All posts in Stakeholder Engagement

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.

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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Facing the Music can build Community Trust

I recently had the pleasure of travelling throughout the Surat Basin in south west Queensland with a client of Articulous for a week, facilitating community information sessions. There were a few key lessons that I took away from that week that I thought were worth sharing, purely from a practical perspective.

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Public Meetings – the good, the bad and the ugly

Public meetings. Ugghhhh. We often try to avoid them, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve also seen them work really well.

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We are the Online World – how Technology and the Internet can enable Online Engagement

Recently discussions have begun to explore the concept that we are the internet and the internet is a reflection of us. This has many ramifications for the way we approach online engagement, so let’s explore what this means.

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Will Gamification work for your Project? – Reduce your Juice Revisited

It wasn’t just about engaging people, but about changing behaviour, so the games were designed to teach people positive actions and show them the gamified result with the aim of then replicating the real life behaviour

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Why Engage? Because we’re Human.

In an age where data is king, and every transaction and enquiry is trackable, some will ask “why engage?”. Why spend the time? Why take the added expense?

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8 tips to nailing a top-line presentation

Presenting your hard work can be daunting, especially when it’s to senior management, but it’s also a great opportunity to demonstrate what you have achieved and the value of your findings.

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Evaluation – what does it really mean for your communication or engagement project?

Evaluation is a common word in communication and engagement circles, and yet it is often overlooked or hastily considered at the conclusion of a project.

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Are we getting the Engagement Expectation Right?

“…This session is part of what will be ongoing engagement with industry and the community about the project. We want to involve the industry and community in the project. But this isn’t some all empowering engagement thing…”

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Digitally disrupted? Then it’s time to Re-Evaluate Communication and Engagement Practices

While the word ‘disruption’ may insinuate a problem, what is really being described is a movement or permanent change to the way business operates that can lead to benefits for the business and its stakeholders.

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Even when Engagement looks like it Failed it can Teach you a lot.

However this one particular session did not exactly erupt with enthusiasm from the local community. So what does this mean? Did the engagement fail?

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Why do Stakeholder Lists Matter, and Who is Responsible?

Knowledge of who your stakeholders are and how to contact them is imperative to any organisation, yet this is one area, in my experience, that organisations do poorly.

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Why Is Outrage In Public Discourse Acceptable?

It seems to me that outrage, confected or otherwise is being seen as a completely legitimate tool in public discourse.

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If You’re Not At The Dinner Table You Might Be On The Menu

In IAP2 and community engagement land there is a great saying that goes along the lines of; if you’re not at the dinner table you might be on the menu.

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Community Engagement Versus Stakeholder Engagement

Over the past few months of IAP2 training there have been some very interesting discussions about community versus stakeholder engagement.c

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