and weary. Set in a process-oriented world.

He also did not look like the face of innovation.

But in Joe’s words … why wouldn’t we try?

With the right environment of engagement, Joe then did what so many managers struggle to do. He assessed the challenges and opportunities. Scanned the globe for the latest innovations, and then developed a new financially-viable solution to waste.

He’d worked out market demand and customer needs, product development requirements and the parameters for a pricing model. It was an obvious solution to a problem that the client had not fully understood.

It was easy for him. Because he was the customer.

It was easy for Joe and Frank because they weren’t the managers running a business and managing internal processes and systems.

Being outside the managerial framework and outside the organisation meant they were free. Free to think. Free to innovate. Free to apply an outside-in approach that can only be achieved through community and stakeholder engagement and market research.

There are countless more stories: the development of new app that will streamline compliance processes costs and save millions to an energy organisation, creation of a centralised system to map capability to automate HR processes, financial commitment by disparate parties to create a regional ecosystem to drive innovation on the ground.

In working across innovation, digital economies and smart city work across the country, here are 5 key insights:

  1. People are more innovative than you’d think – if you ask them for ideas rather than feedback. The community and stakeholders are far too often asked to comment on someone else’s ideas when, as a customer or community member and buyer or user, they may have better insights on need.
  2. People with less, and with greater challenges to overcome are often more likely to think creatively – mostly because they’ve needed to. Look at any regional city who’s grappled with fluctuations in the commodities markets to examples.
  3. Thinking innovatively takes more than buzzwords – people need a framework with objective information and assessment from which to start.
  4. Bringing Innovations to life takes much more than an off-the-shelf strategy – you need to build capacity and ecosystems, especially at a city-wide or regional level. Consider design thinking, derive thinking, customer experience, community experience mapping and feasibility
  5. Staff can be more radical in their approaches than managers. Managers often focus on the obstacles rather than the opportunities, and spend too much time worrying about how to gain staff buy-in and then lose their ability to take risk. Being at the frontline also puts staff closer to the root problems and brings them face-to-face with potential opportunities.

Articulous is the premier community and stakeholder engagement firm in the country and consults to the highest levels of government in both Australia and New Zealand. Their corporate clients have included several in the ASX top 50.

Their innovation work includes digital transformation of cities and regions, adapting planning schemes and products and services to meet climate change, and leading corporate organisations through a managed process of product, service and cultural innovation.

Queenslanders: The State of Health

As our attention turns to State of Origin this week, the team and I have stopped to recognise the many amazing wins that the State of Queensland has championed. Our discussion sharply focused to what we do better than NSW.

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Good presentation skills require us to challenge our preconceptions

What are the elements that make for a good communicator, or conversely, a poor one? Why is it that some have the gift of presenting and some do not? How do presenters stand out when most follow a very similar formula?

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Artificial Intelligence: Is it something to fear or favour?

I am intrigued by the fear of a potential technological revolution. Will technology steal away my livelihood? Will it mean we are devoid or lacking of skills required to fully embrace new technology?

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Let’s talk Citizens’ Juries – with Max Hardy

Citizens’ Juries have proven to be quite versatile for a range of issues and decisions. More recently I have seen some citizens’ juries address more open ended questions, providing directions for long term planning, and identifying principles to inform policy development.

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Project E

Here at Articulous we have been working on a very exciting start up project which promises to be a game-changer in the world of engagement and evaluation.

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Why an Ethical Approach to Engagement is Critical

Ethics in engagement is vital. We need ethics to keep the process open, honest, inclusive, far-reaching, respectful, fair, collaborative, and informative. Without ethics, people lose faith in the engagement process, they don’t trust it, they feel used, marginalised, unheard and irrelevant.

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Good Engagement Practice leads to Safer Communities.

Articulous has been fortunate to be working on a number of projects in 2017 in the Rockhampton and Yeppoon areas and our best wishes go out to residents affected by flooding as a result of Cyclone Debbie.

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The Biggest Loser ratings fail has taught us a valuable lesson.

Watching the latest episode of Biggest Loser (BL) got me thinking, where did it go wrong?

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Could a conversation with a computer change how we engage?

Conversational User Interfaces (CUIs), more commonly known as voice recognition tools or chatbots, have big implications for engagement professionals, and we should be excited – very excited. The question on my lips is not whether the rise of conversational interfaces can help us to engage, but how we can best use them to engage in meaningful ways.

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Why exploring digital trends and applying intuition works

To be noticed in today’s avalanche of information, businesses need to engage an audience within seconds. This means cutting through by being intuitive, innovative and truly understanding the audience. Finding fast ways to communicate and using engaging content is essential. Digital strategies are now a big part of this.

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‘The Internet of Things’ is invading my personal space, but I’m OK with it

Without sounding dramatic, we are quickly and surely being made subject to a mass invasion of the technological kind. The Internet of Things (IoT) affects us on a daily basis, whether we like it or not.

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Using technology to create responses

Quite often, a major goal of any communication or public relations strategy is to have a significant impact on the feelings, attitudes and behaviours of stakeholders. The rise of technology like virtual reality offers new possibilities for storytelling and new ways to impact people. As a practitioner who loves the power of the written word, the potential impact for life-changing communication programs to be implemented is both intriguing and challenging.

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Rise up NOKIA 3310 and be proud, old technology was amazing too!

If the rumours are true, and the NOKIA 3310 is set to be revised at the Mobile World Congress, this is an exciting time. I owned one of these delightful handsets, and it stood the test of time.

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Citizen Democracy – making it work for Australians

This appears to be the most opportune time in modern history for citizen based democratic processes to become more prevalent. As perhaps illustrated by a rise in populist politics like Pauline Hanson’s One Nation, that pay little regards to complexities, citizens are seeking answers that they are yet see from mainstream politics. However, this potential comes with limitations.

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What makes a great leader?

Drawing from my own personal experience, there is one exceptional leader who I will never forget. He had a way of connecting and cutting through. His authenticity, energy and commitment to delivering his vision was palpable, you could feel it simply by entering the room. He acknowledged that as the face of a successful company he was never alone, he explained that his success was a collective effort of his team and that he was “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

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Could non-verbal expressions add value to an engagement campaign?

Communication is so much more than the spoken word. While many of us like to verbalise how we feel or think, it’s often the expressions that go with our words that add meaning. The question begs then, could we analyse only those expressions to gather rich and meaningful data?

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The Millennials: How do we engage this new workforce?

Millennials certainly are creating change and challenging our traditional beliefs when it comes to how work gets done. Managers who are traditionally accustomed to a Baby Boomer workforce will need to engage new strategies to retain and motivate this growing group of Millennials.

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