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Beyond three minutes at the microphone - ICMA civic engagement workshop

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Presentation on the state of civic engagement for an ICMA workshop at the Frontiers of Democracy conference, Boston, Massachusetts

Presentation on the state of civic engagement for an ICMA workshop at the Frontiers of Democracy conference, Boston, Massachusetts

Published in: Government & Nonprofit

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  • 1. 1 Beyond 3 Minutes at the Microphone Participatory Budgeting, Text-Enabled Dialogue, and other cutting-edge practices for public engagement Frontiers of Democracy conference Boston, Massachusetts July 17th, 2014
  • 2. 2 THE DELIBERATIVE DEMOCRACY CONSORTIUM
  • 3. 3 The context for engagement: How have citizens* changed? • More educated • More skeptical – different attitudes toward authority • Have less time to spare • Better able to find resources, allies, information (Internet) * citizens = residents, people
  • 4. 4 The context: Families with young children  Have the most at stake in community success  More motivation to engage, but even less time  Want to engage in community, not just politics
  • 5. 5 The context: Civic technology Available free for download at BIT.LY/IWJGQN
  • 6. 6 Three minutes at the microphone Retrieved from Cincinnati.com, July 27, 2012
  • 7. 7 “What drove me to try planned, structured public engagement was my awful experience with unplanned, unstructured public engagement.” ─ John Nalbandian, Former Mayor, Lawrence, Kansas
  • 8. 8 Treating citizens like adults Give them:  Information  Chance to tell their story  Choices  Legitimacy  Chances to take action  Good process  Food and fun!
  • 9. 9 Successful tactic: Proactive recruitment  Map community networks;  Involve leaders of those networks;  ‘Who is least likely to participate?’  Use online as well as f2f connections;  Follow up!
  • 10. 10 Successful tactic: Small-group processes  No more than 12 people per group;  Facilitator who is impartial (doesn’t give opinions);  Start with people describing their experiences;  Lay out options;  Help people plan for action.
  • 11. 11 SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: FRAMING AN ISSUE  Give people the information they need, in ways they can use it  Lays out several options or views (including ones you don’t agree with!)  Trust them to make good decisions
  • 12. 12 Successful tactic: Encouraging citizen action
  • 13. 13 Successful tactic: Encouraging citizen action
  • 14. 14 Successful tactic: Encouraging citizen action
  • 15. 15 SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: ONLINE TOOLS Texting, Twitter, Facebook, Hootsuite, and beyond… Particularly good for:  Providing background information  Data gathering by citizens  Generating and ranking ideas  Helping people visualize options  Maintaining connections over time
  • 16. 16 “Sometimes you need a meeting that is also a party. Sometimes you need a party that is also a meeting.” Gloria Rubio-Cortès, National Civic League SUCCESSFUL TACTIC: FUN
  • 17. 17 STRENGTHS OF OCCASIONAL ENGAGEMENT  Making policy decisions, plans, budgets  Catalyzing • citizen action  Rebuilding • trust, fostering • new leadership
  • 18. 18 LIMITATIONS OF OCCASIONAL ENGAGEMENT  Lots of work for temporary gain  Inefficient – every organization on its own  Community moves back to ‘politics as usual’
  • 19. 19 “PORTSMOUTH LISTENS” PORTSMOUTH, NH  Ongoing since 2000  Several hundred participants/year  Addressed bullying in schools, school redistricting, city’s master plan, balancing city budget, whether to build new middle school, etc.
  • 20. 20 JANE ADDAMS SCHOOL FOR DEMOCRACY WEST SIDE OF ST. PAUL, MN  50-200 people in “neighborhood learning circles” every month since 1998  Involves recent Hmong, Latino, Somali immigrants  Young people involved in circles and other activities  Cultural exchanges - food, crafts, storytelling  Has resulted in new projects, initiatives, festivals, and change in INS policy
  • 21. 21 “CREATE BUCKHANNON” BUCKHANNON, WV  Ongoing process since 2009  Weekly lunch, using open space process, called “Meet and Eat”  Have created a park, a weekly summer music festival and market, a city plan, downtown improvements, and safe biking and walking routes
  • 22. 22 “DECATUR NEXT” DECATUR, GA
  • 23. 23 PARTICIPATORY BUDGETING IN BRAZILIAN CITIES  Commitment from gov’t to adopt budget;  Wide range of ways to be involved;  A carnival atmosphere;  Started small, now huge – 60,000+ people
  • 24. 24 Questions or comments?
  • 25. 25 DIGITAL DIVIDES (PLURAL)  Overall, Internet access growing  Different people use different hardware  Different people go to different places on the Internet  Communities just as complex online as off
  • 26. 26 WHAT ONLINE TOOLS CAN DO: HELP CITIZENS GATHER DATA
  • 27. 27 WHAT ONLINE TOOLS CAN DO: HELP PEOPLE SOLVE PROBLEMS
  • 28. 28 WHAT ONLINE TOOLS CAN DO: HELP PEOPLE GENERATE AND RANK IDEAS
  • 29. 29 WHAT ONLINE TOOLS CAN DO: HELP PEOPLE VISUALIZE OPTIONS
  • 30. WHAT ONLINE TOOLS CAN DO: HELP SUSTAIN COMMUNITY CONNECTIONS
  • 31. Text, Talk, and Act part of the National Dialogue on Mental Health
  • 32. 32 National Dialogue on Mental Health • "Only 40% of people with mental illness receive treatment. We would not accept that for any other disease....“ - President Obama
  • 33. 33 What is Creating Community Solutions? • Effort to organize hundreds of community conversations and action plans • Ten lead sites • Wide variety of other events: small discussions, online dialogues, large planning processes
  • 34. 34 Developing “Text, Talk, and Act” • HS pilot: Rex Putnam High School, Milwaukie, Oregon • College pilot: Roger Williams University, Bristol, Rhode Island
  • 35. 35 How does it work? • Get together with 4-5 other people • Text “START” to 89800 • Follow the prompts • If you get stuck, text “NEXT” to 89800 • Allow about an hour for the discussion
  • 36. 36 Photos tweeted by participants• #TextTalkAct Selfies
  • 37. 37 COMMON MISTAKES  Treating Internet as a one-way medium  Not enough recruitment  Transparency without proactive engagement  Gathering ideas and not implementing them
  • 38. 38 Working group on legal frameworks for public participation
  • 39. 39  Definition of public participation  No mandates – model is ADR  Principles for successful public participation  Possible use of commission or other agency at local government level  Best use: to start a discussion about how you want participation to work in your municipality Local public participation ordinance
  • 40. 40 Questions or comments?