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August 6, 2015

From commsgodigital.com.au

  1. Citizen juries help make the quality of interaction better. In talking about the power of using citizen juries, Kathy Jones said they can help build better relationships with communities.
  2. Citizen juries allow community members to make hard decisions. Kathy says we should use citizen juries in the decision making process to help ensure Council is delivering the desired results.
  3. Randomly selecting citizens is better for the creation of such juries, and the process is fairly simple: provide good information and they will provide good results.
  4. Failure to communicate: some people you just can’t reach. This was a good reminder, that despite all our efforts, there are some people we as communicators will never reach and that’s ok. As long as we know we have tried our best!

By 

This is my second year attending the Government Communications Australia conference. This year I attended not only as a member of the committee, but also as a presenter. So there are many highlights, but here are the best takeaways!

July 31, 2015

From OpenSource.com

We are living in a time of radical openness—not of our governments, but of ourselves.

As we willingly open more of our lives to the public, government agencies are increasing their surveillance of us and also failing for the most part to take full advantage of digital technologies' ability to make public life more accessible and our public officials more accountable.

July 30, 2015

From CommsGoDigital.com.au

Yesterday, after having the app for a few weeks, I actually used Periscope for the first time. I’d been sat watching and reading all about it and its competitor, Meerkat but decided not to take the plunge until I fully understood what it was about. I wanted to make my first use of the app worthwhile but also to give me an understanding of how I could use it in my community engagement work.

By

Yesterday, after having the app for a few weeks, I actually used Periscope for the first time. I’d been sat watching and reading all about it and it’s competitor Meerkat but decided not to take the plunge until I fully understood what it was about. I wanted to make my first use of the app worthwhile but also to give me an understanding of how I could use it in my community engagement work.

July 28, 2015

From Fast Company:

In San Francisco, the Small Business Portal creates a blueprint for the process of starting a new business. The Small Business Portal launched in November 2014 and includes everything a person needs to know about starting, managing, and expanding a company. It's designed to streamline the nitty-gritty of entrepreneurship and even make it a little delightful. Since the Portal's launch, traffic has exceeded expectations.

May 20, 2015

We have available to us about a dozen ways that we could define the basic work of this book: engaging people in the public life and public decision-making of their community.  As I have learned over the years, talking about "public engagement" or "public involvement" or similar terms can become a quagmire, because it often turns out that people do not mean the same things by those terms.

Editor's Note: this article is a selection from a draft chapter for an upcoming book about online public engagement.  Your feedback is welcome - use the comment form below or go to wiseeconomy.com.  

By Della Rucker

April 8, 2015

From CEOs for Cities:

Before diving into implementing any tactical digital solutions, technology needs to take a spot alongside transportation, housing, and economic development in the strategic/master planning process. The roadmap needs to be forward thinking - next 18 months - and comprehensive;  it should include a full-scale analysis of all things digital, from a city’s social media strategy and website design to public wi-fi networks and open data policies.

By Michael Martin

 left my job as a city planner and joined a digital creative agency. Why? Because I am certain that to make our future cities versatile, responsive, and engaging, we must combine citizen interaction with smart technology and design.

March 26, 2015

From smartchicagocollaborative.org:

What distinguishes community-driven civic tech from “civic tech” more generally is the extent to which the humans that a tool is intended to serve literally guide the lifecycle of that tool. In other words, community-driven civic technologies are built at the speed of inclusion — the pace necessary not just to create a tool but to do so with in-depth communal input and stewardship — and directly respond to the needs, ideas, and wants of those they’re intended to benefit.

March 24, 2015

From commsgodigital.com.au

In the last two and a half years, our council Facebook page has grown from 1500 likes to 8500 likes – approximately 6% of our population. We have transformed it from a neglected comms channel to an important platform for communicating and engaging with our community. Here are my 24 tips for managing a local government Facebook page.

By 

In the last two and a half years, our council Facebook page has grown from 1500 likes to 8500 likes – approximately 6% of our population. We have transformed it from a neglected comms channel to an important platform for communicating and engaging with our community. Here are my 24 tips for managing a local government Facebook page.

March 24, 2015

From CitiesSpeak.org (The National League of Cities)

In a recent article by Jonathan Reichental, CIO of Palo Alto, he explains the importance and potential of civic innovation and urges city leaders to prioritize innovation at all levels of government. “Civic innovation” sounds broad and daunting, but there are three steps governments can take to successfully make it a central part of their strategy.

by Gayatri Mohan of PublicStuff

Innovation is all around us, and it’s more than just a buzzword. Cities of all sizes are tapping into multiple channels and local resources; they’re creating effective strategies for innovation in governance.

March 20, 2015

From commsgodigital.com.au

 It’s certainly true that by doing only online engagement you are alienating people who can’t or don’t want to, for whatever reason, get online and participate. But mirror that situation when using only using offline tools and you are effectively doing the same. 

March 13, 2015

From Granicus.com:

No matter the situation, there's likely someone who will not agree with various items that come up for discussion.

While these may often be civil discussions, things can turn very ugly very quickly in a public forum. And when this happens, anger supersedes reason, accusations get tossed about and the important topics at hand become afterthoughts.

Contentious meetings may not happen all the time, but when they do, there are a few things that you can do to turn them back around.

By 

We've all been in meetings before – whether it's an internal powwow with staff or a town hall with citizens. No matter the situation, there's likely someone who will not agree with various items that come up for discussion.

While these may often be civil discussions, things can turn very ugly very quickly in a public forum. And when this happens, anger supersedes reason, accusations get tossed about and the important topics at hand become afterthoughts.

March 12, 2015
From CoUrbanize.com

For such a pragmatic business, real estate development can get surprisingly personal. Simple misunderstandings over a development project can quickly turn ugly, and before you know it your company’s reputation is on the line.

While the Internet can be a breeding ground for angry commenters and unflattering social media posts, it can also be the best place to be proactive. An online civic engagement platform will help protect your company’s reputation, and while we can’t promise you’ll all be singing kumbaya, here are five ways it can help:

By Kate Loftus

For such a pragmatic business, real estate development can get surprisingly personal. Simple misunderstandings over a development project can quickly turn ugly, and before you know it your company’s reputation is on the line.

March 5, 2015

From Code for America Blog: 

Unfortunately, coffee + people does not equal participation or productivity. It’s important that all your facilitators are trained and ready to cultivate an active, inclusive, participatory space.

This crash course offers some easy to implement facilitation tips that can really help you create an open and inclusive space at any event; from your weekly hack night to your upcoming CodeAcross event.

BY BRIELLE PLUMP

So, your huge event/hack-a-thon/un-conference/extravaganza is THIS weekend!  It is time to do a final run through of the day and double check your ready with the most essential items.

The Checklist

Confirmed location  ✓

Invited city employees and government partners ✓

Invited other local NGOs and community partners ✓

Invited everyone else I know ✓

Confirmation emails sent to attendees ✓

March 3, 2015

From Living Cities

Go ahead, Google it. “Community engagement” is there, and it’s attached to everything from sports teams to businesses to libraries to universities. With all those associations out there, it can be difficult to identify “authentic community engagement” and to understand its power and potential for meaningful and sustainable change. Through my work with Nexus Community Partners, a community building intermediary in the Twin Cities, we’re trying to change that.

January 20, 2015

From Kettering Foundation

As attention to public deliberation has increased, one core interest of researchers has been evaluating the impact of deliberative processes. Researchers, practitioners, elected officials, and participants themselves want to know if what they’re doing matters. Does public deliberation impact policy? Does it change our attitude toward issues? Does it adhere to democratic ideals?

January 15, 2015

From Bang the Table

Online communication is not without shortcomings, however, many of those are perceived, rather than real. In this post, I will walk through eight disadvantages of online communication – some real, some perceived – specifically in the context of citizen engagement. Importantly, however, I will also suggest strategies to ameliorate the specific shortcomings.

There are a number of clear advantages and disadvantages of online communication that need to be considered when you are planning a digital citizen engagement strategy.

I have outlined the advantages in some detail in an earlier post.

January 9, 2015

From where I sit, it looks to me that online public engagement is in that phase today.  I wouldn’t necessarily assume that there’s any major consolidation on the horizon — we’re talking about software, after all, not manufacturing — but we are in a period where common language, common assumptions, and a common taxonomy and selection heuristics have not taken hold.  That’s in part because “public engagement” itself doesn’t have a clear definition or universally-shared assumptions (except for the Town Hall Three Minutes at the Mic Model, which pretty much everyone admits doesn’t work).

By Della Rucker [ED: Della is also the Managing Editor of EngagingCities]

Just got confirmation from Routledge this morning that I will be writing a book about the selection and use of online public engagement tools for release late next year!  The book has only a working title so far, but I did write a draft introductory chapter for the editorial board to consider.  It will give you a bit of a sense of where I think I am going with this thing.  Stay tuned for more news as it develops….

January 6, 2015

From Clean-Sheet.org

Follow these simple guidelines to make your data or statistical releases as useful as possible.

  1. Don’t merge cells.
  2. Don’t mix data and metadata in the same sheet.
  3. The first row of a data sheet should contain column headers. None of these headers

Follow these simple guidelines to make your data or statistical releases as useful as possible.

December 12, 2014

from bangthetable.com

A couple of weeks back, during an interview with a community engagement practitioner, I asked what “engagement” meant to him, and how it differed from “participation”. His response surprised me, “as far as I’m concerned, they mean the same thing”. You just replace “engagement” with “participation” or “involvement” depending on where you are.”

I’m not sure if this quite correct. Language is important, and we usually select specific words and phrases because of their specific contextual meaning, cultural fit, socio-cultural history and a whole range of other factors...it is all too easy to fall into the trap of imagining that the way “we”, (you and me) use a particular phrase, is the same as the people sitting next to us on the bus, or across the table during a negotiation, or when we’re trying to design a process based on a shared understanding of desirable outcomes.
.

By 

The language of “community engagement” is tricky, and can be a minefield for the uninitiated. In Australia, “community engagement” has come to dominate the lexicon. In other parts of the world other phrases hold sway.

December 4, 2014

bangthetable.com

Before you launch into your next project, ask yourself “is this question we’re putting to the community just a little condescending?” Unfortunately, all to often, the answer is yes. Condescending community engagement is rife in the public, private and third sectors. Why?

Many years ago I hired a consultant on the recommendation of my boss. She was tall, smart, sophisticated, immensely experienced and knowledgeable, immaculately groomed, well spoken, and generally very impressive. So why did the community I was working with take an almost instant dislike to her?

The short answer is that they felt (and arguably were) condescended to.

By 

Before you launch into your next project, ask yourself “is this question we’re putting to the community just a little condescending?” Unfortunately, all to often, the answer is yes. Condescending community engagement is rife in the public, private and third sectors. Why?

December 3, 2014

blog.courbanize.com

To best navigate these public meetings and ensure inclusive public participation, planners have developed toolkits for consensus-building in the face of huge initial disagreement.

The next time you find yourself in an argument with residents or struggling with a tough decision, try these strategies:

Within today’s political climate, we’re all familiar with the gridlock that can result from strongly held opinions.  This delay in process can occur at all levels—we’re seeing it now on major national debates, but it also happens regularly within town halls during public meetings. 

To best navigate these public meetings and ensure inclusive public participation, planners have developed toolkits for consensus-building in the face of huge initial disagreement.

October 31, 2014

Your community panel’s growth can be turbocharged using a variety of strategies. One sure fire method is to embrace a little controversy and engage the community about highly emotional issues.

The single most often asked question I hear in relation to online community engagement is, “how do we get more people to get involved in the conversation?”

It is such a recurring theme that we created a tips sheet on exactly this t

October 29, 2014

More than 60 percent of the world’s population remains offline. Without removing crucial deterrents to Internet adoption, little will change—and more than 4 billion people may be left behind.

In a little more than a generation, the Internet has grown from a nascent technology to a tool that is transforming how people, businesses, and governments communicate and engage. The Internet’s economic impact has been massive, making significant contributions to nations’ gross domestic product (GDP) and fueling new, innovative industries. It has also generated societal change by connecting individuals and communities, providing access to information and education, and promoting greater transparency.

October 27, 2014

Open data is the future – of how we govern, of how public services are delivered, of how governments engage with those that they serve. And right now, it is unevenly distributed. I think there is a strong argument to be made that data standards can provide a number of benefits to small and mid-sized municipal governments and could provide a powerful incentive for these governments to adopt open data.

By Mark Headd

This is an expanded version of a talk I gave last week at the Code for America Summit. The video from my talk should be up shortly.

An uneven future

“The future is already here – it’s just not evenly distributed.”
William Gibson. The Economist, December 4, 2003