150,000 people engaged – Community insight #3 Data and tech

Over the past four years, we’ve engaged more than 150,000 across Australia and New Zealand to address the big data issues facing our communities and organisations. That’s 150,000 people who’ve made an active contribution, mostly positive, and not just 150,000 clicks, views or shares and likes.

Data and tech is desired but difficult.

In most of the broad-scale engagements we’ve run previously, stakeholders will discuss the need for data and technology. And it’s not just the ICT people raising it. Community is more likely to talk technology.

But what are they saying and why?

  1. ICT and data should deliver community benefit: 

    Stakeholders and communities expect governments to use data and tech to make it easier for communities to live, and to reduce the costs of running government.

  1. Governments struggle to communicate about ICT and data: 

    But most organisations struggle to communicate about data or tech to anyone beyond the die-hard believers. They say it’s hard to describe the intangible to community. We know however, that communities can understand tech if we use techniques such as (a) interactive web-based communication tools (b) we use simple, non-log-in platforms to share information (c) use web-based games, interactive tools or AR and VR that allow people to explore their world (d) we de-jargonise communication by taking it out of the hands of the tech-heads and into the hands of trained communicators (e) we build the digital capability of citizens

  1. Using data to enabled informed comments from the community: 

    Sadly, most organisations fail to tap into their vast data repositories to tell a true story to their communities about need. In a world of open data and big data, that’s just not good enough. Communities deserve and expect better information to understand the problems we face, and to help them create more informed comments.

  1. Even if communities don’t understand the tech, they CAN prioritise where their public money should be invested. 

    Community and stakeholders understand the data problems that need to be solved.

  1. Tech-led solutions are distrusted by governments and public unless they solve a genuine need. 

    Our work with the Smart Cities Council of Australia has included working with a group experts across Australia and New Zealand to build the first Guidance Note on Civic Innovation released by the global network.

  1. People over 65 use social media. 

    Yes, using tech can reach youth, who typically don’t get engaged in community engagement. But it can also reach those over 65, especially older people who lack the mobility or the financial resources to attend community engagement activities.