The Inform Level is Indispensable
If you’re at all familiar with the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Spectrum, you know that the range of public influence level categories begins with ‘Inform’. And if you learned about the Spectrum from a licensed IAP2 instructor, you should also have heard that ‘informing’ people, in and of itself, is not really public engagement, but it’s there for a critical reason. There are some people urging the organization to drop the ‘Inform’ level from the Spectrum claiming that it’s somehow … disingenuous? To this I call, “bull-cookies”. It’s important to understand what it is, what it isn’t, and why it belongs there. Engaging people starts with informing them – skillfully and objectively. They can’t be engaged without some level of knowledge, and dropping the ‘Inform’ level would suggest this is somehow not all that important to the other levels. You’ll find the rest of my ‘inside baseball’ diatribe on this subject at The Participation Company blog.
And here’s another way of looking at this general subject.