People have something to say. And it could be spot-on.
It’s all too easy to talk about public engagement but do little to actually engage the public. The purpose of asking for community opinions is not to check a box; it’s to benefit from diverse perspectives, to stir up a recipe of ideas so that the best rise to the top.
People become jaded very quickly when they sniff out public involvement as a mandate and not a commitment. Or worse: People take time to offer input, only to have it become clear that a decision has already been made.
If we want community support, the community has to see its fingerprints on the plan.
Solid Ground cares enough to do public engagement right. In our view, participation equals ownership – if we want community support, the community has to see its fingerprints on the plan. To that end, we invite people to participate, we listen deeply, and then we play our findings back to be sure we heard it right. Whether we’re conducting surveys, doing personal interviews, leading small group conversations or running town-hall meetings, we’re equally at home in the board room and the community room.
In the spirit of authentic engagement, ideas need to be gathered, tested, challenged, and strengthened. And then, stirred some more, cooked, tasted, refined (more salt?) and served up.