Engagement is an interaction. An activity– a face-to-face or virtual event or an online interaction– during which information is exchanged between two or more people. Engagement generates relationships and affects trust. It’s the foundation for collaboration
Digital engagement is an engagement using technology. An interaction that happens between two or more people online, virtually (online in real time), offline / in-person / face-to-face using digital tools.
engage2 calls the technology used by governments for digital engagement, engagetech.
Community engagement is engagement among community or with community by an organization. Governments often engage community to understand and manage social issues, or to consult them about changes the propose to make to policy, programs and services.
Some businesses, like property developers, construction teams and mining companies also engage communities to understand and reduce the impact and social benefits of their projects.
Stakeholder engagement is engagement with people and organisations who have or will be impacted by a project, issue or proposed change.
Engagement can be designed to proactively reach stakeholders and invite their input or feedback on proposed changes. You might even choose to invite stakeholders to be part of advisory, reference or working groups.
It is also common for stakeholders to get in touch with teams managing projects, issues or proposed changes if not engaged directly.
Engagement can help you to understand and manage impacts of change, and leverage opportunities to make a positive difference to a community or group of stakeholders. It is critical if you want to manage risk or build constructive relationships with stakeholders.
Community consultation is widely considered to be a key part of the policy making process and representative democracy.
Yes. You can engage people, organisations and communities to:
The International Association for Public Participation has developed this spectrum to help you define your purpose for engagement.
engage2 have also developed The EngageTech Spectrum to help our clients understand the different types of technologies available to support these engagement purposes.
Have a clear purpose for each engagement. This can be broken down into different objectives for different types of stakeholders or stages of your project. Make sure your internal stakeholders agree with these objectives. Communicate them clearly to your stakeholders and the people, organisations and communities when you engage with them.
Make sure you’re using the right methods and tools to reach your stakeholders, to invite and manage participation and the information you collect through engagement. Think about the design and management of your engagements and relationships created through them so that they meet yours and your stakeholder’s engagement needs. For example, having a single (or couple of) points of contact with a stakeholder, can help to build rapport and trust in the process, improving their experience and relationship with your organization even if they aren’t happy that their interests will be met.
Planners design the places for people to work, live, play and access public services and assets. Engagement helps them to understand what people, businesses and communities want and need. It’s also necessary if you want to people to have a sense of place, and participate in the design and development of their community.
Planners can engage stakeholders and communities:
Ask them! Engage them.
You can also observe your community and monitor behaviours. For example, you might watch how people use places to determine what the place needs. This approach is called ethnography.
If you want people to accept change you might want to compliment ethnography with engagement. People like to be asked what they want and need, and you’ll need them to use what you design, create or provide if you want your project to be useful and successful. You might also be surprised by what they say. It’s easy to make assumptions.
Before doing engagement it’s also good practice to create a stakeholder map and personas of the different types of stakeholders, then test these with a selection of key stakeholders before launching your communications and engagement campaign.
Check out our digital engagement glossary for more about how engagement technology can support online and offline engagements and the management of data and relationships generated.
Did you achieve your reason for engagement? Did you reach the stakeholders you needed to? If you were engaging a community, were participants representative of the whole population?
It’s interactive and fun. Participants engage with each other and share their perspectives, knowledge and experiences.
When we design and facilitate events we think about the types of people coming, how they will engage with content and how we can encourage them to engage with each other. We design each part of the agenda with this in mind, balancing content and process.
Design it so that participants get involved. Provide creative ways for participants to digest information, share their knowledge, and reflect on content independently and together. Balance content and process. We’ve shared some more tips in this blog.
The EngageTech Forum is a highly interactive event about technology for engagement. The event is designed so that public servants can find the right technologies for their engagements and share their experiences experimenting with different tools and transforming engagement in their organisations.
The answer to this question depends on the reason for your engagement, your stakeholders and types of engagement methods you plan to use to engage them.
Find the right technologies for your engagements at the EngageTech Forum or book a free one-hour advisory session with our Managing Director to discuss your project.
The role of the facilitator in a virtual event is much the same as their role in a face-to-face event.
Facilitators design and manage processes that enable participation in events. They consider the objectives of the engagement and the needs of participants and create and ‘hold space’ for everyone ‘in the room’.
They design an agenda and runsheet for an event that ‘creates space’ for participation. A good agenda balances content and process. A good facilitator will design exercises that help you to achieve your engagement objectives, encourage constructive participation so processes generate outcomes and outputs.
They will also help you select the right tools for your engagements – tools like technologies for virtual events and collaboration during them, or materials to be used during exercises.
During the event, they will lead participants through these processes and hold space to enable individuals and groups to contribute, reflect and participate in a variety of ways.
Be sure to include a facilitator in your virtual event if you have more than 20 people participating and you want them to be able to ask questions, discuss ideas and work together in real time.
You might need an online facilitator if your engagement enables interaction between participants. Just like in a face-to-face event or social media, sometimes participants disagree with each other. An online facilitator will manage these dynamics, provide updates, and respond to questions to reduce the risk of misinformation or issues getting out of control.
Good facilitators build rapport with participants, encourage constructive participation and support online collaboration.
Online facilitation can happen in real-time / virtually or online between live events.