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.
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.
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.
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?
If I mention the term project legacy, what do you think of? A statue? A plaque? Maybe it’s just the evidence of the project itself? Creating a legacy is so much more than the tangible results that are left behind on construction projects. Long after your team has left a project behind, they can (and should) leave a legacy.
There have been a few projects in the media of late where community groups have lamented a lack of consultation on projects prior to delivery. Many of these projects have centred on construction and development but a few have involved policy development in areas as diverse as energy, water supply and even the definition of marriage. However diverse the topics, one thing stood out as being in common.
In community engagement, we talk a lot about collecting people’s ideas and feedback. We talk about the power of active listening. But, if you really believe in community and engaging at a deeper, more meaningful level, then empathy should be the key focus throughout your planning, strategising and most importantly-engagement activity.
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.
"Backflip". It's become the ultimate criticism of Government, an easy, almost flippant attack wielded by media, oppositions and disaffected interested groups.
There are times in most projects when participants can simply be tired. This can sometimes be referred to as a cycle of negativity.
Public meetings. Ugghhhh. We often try to avoid them, but to be perfectly honest, I’ve also seen them work really well.
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.
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