Webinar Rewind, April 2017: Core Values Award Winners – “Creativity and Innovation” and “P2 for the Greater Good”
Van Ness Avenue is the “spine” of San Francisco – a part of Highway 101 – but it’s fallen into disrepair in recent decades. It runs past City Hall and cultural organizations like the ballet and the opera. It’s one of the densest transportation corridors in the city. As a piece of the city’s history, it was used as a fire-break in the Great Fire of 1906 – most of the east side of Van Ness burned up, and what was on the west side was more or less protected.
When it came time to upgrade the thoroughfare – sidewalk-to-sidewalk, from fifteen feet below the surface to 30 feet above — the city brought together various agencies – including the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency (SFMTA) – to put the Van Ness Improvement Project together. Lulu Feliciano, SFMTA’s Outreach Manager, says that may be the more efficient way of doing things, but it also meant major inconvenience for the people living and working along that stretch.
SFMTA had already recognized the key principle of IAP2: that people affected by a decision have a right to a voice in that decision, and with such a wide range of interests to cover, the agency had to go beyond more traditional methods to reach them.
SFMTA took pre-construction surveys, using hard copies, online surveys and door-to-door visits, asking people about their conceptions of the noise, parking issues and other inconveniences regarding construction in their area. This direct consultation helped cultivate relationships with the neighbours.
These data – collected from 85 percent of businesses and residential properties – were shared with the contractors in developing a construction strategy and sequence that addressed residents’ concerns such as traffic circulation and parking. SFMTA also learned about specific business needs that had not been considered before, and a Business Advisory Committee was set up to deal with those specific needs. That committee has had direct access to project staff and has helped develop strategies to help businesses through the impactful construction of the project. Some of the tools developed with the committee include a Construction Survival Guide packed with information for businesses, as well as a campaign to discourage double parking on the corridor.
A series of walking tours helped show the public what the existing conditions were and what would be improved through the project.
A key challenge SFMTA faced was one many practitioners face: getting past “the usual suspects”. They found they had been hearing from the same people they heard in other projects, and they knew they needed to find other ways of reaching out. They learned, for example, from the City of Chicago’s experience, that setting up a text messaging system to create a two-way conversation was vital. This tool was especially helpful in engaging younger audiences. Among other things, these updates involved keeping people informed on when they could give input on specific aspects of the project.
The text surveys were not just in English, but also in Spanish, Chinese and Filipino. So far almost a thousand have responded; SFMTA is reaching the goal of including new voices as 60 percent indicated they were unfamiliar with the Van Ness Improvement Project and 79 percent opted into the text messaging conversation.
SFMTA made extensive use of texting through the GovDelivery platform. They also learned a lot about the limitations of the system – such as, the fact that it did not allow for people who indicated they did not know about the Van Ness Improvement Project to automatically receive updates on the project. SFMTA Public Relations Assistant Sean Cronin says that makes it important to continue pushing information out to people who responded and cultivate relationships that way.
Here are some of the resources SFMTA used:
Construction of the Van Ness Improvement Project began late last year and is expected to continue through 2019. As construction progresses, the team will expand on its pre-construction efforts to foster relationships with the public and continue to be good stewards of the neighborhood.
Watch the webinar here.
It’s a conversation that is difficult at the best of times: what one’s health-care wishes are, around the end of life. How do you know what someone’s wishes are, if they can’t speak for themselves any longer?
CEAN – the Community Engagement Advisory Network at the Vancouver Coastal Health Authority – tackled the problem with a unique, peer-led approach, bringing the patients themselves into the conversation. For that, CEAN won the 2016 IAP2 Canada Core Values Award for P2 for the Greater Good.
CEAN is a group of community volunteers that advises VCH on planning and delivering health-care services, coming from the perspective of the patient or family member. The idea of Advance Care Planning started over a decade ago, and in 2010, members of the VCH Senior Leadership Team, Board and CEAN held a public forum on ACP. Two major themes emerged: the importance of the public talking to the public, and the importance of conversation.
According to Pat Porterfield of CEAN, the number of legal forms that have to be filled out can cause one to get bogged down in that aspect and miss the importance of talking to one’s family and friends about those wishes. It was equally important to have people talking to people, because some of the members of the forum noted that there could be skepticism of the role or motives of the Health Authority leading the discussion.
Some were concerned that the Authority could be seen as having an ulterior motive – like controlling health-care costs. Forum participants also noted that it would be important for members of the public to hear “testimonies”, as it were, from others who had had those conversations with their families and friends. It was necessary, then, for VCH to be seen to be supporting the initiative, but that it be driven by members of the public: it’s the conversation that’s important.
The main requirement for volunteers taking part in this project is passion for helping people have this conversation and often, the facilitators have personal experiences: they may have had an advance-care conversation in their own lives, or there hadn’t been such a conversation and they wished that there had.
Each facilitator develops their own workshop, but the team works together very collaboratively; supporting one another emotionally, and when developing and reviewing materials for the public.
Each workshop ends with an evaluation, and feedback has been very positive: whether workshop attendees are looking for help in making their own plans or to have the conversation with a loved one, they feel they understand the process better and are more capable of making decisions as a result.
WEBINAR REWIND: Core Values Award Winners – Respect for Diversity, Inclusion and Culture – March 14, 2017
This award was presented for the first time in both Canada and the USA last year, and the winners faced decidedly different circumstances for which they had to respect diversity.
For the Saint Paul, Minnesota, Public School District (SPPS), the task was to upgrade 72 district facilities (US $2.1 billion in assets) to meet the needs of a very diverse set of students with contemporary needs and expectations.
SPPS students are:
- 32% Asian-American
- 30% African-American
- 22% White
- 14% Latino
- 2% American Indian
Over 100 languages and dialects are spoken at home.
72% of the students live in poverty.
Some years ago, the district made a deep commitment to racial equity, and like many school systems is moving toward a student-centered, personalized approach to learning, to better prepare students for 21st century educational, employment, and community expectations.
In designing a process for the new Master Facility Plan, the Facilities Department adjusted itself in parallel with the change in the educational approach, shifting from an “expert” model to an inclusive, stakeholder-centered approach. They adopted the IAP2 Core Values, and given the technical, regulatory, and funding constraints put the process at “Involve” on the IAP2 Spectrum. At the same time, they agreed whenever possible to choose techniques that leaned toward “collaborate” on the Spectrum to demonstrate their commitment to understand and incorporate multiple perspectives and new ideas.
A strong stakeholder analysis process made clear that students, families, staff, and community partners were among the key stakeholders, and in accordance with the Core Values they must genuinely help shape of the process. A large and diverse group from across the district sat on the planning committee to frame the overall effort and serve as process stewards to ensure it was welcoming, inclusive, and respectful of all stakeholder groups and demographics.
Per the Core Values, a key priority was ensuring that participants believed and could see that their contributions made a difference. School-created internal teams thus included the usual leadership and staff and students, parents, and community members. Further, staff and consulting architects participated in a two-day racial equity training course. Those school teams and the planning committee then helped design a series of Saturday morning workshops that brought together teams from multiple schools within a K-12 pathway. Using inclusive, fun, and highly interactive techniques, participants worked together to build empathy across school communities; frame cohesive supports for students throughout their K-12 journey; and understand the different ways each site could meet needs and requirements.
By intentionally supporting participation with dates and times chosen by stakeholders, transportation, food, childcare, and interpreters, 818 stakeholders participated in 2,753 workshop hours, across 14 school pathways, and helped shape 68 building plans.
As a result of this intentionally inclusive and groundbreaking engagement work, SPPS has formalized its commitment to long-term and ongoing stakeholder engagement in facility planning – and the SPPS Board/Trustees recently approved $500 million in facility improvements over the next five years.
The ‘Namgis First Nation and the Village of Alert Bay share tiny Cormorant Island – off the northeast coast of Vancouver Island. The two communities have a unique mix of separate and combined cultures, histories and economies. The island was, in fact, the economic hub of northern Vancouver Island, due in large part to the commercial fishery. But in the 80s, the fishery declined, and when the world economy sank in the early part of this century, businesses closed and young people started moving away.
The two communities decided the only way to address the new reality was to increase levels of cooperation in search of a solution. EcoPlan International was called in to help produce the new Economic Development plan. The process involved deep P2 from the beginning to build trust and discover common values. As practitioners, EPI’s Colleen Hamilton and William Trousdale realized they had to learn the engagement context of two very different communities sharing the same, small space. They did so by walking the streets and talking to people – “intercept interviews” – and getting beyond the “usual suspects” in a P2 process.
As well as “meeting them where they’re at” – both physically and culturally – they enlisted local leaders to help identify people and groups that might be overlooked. They used business drop-ins and door-to-door, unstructured interviews with people and hired youth ambassadors to explain the plans to their peers. So that people could own the process, they held a “name the plan” contest, and “Tides of Change” remains synonymous with the plan that belongs to the community.
A crucial step came when a major credit union opened a branch in Alert Bay. When the last bank closed a branch several years ago, local businesses were unable to continue operating and the economic decline rapidly increased. When Vancouver City Savings (Vancity) opened its new branch, it meant that local businesses could get support and money earned on the island tended to stay on the island.
For the two communities, “Tides of Change” has meant another important step: economic reconciliation. This is an opportunity to bring equality through actions rather than simply words.
In your P2 career, are there times when being the professional is almost a hindrance to meaningful engagement? You could walk into a situation where the community is skeptical that a process will be fair and honest, or find that staff are more involved than you’re able to accommodate, or any of a number of other situations.
One solution is to develop P2 Toolkits. These are specialized “packages” of resources that can be provided to “non-professionals” to help them with their engagement efforts. Based on their presentation at the IAP2 North American Conference last September, Cristelle Blackford of CivicMakers, Abby Monroe of the City of Chicago and Zane Hamm, educator and research associate with the Centre for Public Involvement in Edmonton discussed how toolkits have worked in three individual projects.
Cristelle explained how people in Elk Grove, a community just outside Sacramento, California, have guarded their rural lifestyle and atmosphere, and have lately found it threatened by an influx of young families with an urban bent. A proposal to improve mobility in the area – including sidewalks and bike lanes – ran into opposition from those concerned it represented the beginning of a suburban takeover of the rural area; there was also skepticism about the outreach process.
Cristelle’s team determined that the best way to reach out to people in the community would be through other members of the community; that neighbours talking to neighbours would ensure the engagement was meaningful. So they assembled the toolkit that included project information, outreach templates and forms for reporting back. A very plain style was chosen: one that would be more trusted in the community.
Ten “street teams” contacted 115 households – about 95% of the target area – and Cristelle says that’s more than professional consultants could have reached. In the end, the community came up with a mobility approach that focused on what was deemed to be the more immediate issue – street safety – with other work to come later. In the process, community members felt ownership over the process and trust was restored between the community and the City.
The City of West Hollywood had a different situation: staff across the board were eager to engage with the public on all manner of issues across departments, but outreach efforts to date had been disjointed. It was necessary to provide them with the tools to do it and consistent messaging that would work no matter what the topic.
Abby Monroe described how that toolkit was put together: elaborate, colourful materials designed by a graphic artist. Brochures, “playing cards”, posters and other resources were packaged and distributed to the various departments, and training was provided. The result was an involved and engaged staff, an enthusiasm for higher-quality public participation and a consistent city voice across departments.
And then, there is the DIY Engage! toolkit. Developed by the Centre for Public Involvement, this grew out of a need identified by organizations for something to address barriers to participation and make the public engagement process more inclusive by putting equitable outreach design in the hands of community members. Zane Hamm explained this is designed to be an open-source toolkit with resources to enable anyone to facilitate a process in familiar spaces and with culturally-relevant resources. The toolkit is currently being reviewed by leadership students for version 2.0 – an interactive game.
This toolkit includes interactive materials such as a guide book to lead a group through the experiential process of designing a public engagement or initiative, and two sets of cards – one set, putting forward challenges to engagement, with the flip-side putting forward solutions. The second set of cards, “Check Your Knowledge”, highlights terms and facts related to the topic. “Perspective” buttons, designed to understand different points of view, encourage creative thinking to solve the problems identified.
IAP2 USA members can watch the recording of the webinar, and get access to some of the resources mentioned here. Note that Cristelle, Abby and Zane are inviting comments, questions and experiences you might have had with toolkits, yourself.
Reposted from IAP2 Canada
Did you know that engaging the public is a long-term commitment, rather than a short-term condition? Or that one in 4 Americans is affected by a doctor “missing the boat” with a diagnosis? Or that people in British Columbia who receive health services are regarded as “partners” rather than “patients”?
Those were themes in our IAP2 Learning Webinar on November 8, 2016, which featured the Core Values Award winners for Organization of the Year in Canada and the USA, and Research Project of the Year from the United States.
IAP2 USA Organization of the Year: City of Hillsboro, Oregon
The City of Hillsboro, Oregon, is no stranger to the Core Values Awards. The fast-growing community 30 km west of Portland won Project of the Year in 2002 for its long-term visioning exercise to develop “Hillsboro 2020”. In fact, its updated version, “Hillsboro 2035” was initially entered in the Project of the Year category, but the IAP2 USA judges moved it to Organization of the Year because of the way P2 has become ingrained in the city’s fabric.
Hillsboro has seen a 40% increase in its population since 2000 – up to 97,000 as of 2015 and on-track to reach 116,600 by 2035. The demographic is changing, with an increasing Latino population, along with immigrants settling there from India and Korea. The daytime population also shifts since 70% of the residents go elsewhere to work during the day, while 70% of the workforce at businesses and industries (the tech sector is a major employer there) comes from other towns.
The City began developing “Hillsboro 2020” in 1997, recognizing the need to engage as much of the community as possible, and as more and more of the targets were achieved well ahead of plan, “Hillsboro 2035” was begun, working with Jason Robertson of J. Robertson and Co.
By then, the culture of P2 had become the way of life in Hillsboro. More than two dozen community organizations led the projects and a citizens’ Implementation Committee was overseeing the Action Plan. The Plan became a “living document”, being updated every five years, to prevent what city project manager Chris Hartye calls the “plan on a shelf” syndrome.
The engagement was accomplished through a combination of online and “traditional” tools. “There’s no substitute for face-to-face engagement,” says Hartye, as regular community events and presentations keep the connections and input flowing. He also points out that staff and supervisors get regular refreshers in P2, the city leaders have provided ongoing support and reasonable metrics help keep expectations in line.
IAP2 USA Research Project of the Year: “Clearing the Error”, Jefferson Center and the Maxwell School for Public Affairs at Syracuse University
Engaging patients in the health care process was also a key in “Clearing the Error”, which won Research Project of the Year from both IAP2 USA and the entire IAP2 Federation. The Jefferson Center and the Maxwell School for Public Affairs at Syracuse University teamed up with the Society to Improve Diagnosis in Medicine and the Agency for Health Care Research and Quality to look closely at the issue of diagnostic error.
It’s estimated that one in four Americans will, at some time in their lives, be affected by a problem with a medical diagnosis. It could be through mis-diagnosis (getting it wrong or incomplete the first time) or a missed diagnosis (not spotting the problem at all) or a mis-communication; any of which creates an avoidable delay in providing the right treatment. In fact, diagnostic error crops up in 10% of medical cases. What to do about it?
The research team used a variety of surveys and engagement tools and techniques, including Citizens’ Juries (check out the IAP2 webinar from 2015), to engage patients and healthcare consumers. Participants in the project identified roles patients might play to improve diagnostic quality and limit errors.
The research team found that deliberation had significant impacts on patient activation, health literacy, and other important measures. They also found that a majority of everyday citizens understood the recommendations and believed the recommendations were easy to use and would have a positive impact on diagnosis. The research team is currently working to assess the perceived quality of the recommendations created through deliberation as compared to recommendations made by non-deliberating bodies, including those made by a professional medical group. In the future, the team hopes to test the efficacy of the recommendations for improving the diagnostic process and diagnostic quality in clinical settings.
Organization of the YEAR: IAP2 Canada: British Columbia Ministry of Health
The British Columbia Ministry of Health was recognized for its “Patients as Partners Program”, which has been around less than 10-years (and counting) to give patients and their families a greater voice, choice and representation to improve healthcare at the individual, community and system level.
Shannon Holms, the program director, explained how the “old” approach to health care, structured around the needs of hospitals and healthcare providers, with medical staff regarded as experts and patients as recipients of information and instruction was no longer unsustainable. Costs were rising, taxpayers’ dollars were limited, the population was getting older and patients were demanding more input into their care.
In 2007, the British Columbia provincial government endorsed a new approach, which involved a common language, common tools and a common approach to involving patients and health care providers to foster their collaboration to improve healthcare in British Columbia. Holms explained that the IAP2 Core Values provided a “north star” for the Ministry and Delaney and Associates provided training for some 800 health care workers resulting in 40,000 engagements with patients.
Some of the results tailored for individual regions in BC include:
- The Vancouver Island Health Authority developed a program to prepare patients before surgery.
- The Interior Health Region engaged patient and family partners in the Interior Health Eating Disorder Regional Planning Day to foster engagement and collaboration and to gather information to be considered in the development of the Interior Health Eating Disorder Strategy.
- Northern Health engaged patient volunteers to streamline the process for transferring patients from hospitals to community care – condensing 24 forms down to one.
- Providence Health in Vancouver included patient partners on the committee to hire a new respiratory therapist.
- In Ridge Meadows, just east of Vancouver, patient volunteers were invited to work with general practitioners and radiologists to help improve communications and imaging results.
Among the lessons-learned, Holms says, is to maintain good relations with patient-partners and to keep leaders informed, involved and engaged.
Click here for additional resources from the webinar.
Many people who attended the 2015 North American Conference have said they’d love to hear a particular presentation again … or that they would love another chance to hear a presentation because they’d missed it the first time. So we’re happy to present, from time to time, some of the more popular sessions, according to the results of our post-Conference survey.
The IAP2 March Webinar featured two of the more popular sessions: Amy Hubbard of Capire Consulting in Australia on the “Engagement Triangle”, and Kalin Schmoldt of JLA Public Involvement in Portland, Oregon, with “INNOVATIVE! VISUAL! PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT!” from the session, “It’s Geek to Me”.
Amy developed the Engagement Triangle while considering the wide range of definitions and approaches to P2 she had encountered. In a local government setting, for example, Amy found that the Public Relations team, the Planning and Engineering team and the Community Development team each believed they “owned” engagement. She also discovered that 95% of local government “engagement” actually sat on the left-hand side of the IAP2 Spectrum – “Inform”, and that even those engagement efforts were not true P2.
The Engagement Triangle takes three basic principles of P2: informing decisions, building capacity and strengthening engagement. Those, then, expand into a matrix of 10 overall goals of a P2 project, which further refines your and your client’s objective and creates a chart of tools that you can use to achieve that objective.
Kalin Schmoldt of JLA Public Involvement in Portland, Oregon, was part of a highly popular session, “It’s Geek to Me”, looking at ways of conveying highly complex and/or technical information to ordinary citizens so they can be properly informed.
In “INNOVATIVE! VISUAL! PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT!”, Kalin advocates for “big picture” visual presentations, which break through the limitations of two-dimensional approaches like PowerPoint.
A non-linear graphic representation like the one from the City of Longview, Washington’s sessions on its Water Improvement Project, can convey complex concepts much more effectively.
Questions from the audience were probing and stimulating, too – one of the advantages of our webinars is that they are interactive and you can ask questions and make comments throughout the presentations.
When a government decides a tax rate increase is in order, it will often “take it to the people”. Indeed, any jurisdictions are required to do that, by law. But how do you ensure that the people going to the polls are well-enough informed to make a decision?
Our February webinar – which was a co-production with the National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation (NCDD) – looked at “Balancing Act”, a tool designed to help members of the public understand the realities of public budgeting. A wish list is one thing; weighing that against all the other demands on the public purse is quite another, and this tool allows you to look at the actual budget, with all its line items, and determine how much can be spent in one area without robbing another area blind.
Chris Adams, president of Engaged Public, developers of Balancing Act, pointed out that the traditional “three minutes at the mic” style of public meeting usually degenerates into a shouting spree, while taking the time to explain the often highly-technical financial details can take a CPA to understand.
Balancing Act gives ordinary citizens the ability to voice their opinion and put the situation in context. It allows them to take part in the public budgeting process without going to a public hearing. They can let governments know if spending priorities are in line with their expectations and values. The conversations become real and not rhetorical – different sides asking questions to which they already know the answer – and the tool can be used in a group setting, so people can start to work together.
For governments, it allows them to meet the increasing expectations of the public to be more involved in the process. They can channel citizen complaints into actionable information and build public trust at the same time, as people see that their concerns are being addressed and taken seriously.
Balancing Act can be adapted for school districts and other government bodies, as well as for different currencies and languages. There’s also a free version offered to participatory budgeting projects.