In our work with America’s cities and a cross-section of public and private sector leaders, we are learning a lot about what works — and what doesn’t — to lead and drive this kind of change. But these aren’t just lessons for the social sector. Much of what we’ve learned is relevant to leaders of any type of organization or partnership that want to catalyze change in the face of complex challenges.
Raleigh took a comprehensive approach to engagement on the Downtown Plan. The Sasaki team already had an enthusiastic client and interested participant base to work with when the Planning for Raleighsite launched. The site became a critical component of the city’s multi-pronged engagement strategy.
The project kicked off with three planning sessions. The first public open-house introduced MindMixer. Then a downtown-wide visioning session followed. Subsequently, the team embarked on a blitz of sessions in six downtown neighborhoods.
An online game, developed specifically for Bhutanese, will not only have those with internet access playing it, but also providing information and feedback on youth unemployment issues. The game, which will be launched on October 24, coinciding with United Nations Day, will be online for three weeks. Registration for the game has already begun. One can access the game at the Communityplanit website as Youth@Work Bhutan. The project is a collaboration between United Nation development program (UNDP), labour ministry and Engagement lab of Emerson College in the US.
Social media can be a beautiful thing. With unlimited possibilities for connections with billions of people worldwide, friendships can be strengthened, families can connect across the globe, and loyal customers can become raving fans, even friends, of your organization. But like most things, social media has a dark side – the side that lets users openly express their unfiltered anger, frustration, even full on rage toward organizations and other people. Some individuals, known as trolls in Web vernacular, even purposefully try to provoke more outrage from other people in comments or tweets. Besides the obvious question of how one finds the time to argue with others online, the question of how to deal with digital discord is one that many organizations struggle with. We’ve pulled together a few tips to help you create a more harmonious online community, and to continue to help you cultivate productive online engagement.
In recent studies by the National Conference on Citizenship, it has unfortunately been discovered that this ideal is not being met. Citizens are not showing the levels of civic engagement that democracy requires, and that our cities need in order to flourish.
In one study on South Carolina, it was found that while the state’s citizens ranked highly for “traditional forms of political involvement” (voting in national elections and registering to vote), they were near the bottom of state rankings in other, more subtle forms of civic engagement: boycotting products, contacting elected officials, forming strong relationships with neighbors, discussing politics and participating in local meetings regarding matters of school or city policy.
Dorner illustrates a large number of differences in how successful and unsuccessful participants approach and manage the tasks. Here is one that particularly stood out for me:
Both the good and the bad participants proposed with the same frequency hypotheses on what effect higher taxes, say, or an advertising campaign to promote tourism in Greenvale [an imaginary city] would have. The good participants differed from the bad ones, however, in how often they tested their hypotheses. The bad participants failed to do this. For them, to propose a hypothesis was to understand reality; testing that hypothesis was unnecessary. Instead of generating hypotheses, they generated “truths.”[i] [emphasis mine]