Cultural Links and Mobilizing Volunteers in P2 – The 2018 North American Conference

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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.

Those are two of nearly 30 sessions, plus workshops, panel discussions and field trips at the 2018 IAP2 North American Conference, Sept. 5 – 7 in Victoria, BC. Read more about the Conference and take a look at the Schedule-at-a-Glance to see what’s on offer.

Watch for more news about the conference and the events you can look forward to, and follow #iap2nac18 on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Remember: register on or before June 30, and take advantage of the early-bird registration rates! And book your room soon at one of our three partner hotels: they’ll be going fast!

P2 and Disaster Response – IAP2 May Learning Webinar

It sounds like a no-brainer: a stash of millions of pounds of highly-unstable explosives is threatening a town and some explosions have already gone off. Quick! Turn the experts loose to find the solution and act on it! No time to sound out ordinary people on what they think should be done!

But that was exactly the situation in one town in the USA recently, and the experts who studied the problem came back with a “solution” that was even worse and left the area vulnerable to a catastrophic blast.

So they “paused” and took it to the people.

In our May webinar on May 8, at 11:00 AM PDT (2:00 PM EDT), Kristi Celico and Doug Sarno, MCP3, will reprise their presentation from the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference in Denver, will discuss how they helped achieve “consensus in a hurry”, which addressed the issue and averted a disaster. How do you weigh the risks and benefits and make sure local residents are involved in the decision?

Join us to find out how this community solved the problem and how you can apply that to your own work. Register here, and remember the two-stage process to register: follow the link in your registration confirmation email to get the login information you’ll need.

Looking forward to you joining us on May 8!

WEBINAR REWIND: February 2018 – “Handling Emotion and Outrage in Public Participation”

When dealing with conflict and entrenched opinions, do you look for the root causes of the entrenchment? In our February webinar, “Handling Emotion and Outrage in P2”, John Godec, MCP3, looked at some of the reasons why people become polarized in their opinions and why they hold those particular opinions in the first place.

A new benefit for IAP2 USA members: recordings of our webinars are now available exclusively to IAP2 USA members. Check out these and other recorded webinars here.

(One of the IAP2 “Flagship” courses is “Strategies for Dealing with Opposition and Outrage in P2” – formerly known as EOP2 – but this should not be confused with this webinar.)

John pointed out that many of the issues P2 practitioners face today are not new. At the 1997 IAP2 Conference in Phoenix, Chris Gates, president of the National Civic League, described a society made up of angry citizens, ruthless media, broken politics, cynicism and old approaches, as well, Gates added, as “an assumption of bad intent by business and government leaders.”

Sixty years earlier, John noted, Dale Carnegie, the “How to Win Friends and Influence People” guy, stated that “When dealing with people, remember that you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”

John’s research into these root causes, in part, came from trying to understand his own family, many of whom he calls “über-conservatives”. It’s taken him into realms of neuroscience and human behavior, and the work of people like Dr Gail Saltz, a psychiatrist, and Dr. Jonathan Haidt a social psychologist who identify biological differences in brain function between people who hold conservative views and those who self identify as more liberal. In other words, people often become polarized and entrenched in their socio-political positions because they are wired that way.

Grasping that concept and learning to deal with it leads to better thinking when planning a P2 process that you know will be controversial and bring out wildly opposing factions, ensuring that certain voices are not allowed to dominate the scene.

IAP2 USA Members can view this webinar online at: https://iap2usa.org/2018webinars

Note: Members must be logged in to view this content.

 

Webinar Rewind – March 2018: Core Values Award Winners – project categories

Camille Morse Nicholson headshotAlthough climate change is on the minds of pretty much everybody, one group has been routinely left out of the policy conversation: rural residents. Farmers, ranchers and others who live outside our big cities have found that policy designed by urban and suburban interests often fails to address the distinctive realities and challenges they experience.

The Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Jefferson Center joined with the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy to create the “Rural Climate Dialogues”, in which people in three rural Minnesota communities hosted Citizen Juries to deliberate on the topic of climate and extreme weather, and create solutions that worked for them.

Camille Morse Nicholson, Program Coordinator at the Jefferson Center, outlined some of the different techniques required to build community support in advance of the dialogue, facilitate the jury’s work, and support the communities in their follow-up. Although a divisive debate is a possibility with such a politically-loaded topic, one participant remarked, “there was no political/ideological divisiveness: everything was done with respect and in good order.”

The dialogues continue with a focus on the future of energy in rural Minnesota, and the project has already won the Core Values Award for “Creativity and Innovation.”


Dealing with the prospect of closing schools is a touchy subject in the best of conditions, but throw in language and other cultural differences, and things get even trickier.

Rockandel bio pict_sm (1)That was the challenge faced by the Richmond BC School District when faced with the need to do seismic upgrading on their buildings, in a zone identified as prone to liquefaction in case of an earthquake. The potential hit to the budget meant a real potential for closing some schools. This meant taking it to the people, which led to a Core Values Award for the District and Catherine Rockandel of Rockandel and Associates.

The Award — for “Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture” — recognized the work done to reach out to families in a place where sixty percent of households do not have English as a first language. Languages in Richmond include Mandarin, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Tagalog, Punjabi and some Japanese. Moreover, many of the immigrants come from cultures which mistrust governments and officialdom in general.

What tools and techniques did they use to encourage people to take part and trust that their voices are being heard and taken seriously? How did they reach a conclusion in which no schools were closed?

IAP2 USA Members can view this webinar online at: https://iap2usa.org/2018webinars

Note: Members must be logged in to view this content.

 

 

Time to celebrate Great P2!

 

ANNOUNCING: the 2018 IAP2 USA Core Values Awards + new ways to recognize outstanding individuals!

Seen any good P2 lately? Did you produce, or were part of a team that produced, a stellar public consultation process? Did it imagine, inspire, influence, innovate and include? The time is NOW to submit an application for the 2018 IAP2 Core Values Awards!

Webinar Rewind: Digital Engagement Panel

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 CROZIER-2Matt: 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.”

Webinar Rewind – “Denver Encore: Beginning with the Brain in Mind”

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”.

carcasson - books
Lots of books have been written on the subject

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.

Call for Session Proposals!

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!

Webinar Rewind – November 2017: IAP2 Projects of the Year

You have a project. It can benefit a lot of people, but for whatever reason, you run into a major roadblock: hostility from the very people it’s supposed to benefit. How do you approach these roadblocks and overcome that hostility?

The November Learning Webinar featured the winners of the IAP2 Core Values Awards for Project of the Year, and both of these had to address a very skeptical public. In fact, the City of Calgary had to shut down its plan to upgrade the Crowchild Trail – a major transportation corridor from the north end of the city to the south – because of hostility from the public. And the Mental Health Center of Denver learned to change one often-used term and leave out another altogether, in order to create a branch in an impoverished area of the Mile-High City.

Year End President’s Message

As we reflect on the things we are thankful for, IAP2 USA would like to thank its members for regularly providing input and feedback on the services and programs we provide. You are taking the surveys, filling out evaluations, sharing social media posts and emailing suggestions. So, thank you for being engaged and communicating with us regularly!

The feedback you have provided through the membership survey, conference and program evaluations and via individual comments have been reviewed and incorporated into the updated IAP2 USA Strategic Plan (2018-2020). We are pleased to report that significant progress has been made since the creation of the 2015-2017 Strategic Plan and we continue to advocate for best practices in public participation, for the professionalization of the field and remain the organization of choice for good P2.