Meaningful Engagement Unlocks Equitable Input
Installment #2 of the Effective Engagement Blog Series:
In this series, we will discuss the four elements of an effective engagement strategy (outreach, input, analysis, and feedback) and how practitioners may address the post-2020 resiliency and trust building challenges associated with the ongoing change in community expectations.
In this installment we address equitable opportunities for the community to provide input that encourages contributions from diverse voices and the collection of meaningful data.
Asking for Input
Community input can take a variety of forms, whether it be survey responses, testimony, or a personal email exchange, the need for an equitable strategy that engages a broad demographic within the community or project era is key to effective decision making.
When asking for input, a willingness to listen paired with a comprehensive outreach communication plan will help contextualize the challenge or opportunity at issue. This combined approach (willingness, strategy, and communication) establishes a realistic view of existing conditions, articulates transparency, and offers significant opportunities for providing input.
Asking for input must capitalize on community insight by considering things like using the predominant characteristics of the community to tailor your requests for input. Tailoring these requests incorporates accommodations into the process that makes it easier for more people to provide input. Examples of these types of accommodations may include:
The culture of viewing the community as co-collaborators with valued insight may be a challenge depending on the way a given community has approached public engagement in the past.
One fairly typical collaboration struggle emerges regardless of setting (work, public etc.) and can be mediated through messaging and engagement strategy that acknowledges the subtle differences between input and feedback.
When we are asking for feedback, we are taking an initiative, communicating it, and then asking for thoughts, opinions, questions, etc. about the initiative we took.
Conversely, when we are asking for input, we are opening ourselves up to the ideas, insights and information of someone else, and then working with those ideas alongside our own. Together, we take a step toward a desired outcome. If we think we are asking for input but are really only getting feedback, we’re not truly collaborating.
Tia Peterson, The Critical Difference Between Input and Feedback
Adding an equitable lens to this understanding of input versus feedback will empower your efforts to meaningfully engage a broader audience in the collaborative process by soliciting real input that can be used in the decision making process.
Unified Tactics, Visualization, & Course Correction
From standard to novel, public engagement tactics vary in scope and effectiveness widely. The success of an engagement strategy is directly dependent on the appropriate application of the tactics, which must (in this day and age) include a digital experience element.
Unifying engagement increases efficiency and supports an ongoing view of the equity impacts of your efforts. When tactics and engagement are unified in one place, equity challenges are easier to plan and course correct.
Accessibility & Data Collection
One of the most efficient ways to support an accessible data collection strategy is by leveraging technology that provides dynamic options that lowers the barriers that prevent equitable participation.
Want to learn more about how the PublicInput technology can help? Schedule a chat with one of our engagement experts to learn more about:
Upgrade Public | CRM with the Public | Equity Mapping feature to visualize participant data overlaid with custom environmental and socio-economic data specific to your community or project area.
A Public Portal that increases project awareness and transparency by providing a customized listing of projects, meetings, and resources all in one place.
Public | Surveys provide dynamic options for informing and engaging the public with mapping, budgeting, videos, images, and PDFs.
Public | Meetings increase equity and access by removing the need for software downloads or Broadband Internet, creating automatic multilingual closed captioning, and guaranteeing transparency with open government compliance.