Going beyond the same 10 people.
More attention than ever is being placed on community engagement-related resident research and feedback activities. An almost never-ending list of new tools and services are now available.
The complaint we so often hear from municipal CAO's and communications managers is that they need to hear from a broader group of residents. “We need to go beyond the 'same 10 people' we see at every open house, public hearing and council meeting.”
We, at The W Group, are fortunate to have seen most of these new tools and services in action. We agree that many of them look great, are well designed and offer new approaches to engaging residents in public consultations. However, most of the new tools and services simply replicate hearing from the ‘same 10 people’ and don’t do enough to engage the broader community (whose majority is often silent).
The best starting point for municipalities is to create an online panel of residents willing to take part in ongoing research surveys. Such online community research panels are now operated by the cities of Vancouver, Surrey, Edmonton, and Burlington among others.
In managing one of these municipal panels over the past 7 years, The W Group has developed strategies and tactics to make research panels extremely effective and efficient for all types of community engagement/public consultations. We have developed flexible, scalable methods to establish and manage panels for varying sizes of municipalities.
Call us today to discuss how you can “move beyond hearing from the same 10 people”. We can explore and explain how your municipality would benefit from applying new approaches to public consultation.
DIAGRAM: The bottom of the diagram shows the three core elements of resident research & feedback programs. The top of the diagram related to e-communications is further detailed in the post 'Results Driven Community Engagement'.