Bringing “the locals” onside: the IAP2 June Webinar

June Learning Webinar – Engaging the Rumour Mill

Picture this: you work for a large organization that has plans involving a small community (or several). Your organization means for it to benefit the people, but you run into deep-seated skepticism in a tight-knit community. How do you earn their trust and bring in a project that benefits all concerned?

That’s the situation Carrie McIntosh of the British Columbia Ferry Corporation found herself in. BC Ferries is a vital link among coastal communities, and she details her experiences in the next IAP2 Learning Webinar, “Engaging the Rumour Mill” (Tuesday, June 11, at 11am PDT / 2pm EDT). This is another “Victoria Encore”, reprising a presentation from the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference: one that attendees told us should be shared with others in a webinar.

You can read Carrie’s conference session outline here, and register here. Remember to follow the two-stage procedure for logging in: your confirmation email will include the link to our webinar provider; fill in the form to get your login instructions.

We look forward to your joining us!

All the best,
IAP2 Canada / IAP2 USA

WEBINAR REWIND – Victoria Encore: Youth Shaping Cities

In May of 2019, Veronika Bylicki of CityHive reprised her presentation from last September, looking at youth — basically, people aged 18 to 35 — as one of the greatest untapped resources in decision making, planning and city-building. Yet they are the ones, Veronika says, who will have to “wear” the results of today’s decisions. She says it’s a missed opportunity and that decisions that are not taken with meaningful input from youth are less resilient, while engaging youth is a “triple-win” for youth, communities and cities.

So what’s preventing more youth involvement? One thing is a lack of knowledge that they can get involved, particularly at the civic level. Three barriers Veronika identifies are a lack of civic literacy, lack of confidence and a lack of credibility — that is, many young people don’t believe they know enough to have anything of value to offer.

IAP2 USA members can watch the webinar recording online anytime!

WEBINAR REWIND – Victoria Encore: Creating Communications & P2 Roadmaps (April 2019)

Communications and P2: the same but different! It still happens sometimes, that organizations consider public engagement to be the same as public communication. As a P2 practitioner, you know that each needs careful consideration and planning. Communications is a vital element of P2. Letting people “in” on the nature of the project, what it entails, how they’ll be affected and how they’ll be able to give input is necessary: if they don’t know, they won’t go.

Our April webinar was another Victoria Encore, featuring a presentation from the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference that attendees told us would make a great webinar. Lara Tierney and Kirsty Neill of Onpoint and Wade Wilson of Marcomm Works, talked about the differences between and the intersections of the two disciplines. Identifying that communications focuses on saying: what, how, and to whom; while engagement focuses on listening: to what you need to learn, from whom, and how you’ll collect that information. How do you marry the two to create a meaningful P2 process?

IAP2 members can view the recording of the webinar and download other information here.

Engaging Youth – register now for the IAP2 May Learning Webinar May 14

BRING IN THE YOUTH!

“Children are the future,” the cliché reminds us, but many times, young people are not considered in public engagement processes. Our May 14 Learning Webinar (11am PDT / 2pm, EDT) is another Victoria Encore: “Youth Shaping Cities”.

Veronika Bylicki of CityHive will reprise this session from the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference, which posits that even though people are becoming increasingly empowered to chart the future course for their cities, youth tend to be overlooked, undervalued, and engaged often simply as an afterthought.

This session critically examines the underpinning theory and systemic barriers that continue to exclude youth participation, resulting in civic disengagement, lack of trust, and significant missed opportunities.

This is another session that attendees told us would make a good webinar for any P2 practitioner. Come and learn about examples, best practices, techniques, and tools. Here is a chance to consider how to re-imagine and redesign youth engagement practices.

Remember the two-stage process: follow the link in your confirmation email and fill in the form to get your login information.

Webinar Rewind: Large-Scale P2 for Large-Scale Projects

The February IAP2 Learning Webinar featured the two Project of the Year winners from Canada and the USA, both of which took on large projects with stakeholder bases to match.

In the USA, Williams Energy set out to build an energy pipeline that would run through ten counties in Eastern Pennsylvania. Taking a cue from other hotly-contested pipeline projects and proposals in North America, Williams set out to engage, proactively, anyone who had an interest in the pipeline and its impact. Indian tribes, farmers, environmental organizations, conservation groups and ordinary residents were all engaged. The original routing for the Atlantic Sunrise pipeline was changed over a dozen times, to accommodate the various concerns; the Williams Foundation contributed to remediation projects to mitigate the impact on wildlife. In all, Williams and Outreach Experts were recognized repeatedly by public figures for this “extra-mile” approach to planning.

Canada’s Federal Department of Justice launched a plan to overhaul Canada’s criminal justice system, one where a disproportionate number of inmates, compared to the general population, are Indigenous; and where there are actually more people in jail awaiting trial than there are people who have been convicted. Something had to give and Canada’s Minister of Justice launched a process to involve Canadians in a national conversation about transforming the criminal justice system.

Janique Venne from Justice Canada described how the last review of the system took place in 1982, and that, when the current government took office, the mandate from then Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould was to “… ensure that we are increasing the safety of our communities, getting value for money, addressing gaps and ensuring that current provisions are aligned with the objectives of the criminal justice system.”

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That meant dialogue that brought in anyone affected by the current and potential future system: convicts, victims, Indigenous people, support workers and others with a series of online and face-to-face discussions.

Ellis Westwood, from Hill+Knowlton Strategies who worked with Janique as a P2 consultant, explained that “by using a Deliberative online Choicebook™ methodology, we helped participants share their stories and learn more about the justice system and deliberate about potential ideas for change.”

IAP2 members can watch the entire webinar and access the PowerPoint decks and other information here.

Webinar Rewind – December 2018 / January 2019

December – Digital Engagement Roundtable

In December, we presented our annual look at digital engagement, with representatives of the organizations that took part in the Technology Forum at the 2018 North American Conference. Patrick Grégoire (Boréalis), Joseph Thornley (76engage), Anna Hauskins (Social Pinpoint) and Colin Ellis (Bang the Table) shared their views on hot-button topics like security and anonymity, and more complex issues like “trusting” online engagement when a decision involves many layers of stakeholders.

January – Diversity and Inclusion in P2

The January webinar brought together two IAP2 Core Values Award winners — both of whom won for “Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture”.

In Surrey, British Columbia’s second-most-populous city, MODUS Planning, Design and Engagement and the City of Surrey worked together on a revamp of the Parks, Recreation and Culture Strategic Plan. Surrey’s demographic makeup consists of a broad range of ethnic, language and culture groups, including a large proportion of Indigenous Canadians and first- and second-generation Canadians.

iap2 webinar - surrey prc engagementPast engagement efforts did not reflect the diversity of the community, and some felt the previous plan did not balance the full range of needs and interests so there was skepticism at the start about the new plan. The process involved reaching out to key community leaders early, to determine who needed to be engaged, and why and how, and using multilingual ambassadors to meet the people in their place. All forms of media spread the word and the City committed to reporting back often, so people were kept informed. This project also brought a change in thinking – and terminology. Rather than talk about the “hard-to-reach” people, Surrey and MODUS started referring to the “seldom-heard”.

Have you ever considered paying stakeholders and community organizations to take part in your P2 process? That was part of the strategy used when TriMet, the transportation authority serving the Portland, Oregon, region, developed its long-range bus expansion strategy.

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While staff had conducted extensive interviews with people, it was felt that they were still missing input from historically underrepresented sectors. JLA Public Involvement was brought in to develop a more focused outreach strategy to reduce barriers to input and develop more inclusive engagement practices. In short, compensating community-based organizations (CBOs) for their time and effort in bringing people to the table lifted them from being participants to being partners, with a stake in the process.

IAP2 members can watch the webinar and learn more about the way these two projects became award-winners here.

Webinar Rewind – Victoria Encore: “Prevent Truth Decay”

“What is our role in protecting Truth?” was the presenting question in our November webinar, in which Sam Imperati and Devin Howington reprised a successful presentation from the IAP2 North American Conference in Victoria. “Truth Decay” was coined by a Rand Corporation report in early 2018, identifying the situation where opinions supplant facts as a driver in people’s attitudes and decision-making.  The result is alienation and disengagement, erosion of civil discourse, and a decline in trust of individuals and institutions.

What is the role of the P2 practitioner in this? If IAP2 principles include ensuring that people have the facts they need to make an informed decision, how far is a practitioner expected to go – and whose “truth” is regarded as paramount? One is dealing, after all, with the sponsor, the participating public, the general population, and a variety of other interests.

Sam and Devin offer some ways of establishing truth and helping groups maintain civility and stay grounded in the facts, while still allowing for individuals to have “their truths.” One tool they offer is the “umbrella question”, framing the issue at hand in such a way that covers all the interests that are demanding attention.

The webinar spurred some lively interaction, and IAP2 members can view it and access the slide deck and other collateral materials here.

Webinar Rewind: “Building P2 Into Your Organization”

It’s a fact that people are demanding a voice in matters that concern them in increasing numbers. It’s also a fact that organizations are playing catch-up in that department. Our October webinar featured two organizations that are setting a standard in entrenching public participation in their makeup: the City of Edmonton and the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA).

In both cases, the organizations were “pushed” into it. SFMTA’s “P2 epiphany” followed what Deanna Desedas, the Agency’s Public Outreach and Engagement Manager, calls “The Year of Pain”. Transportation plans and projects affect pretty much everybody, but in 2013, dozens of projects in various stages, and stakeholders, internally and externally, were getting frustrated at the slow progress. City staff studied the situation and were able to identify four key reasons for the frustration, the chart indicates. Staff were frustrated because they did not have sufficient resources to do their job; the public was frustrated at the lack of a consistent method of keeping them informed about the projects and the stages they were in.

So SFMTA devised “POETS” — the Public Outreach and Engagement Team Strategy, which includes IAP2 Foundations and other training training for staff, a peer group of managers across all divisions of the agency, tools and resources, and an ongoing evaluation process. It was also necessary to have a budget: proper P2 doesn’t come cheap. By 2015, it was starting to fall into place, and in 2017, SFMTA won the IAP2 USA Core Values Award for Organization of the Year.

There are many ways of describing POETS’ success. One is that some managers are now asking of a project, “Has this been POETized?” The other is summed up in an observation by one SFMTA upper manager: “My phone stopped ringing”: he no longer gets angry calls from members of the public, because they now know what’s going on and what the status of a project is.

SFMTA took part in a pre-conference workshop at the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference in Victoria, “Traffic Jam!”. Read the session description here or view all the materials in the Conference Schedule-at-a-Glance.

Read SFMTA’s 2017 Core Values Award application here.

The City of Edmonton won the 2018 IAP2 Canada Core Values Award for Organization of the Year, as well as the IAP2 Federation Organization of the Year award. IAP2 Monthly Learning webinars are available exclusively to IAP2 Canada members. Click here to watch the webinar and see others.

In both cases, the organizations were “pushed” into it. Edmonton had developed a P2 policy in 2003, but it “stagnated”, according to Tannis Topolnisky, Edmonton’s Manager, Public Engagement Services. That started to change during the 2013 civic election campaign, when candidates heard, loud and clear, from residents that they felt left out of important decisions. The newly-elected council ordered an audit of public engagement, which confirmed what the public had been saying.  A two-year engagement process was conducted resulting in a 27-item action plan. The action plan included constant reviews of the way the rest of the plan was implemented. The City’s new approach to its practice is one of Evaluate – Refine – Evolve.

From a staff of five, the City of Edmonton now has a public engagement staff of nearly 30 (full- and part-time) and have supported over 150 projects.

Tannis notes that the solution is not in a “template”. Instead, it starts with getting the right people in the room to begin with the question, “Why do we need to engage?”, and if not, why not.

Read the City of Edmonton’s Core Values Award submission here.

Watch the City of Edmonton’s Core Values Award video here.

The City of Edmonton took part in a pre-conference workshop at the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference. Read the session description here.

Webinar Rewind – Public Transportation and Public Participation

In Minnesota, a new transit route was being planned, running through the suburbs north and north-east of Minneapolis — involving many lower-income communities and communities of colour. It was discovered quickly that equity was a major issue that had to be addressed. Meanwhile, in Vancouver, TransLink — the regional transportation authority — set out to revise its fare structure, which hadn’t been updated in over 30 years. Over a two-year process, TransLink brought together people from all over the region to discuss, learn and have input on the complexities in developing the fare system. And in Atlanta, where funding at MARTA — the regional transit authority — leaves little for customer service considerations, a group of customers banded together and went from being activists to being actionists, and thus was born the MARTA Army. IAP2 USA members can watch the video of this webinar here.

September 28, 2018   Posted in Webinars