Matt Leighninger’s 2020 ANZ EngageTech Forum opening
It was a pleasure having Matt Leighninger, Vice President of Public Agenda, open our 2020 ANZ EngageTech Forum. Today, we want to share his powerful presentation, full of practical and valuable insights with those of you who missed it.
For over forty years, Public Agenda has been building a unique set of capabilities in communities, cities, states, foundations and public organisations for an informed and inclusive democracy. This includes public opinion research, community and stakeholder engagement, and public participation.
Public Agenda’s team believes that a strong democracy requires informed citizens, engaged communities, productive public conversations, and policies that reflect the public’s concerns and values. Follow their work here.
Matt Leighninger leads Public Agenda’s work in public engagement and democratic governance and directs the Yankelovich Center for Public Judgment.
Over the last twenty years, Matt has worked with public participation efforts in over 100 communities, in 40 states and four Canadian provinces. Matt serves on the boards of e-democracy.org, the International Association for Public Participation (IAP2USA), The Democracy Imperative, and the Participatory Budgeting Project, and is a Senior Associate for Everyday Democracy. He has also assisted in the development of Participedia, the world’s largest online repository of information on public engagement.
At the EngageTech Forum, Matt told the participants that engagement is not an occasional activity. He suggested thinking about engagement as part of our community’s fabric, and a critical to how our institutions and systems work. He also said that it’s important to meet people where they are, and to sustain engagement using multiple tools and methods that work for different types of participants. Watch his presentation in the video below.
Thin and Thick engagement
Matt writes in a planning guide for Public Agenda that “thin engagement is faster, easier, and more convenient. It includes a range of activities that allow people to express their opinions, make choices, or affiliate themselves with a particular group or cause. It is less likely to build personal or community connections. One way of summarising the difference is to say that thick engagement empowers small groups and thin engagement empowers individuals”.
As an example, when we move through the EngageTech Spectrum from left to right, the engagements become thicker.
Watch this video of Matt speaking about thin and thick engagement from the World Banks engagement MOOC to deepen your understanding.