The new public engagement, enabled by technology, is making participatory governing a much stronger and meaningful component for all levels of the public sector. Yesterday, nearly 100 government professionals attended an online presentation focused on the growing trend of cooperative online public engagement.
You can view the presentation here.
The speaker was Granicus CEO Tom Spengler, who has become a national leading expert on the current condition and future of connecting citizens to government. Spengler moved through his presentation of facts, philosophies, and futurism with a steadfast certitude.
In an in-presentation poll, 56% of attendees said that their primary method of communicating with constituents is through in-person meetings. Communities of today are more vast than ever before, and the vast majority of citizens are far too busy to get down to City Hall and say their piece, listen to others, or encourage representatives to act on what is most important to their communities. If most government agencies do the majority of their communication in person, imagine how many are being left out. Mending this divide of those who have the time and those who do not is now in the hands of those who communicate directly with the public. Technological solutions that virtualize the presence and interactivity of citizens is the new way of public engagement.
After examining the differences between the old and the new, Spengler detailed the four fundamental steps of modern public engagement: Connect, Listen, Prioritize, & Act.
To me, it felt like the real crux of the presentation was in the discussion of the top three ways to engage the public now:
Open Ideation or “Citizensourcing”Crowdsource ideas from your community
Focused DiscussionLeverage survey tools and focused discussion forums
Feedback on Agendized Items
Collect feedback on upcoming public meeting agenda items
This part of the presentation was followed by a look at how certain communities are expanding the value and function of public engagement. Spengler then provided a live demonstration of online tools in use by a few early adopters that encompass the three methods of public engagement.
The future is fascinating, and the idea of truly community-created government is becoming a reality with the tools that are here now, and those coming on the horizon. How are you engaged? Feel free to check out the entire presentation for yourself.