What happens when your city’s growth suddenly explodes and new initiatives demand public participation? “Engagement fatigue” and staff burnout follow — that’s what. The city of Austin, Texas, has seen its population grow over the last decade to the tune of 100 people per day, and the situation has not been helped by often vitriolic divisions of opinion.
The solution? The Conversation Corps: a team of trained volunteer facilitators, dedicated to promoting civil dialogue and pushing the envelope of P2 best practices. We’re excited to welcome folks from Austin with P2 is a Team Sport, the story of their five-year journey. You’ll get some on-the-ground insights on promoting a culture of civil discourse and how to work with other agencies to grow a P2 culture.
Vancouver, BC, is famous for its Chinatown, but that historic community has felt itself in danger of being swallowed up by the rapid growth of the city. Public processes have failed to be inclusive, leading to distrust and loss of community support for projects and plans.
In Inclusive Engagement with Vancouver’s Chinatown, Miranda Eng of Context Research will share their recent collaborative work with community members from Vancouver’s Chinatown to co-create a model to guide culturally respectful planning and design of engagement processes.
We always like to kick off the New Year with a look at the latest in digital engagement, and in January, we brought back together the members of the pre-conference DE workshop at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference in Denver. Dave Biggs (MetroQuest), Charles Connell (Social Pinpoint), Matt Crozier (Bang the Table) and Joseph Thornley (76engage) held a panel discussion, with over 100 people — a sellout crowd! — joining in.
The discussion ranges through a variety of topics. Here’s a sample of the panel’s observations:
Matt: “We can no longer separate digital engagement from in-person engagement — we need to think about how the methods work together. Digital is the only way you can take engagement from reaching tens or hundreds and into thousands or tens of thousands.
“You get more thoughtful responses through online and you can engage when a community is ready. If they’re not already engaged and a project comes up, people will go elsewhere to make their comments — usually on social media, outside the project.”
A growing challenge for a P2 practitioner is the deepening ideological divide that has developed over the past few decades. As people become more and more entrenched in their view and less and less likely to consider those of others, engaging the broadest cross-section of the public becomes more and more difficult.
Dr Martin Carcasson with the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University says finding a solution begins with understanding the root of the problem – the “brain science” behind polarization – and the December webinar was an encore of his presentation at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference, “Beginning With The Brain In Mind”.
Our human nature makes things problematic, Carcasson says. We crave certainty and consistency, and if we’re making a decision in a controversial or even polarized environment, we tend to protect that decision as much as possible, even in the face of contrary facts.
What’s more, people are suckers for the good-versus-evil narrative – through all cultures and all times, we love the hero-and-villain scenario, and Carcasson says that we’re teaching our children wrong by teaching them that there is an evil force behind bad things, when really, it’s more complicated than that.
We are “groupish” or tribal, preferring to associate with like-minded people. Some of the worst things – and some of the best things – that humans have done in history have stemmed from that mind-set.
IAP2 Canada and IAP2 USA are seeking session proposals for the 7th Annual IAP2 North American Conference to be held September 5-7, 2018 in Victoria, BC, Canada.
This is an opportunity to explore the theme, Growing a Culture of P2, with content focusing on topics that Innovate, Inspire, Include, Influence, and Imagine!
Please review the Call for Session Proposals first as it contains information on what the Program Committee is looking for and tips on what to include in your Session Proposal Application.
The majority of the sessions will be in English, however, we plan to include some bilingual sessions. Please indicate in the application if you would like to make your presentation in French and English (simultaneous interpretation will not be provided).
The deadline to submit a proposal is Monday, February 12, 2018!
Do you have what it takes to become a Certified Public Participation Professional (CP3)?
Knowing and showing that you provide quality P2 is key in today’s marketplace. Certification is your way to do so. If you have taken the IAP2 Foundations course (formerly the Certificate training), have experience delivering good P2, and are ready to have your work assessed by a panel of your professional peers, then it is time to get certified.
The IAP2 Certification Program is a rigorous assessment of your skills and capabilities. Over the past several years, with help from our worldwide membership the IAP2 USA Certification Task Force has developed 5 Core Competencies. These Core Competencies are used to assess whether you have what it takes to be certified as a CP3.
Think of it: five days, immersed in P2. A choice from nine courses, covering a variety of aspects in the practice. You’ll find something for everyone and every level of the profession at the 2018 IAP2 USA Skills Symposium, Feb. 26 – March 3 in Austin, Texas.
If you’re “just starting out” or need a refresher, we’ve got the full Foundations course — the three-day “Planning” section and the two-day “Techniques” section: take the whole five-day course, if you like.
You’ll hang out at the Commons Learning Center at the University of Texas at Austin and get special block pricing at the Lone Star Court — just $149/night! Register before December 13, and benefit from early bird registration fees!
So don’t delay — say “Heck, yeah!” to this unique opportunity to expand your knowledge and skills in Public Participation!