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The EngageTech Spectrum

The EngageTech Spectrum

The EngageTech spectrum is a tool to help you decide which types of technologies to use for your engagement. 

Engage2 developed the EngageTech spectrum to complement the International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) Public Participation Spectrum. It aligns digital engagement methods and functions of engagement technologies to the levels of participation on the IAP2 spectrum.

Reading the EngageTech Spectrum

The spectrum is a semi-circle, or arch, with a flat base. 

The arch comprises two layers: an outer layer with five sections, and an inner layer with eight sub-sections. The five sections on the outer layer correspond to the five levels of participation on the International Association for Public Participation’s (IAP2) Public Participation Spectrum: Inform; Consult; Involve; Collaborate; and Empower. The eight sections of the inner layer describe key functionalities that engagement technologies offer to support these types of participation.

The inner layer of the Inform section includes two sub-sections: 1) Listen and Understand; 2) Promote and Recruit. The inner layer of the Consult section comprises three sub-sections: 1) Crowdsource and Prioritise; 2) Visualise and Discuss; and 3) Collect feedback and submissions. The inner layer of the Involve section has one sub-section: Experience, Codesign, and Budget. The inner layer of the Collaborate section has one sub-section: Cocreate and Codeliver. The inner layer of the Empower section has one sub-section: Build Communities.  

There are three rows along the flat base. The bottom row spans the width of the arch and reads ‘Engagement,’ connecting all levels of participation to engagement. The two rows above the bottom row include: 1) Manage Information and Issues; 2) Manage Relationships. These rows sit within the outer later to show their relationship to the sub-sections in the inner layer and the importance of these functions in engagement technologies.  

Using the EngageTech Spectrum

Use the EngageTech spectrum to define your digital engagement approach and the features to look for when evaluating and selecting technologies for engagement. 

Select a level on the outer layer of the EngageTech Spectrum to determine your participation level or ‘purpose for engagement’. Then, use the inner layers of the spectrum to select a digital engagement method based on your purpose.  

Consider whether you will have different engagement purposes throughout your projects. The levels of participation on the spectrum increase from left to right; think about the various stages of your project and whether you would like your stakeholders to engage more than once. How would you like these stakeholders to participate during each of these stages? It may be helpful to have multiple levels of participation throughout your engagements. 

You might also need to engage some stakeholders differently. For instance, involving some stakeholders while consulting others could be appropriate. 

Carefully consider these aspects of your project. Use the spectrum to facilitate discussions with your colleagues and ensure alignment.

Selecting the right technology for engagement 

Defining your engagement technology needs

Once you have decided on your engagement purpose and digital engagement methods, consider the following:

  • Will you be using the technology when engaging online, offline (in-person or in-place), or virtually in real time (during phone or video meetings, or in virtual reality). 
  • How will you manage the information collected? Who needs to see it? Will you share screenshots, or do you need to analyse then report the data? How will you collate data collected across different channels.
  • Will the engagement continue? If so, how will you handle ongoing communications and stakeholder relationships?
  • How will you maintain the integrity of your process? Do you need to identify participants? Is it necessary to verify participants to limit votes, or count submissions? How will you ensure the privacy, confidentiality and security of information collected?

Every time you engage and enable participation, information is gathered. Collecting this information in usable formats for analysis, and reporting can be critical to your project’s success. While technology can assist with these processes, it is vital to avoid data fragmentation across tools and channels if you want to save time and resources. Effective information management is also key to managing issues, expectations, and relationships. Carefully considering these project details will help you define your technical requirements and select the most suitable technology for your engagements.

Download the EngageTech spectrum

Want to learn more about technology for engagement? Contact Engage2

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