Public and community engagement, involvement and participation is what we are doing as consultants. It is also what we help others do most effectively. We work with teams, companies and agencies on reaching consensus through public participation and collaboration. We usually find ourselves bridging divides by creating spaces where people are willing to participate to build solutions. Community engagement builds consensus. And below you have some of the best of the news and tips that we have found about how to engage communities. Or what happens when you do not. The latest news handpicked by our public sector consultants, all wrapped up with a sometimes snarky – yet always informed – perspective. Enjoy!

Social community cooperation concept and group crowdfunding investment symbol as a team of diverse hands nurturing a sapling tree with roots wrapped and connecting the people together i a 3D illustration style.

Community Engagement

Resisting Change

The truth is that life constantly changes. Almost all public participation issues and conflict are the result of change; mostly about the changes that you need to initiate and people supposedly need to accept. It’s equally true that we all tend to hate change, especially when someone else or some ...
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The Run DMC Model of Public Meetings

Public meetings are now mostly hybrid combinations of hosting in-person people and hosting those participating by Zoom. Managing these gatherings efficiently isn’t the same or as easy as managing meetings were back in “the before times.” Most of us are pretty sure these hybrid gatherings are here to stay so ...
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Virtually Helpful

The pandemic has changed all of our lives personally and professionally. The way that we now have to do our jobs with people has been the most obvious change. This profession, which has always been a generally high personal touch business, has transformed into a mostly no touch approach. And ...
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It’s All About the Problem

You can’t really solve the problem if the problem you’re trying to solve isn’t really the problem. (Huh?!) Understanding the needs, behaviors and beliefs of the people who will interact with the final product, service or policy that you’re trying to deliver – the problem you’re trying to solve – ...
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Our Existential Threat

The pandemic has taught us a lot about climate change. More specifically, the public reaction to the pandemic has taught us a lot about how people are likely to continue to react to a changing climate, what they’ll believe, whom to blame and what, if anything, they’ll be willing to ...
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Engaging Taxpayers

The American Rescue Plan (ARP) that passed in March in the U.S. is designed to be a game changer for reducing the national poverty rate, improving healthcare and bringing broadband access to people who don’t have it but need it badly. But like most government initiatives, the plan’s complex and ...
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Stop Doing Bad Public Meetings

Anyone doing this work for any length of time has horror stories and I’ll bet that most of them center on bad, traditional town hall style public meetings. You know, the ones that give you night sweats for weeks after. These are often the worst possible way to try to ...
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Decisions, Decisions

If you’ve taken the IAP2 Foundations course from us, you’ve heard us say (until you’re maybe tired of hearing us say it) that effective, authentic public participation is about making better, sustainable, powerful decisions. Public involvement isn’t just a nice, feel-good thing to do to placate the unruly masses; it’s ...
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Public Emotional Connections

Most of what’s written and discussed about public participation these days emphasizes online engagement and that’s understandable. It’s still new enough, organizations are able to reach an exponentially larger audience, and users’ comfort level and convenience continues to grow. But the rules aren’t really any different than they’ve always been; ...
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