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The “Good” Word

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

catherine-smithBy: Cathy Smith

IAP2 USA Board Member and Chair of the Communications Committee

Think back to Spring 2016. Where were you? Well, if you were an IAP2 USA board member, you were in a hotel conference room making a key decision – to develop a strategic communications plan for our community. We decided to “un-jargon” our own language to make it easy for our clients, participants and the community-at-large to grasp the benefits of quality  involvement and to motivate all of us to continually enhance our skills.

Over the course of 2016, your Communications Committee led itself through a thorough planning process. We identified audiences and partners, evaluated our unique place in the marketplace of services and organizations,  dove into the underlying concepts of what the organization needs to say now and into the future, and developed messaging that is clear and direct.

Our core message has two parts – both centered on the concept of “good” skills and outcomes:

“Pursuing the greater good: good decisions made together.” Read more…

Categories: Board, Press Release

Train from anywhere – IAP2 USA offers NEW online courses!

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

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Summer is here and we are excited about these upcoming courses. We have three new courses just for YOU! You can expect that every one of these courses will give you real, usable tools and techniques apply in REAL WORLD situations. Topics include Participatory Budgeting, Social Media, Evaluation, and Tools & Techniques selection. There is a course to fit every p2 professional no matter your experience level or area of discipline. Read more…

How to Hit the P2 Sweet Spot

June 22, 2017 Leave a comment

Core Values 3 4 Banner

“It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settling a question without debating it.” – Joseph Joubert

Let’s see if we can’t do both. In order to successfully debate a question and settle it we need Core Values 3 and 4, which tell us to include everyone who may be impacted by the decision and to use their input to reach a sustainable decision. To fully explain the role these Core Values play, I’ll be sharing three stories that were told to me when I interviewed Susanna Haas Lyons, Wendy Lowe, and Doug Sarno.

Core Value 3: Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.

Core Value 4: Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

In explaining how these Core Values operate, Wendy described a venn diagram that is used in the IAP2 training manual illustrating the attributes of potential solutions during a decision-making process. Once circle includes options that are affordable, the second includes ones that are technically sound, and the third options that are publicly acceptable. “What we as P2 practitioners are trying to do is to find the sweet spot.”

The Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Project

The US Department of Energy was dealing with a volume of waste in Idaho that was hazardous and radioactive. The DOE prepared an environmental impact statement to find the most appropriate, affordable, and technically sound. They engaged the public throughout Idaho and, four years and lots of money later, decided that an incinerator would be the best way to proceed.

However, when they went to get their permit to build the incinerator, they had to check in with the Department of Environmental Quality who asked the DOE which way the wind would blow. That was the moment when the DOE realized they’d more or less forgotten a category of stakeholders: the State of Wyoming. Specifically Jackson, Wyoming where the citizens would be bearing the brunt of the environmental externality. Jackson held a public meeting attended by 500 people that raised $500,000 and killed the incinerator overnight.

This story demonstrates how when you leave out one of the affected parties you cannot know what options are in the publicly acceptable bubble, and can reach solutions that are unable to sustain themselves.

Interestingly, the phrase “including decision makers” wasn’t added to Core Value #3 until 2005 when the Core Values were reviewed. This was one of few substantive changes, but the committee doing the review felt that without this wording the deck would be stacked in favor of the stakeholders. Decision makers are important because they hold the institutional knowledge that populates the options in the bubbles of what is affordable and what is technically sound.

HEALTH CARE REFORM

In 2007, California was undergoing health care reform under Governor Schwarzenegger. Susanna, working for America Speaks, helped convene a statewide forum in which over 300,000 people participated, including many undocumented immigrants. The forum looked at two proposals for reforming health care, what they offered, and the major choices that had to make when deciding between the two. This forum enabled legislators (the decision makers in this instance) to see what their constituents supported and make more informed decisions.

The next step in the process is reaching a sustainable decision. Doug said to me, “Making decisions is pretty easy, implementing them and making those decisions work is where the hard part comes in.” A sustainable decision is the difference between getting public buy-in versus public ownership.

THE FERNALD CLOSURE PROJECT

A former uranium processing facility needed to be closed and its waste disposed in Ohio. There was a huge waste site with wastes that were more or less hazardous scattered throughout. The local community had felt pretty firmly that they did not want this to remain in their backyard. One member of the community in particular, Lisa, was quite vocal about this. And when a workshop was held that used chips for participants to allocate to on- or off- site disposal, Lisa swept all the chips off the board. “I don’t want any of it to stay here.”

Doug told her that was an option, but now it was time to run the math. The facilitators had programs set up that would calculate the number of expected truck trips, traffic accidents, greenhouse gas emissions, etc. that would result from moving all of the waste from Ohio to Nevada. As Lisa watched the numbers populate she turned to Doug and said, “We can’t do this.”

In the end about 90% of the waste by volume remained in an on-site disposal facility. Most of the more hazardous material was moved off-site. The area is now a 900-acre wildlife preserve and education center. There is also a history museum on site that includes a description of this notable public participation process.

Doug described this as “the most fundamental aha moment I’ve had in my career” watching the public participation process move a participant from a “them” to a “we” mentality. This is the full expression of all three circles of the venn diagram. It hits the sweet spot and reaches a sustainable solution that the community not only accepts, it owns.

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This article is the first in a series of articles about the Core Values. Keep an eye out for the next article in upcoming newsletters.

Do you have a Core Values story to share? Please tell us about it here!

Share your Story

Learn more about IAP2’s Core Values

Lauren Wirtis

By: Lauren Wirtis
IAP2 USA Intern

Show Your Support for the Greater Good!

June 21, 2017 Leave a comment

GetToGiving - brandedIAP2 USA and IAP2 Canada are coming together for the second time to help raise funds for our new student scholarship program! The student scholarships help support research in the field, build relationships with universities, and foster the next generation of public engagement leaders.

A Silent Auction will take place on location at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference in Denver, Colorado Sept. 6 – 8. The theme, “Pursuing the greater good: P2 for a changing world” has already inspired donations of baskets of goodies illustrating the diversity, talents and innovation of our supporters far and wide. Your donation doesn’t have to connect to the conference theme and we welcome all creativity! Read more…

Webinar Rewind: “Facilitation Matters”

June 19, 2017 Leave a comment

June 2017 Learning Webinar

Your company or agency is about to embark on a new project that will affect a lot of people and is very technical, very controversial, or both. How do you make sure the public is as engaged as possible?

That’s where facilitation comes in, and in our June webinar, Rebecca Sutherns of Sage Solutions and Kate Bishop of the City of Guelph, Ontario, reprised their popular session from the 2016 IAP2 North American Conference, “Facilitation Matters”.

Facilitation is a specialized skill – which is why there’s an International Association of Facilitators with a certification process – and facilitators can lift the burden of running a meeting and facing sometimes unpredictable crowds off the shoulders of the technical experts. Facilitators do their job, and let the technical experts do theirs. Read more…

Categories: Webinars Tags:

IAP2 Core Values – The Origin Story

June 16, 2017 Leave a comment

2017 (1) Core Values Header

By: Lauren Wirtis
IAP2 USA Intern

Six P2 Practitioners walk into a bar…

There always is more to the story. That’s why I became interested in public participation. As an urban planner, I soon found that there is more to any urban landscape than the underlying zoning, the frequency with which buses are available, the width of the sidewalks, or parks per capita.

“So I’m guessing you heard the story about the group of us in a bar.”
“Yea, that’s what I heard.”
“That’s part of it.”

This was my introduction to IAP2’s Core Values The story everyone knows and the story everyone doesn’t. Today I’ll share both with you. But first, why are we here? This is the first of a four part series on the Core Values. Today’s article will focus on how the Core Values came to be and Core Values one and two. For each piece I’ll be interviewing trainers, practitioners, and Core Values Award judges. For this piece I talked to IAP2 Founders Marty Rozelle and Lewis Michaelson as well as IAP2 Canada Trainer, Lara Tierney

First things first. The story that always gets told and the one that doesn’t. Read more…

Do you have what it takes to be a certified Public Participation Professional?

June 7, 2017 Leave a comment

201706 EB Certification brandedAs many of you are aware you can apply for the IAP2 USA Certification Program at any time of the year and this is welcomed. This communication is to let you know that IAP2 USA will be hosting an Assessment Center on November 17th and 18th for CP3 applicants, location to be confirmed. So if you are planning on becoming certified in 2017 and want to attend please get your application into us by July 28, 2017.

Ask yourself – Do I know how to:

  • work with a sponsor to understand the decision to be made
  • define clear objectives and design a P2 process
  • identify who should be involved in the P2 process and how to engage them
  • pick the right tools and techniques and know how to use them
  • spot potential for conflict and decide how to manage it
  • communicate effectively — orally and in writing
  • work successfully with the public

If you answered YES! to these questions, then you may have the Core Competencies of the P2 profession and it’s time to step up to the next level and become a Certified Public Participation Professional!

Certification is the way to show the world that you know your stuff — the same way architects, engineers and other professionals are expected to meet a global standard — and that when someone hires you, they’re getting a professional who will deliver a true P2 process.

So plan to apply. The deadline for the November 17/18 Assessment Center is August 11, 2017!

How to apply?

  • Make sure you’ve completed the “Foundations” course (formerly known as the “Certificate course”) and that you are an IAP2 member.
  • Download the Information Kit and Frequently Asked Questions
  • Attend the informational webinar to learn details about completing the application

 The Certification Process has been developed over the past three years by your own P2 colleagues in Canada, the USA and Southern Africa, using input gathered from IAP2 members.

Visit the Certification web page to find out more.

We’re looking forward to your taking part!

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UPDATE: You can now watch the recorded version of the June 20th informational Webinar