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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

IAP2 Core Values – The Origin Story

June 16, 2017 Leave a comment

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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

 

Don’t get left up a tree! Join us at the 2017 IAP2 North American Conference!

June 6, 2017 Leave a comment

170518 EarlyBird Bear Branded

Schedule-at-a-Glance Student Scholarship Become a Conference Sponsor!

Register Today! Learn More

You have less than a month to take advantage of the early-bird pricing at the Conference. Through June 30 take advantage of discounted, early bird pricing! IAP2 Members pay US $550.00 and non-members pay $700.00. On July 1, those prices go up to $650 and $800, respectively. So register now and assure your spot in Denver! And remember, you can cash in on a great rate at the host hotel, the Westin Downtown$189/night if you book by August 6.

EB SponsorDemocracy BrandedAre you with a company that supplies or supports public participation? The 2017 IAP2 North American Conference is the ideal way to connect with future partners and renew acquaintances with current and past ones.

Sponsorship opportunities are available to suit any size company or organization: have a look at the Sponsorship Application Kit to find out more!

Become a Sponsor!Apply Now!

 

 

20170606 EB Redmond AirQualityIncreasingly, people expect to have input into projects that affect the air they breathe, and for many, being told that there are standards or an agency watching over air quality is not enough. Getting members of the public and environmentalists to engage effectively with large polluters is a challenge.

In “When Consultation is Not Enough”, you’ll learn about the Alberta Airshed, which for the past twenty years has brought together the public, environmental groups and industry, to work on decisions that affect the air. They share information on an equal footing. They’ve devised ways of properly monitoring, evaluating and managing air quality – something that requires all stakeholders to make a commitment.

Polarization and partisan anger are part of human nature and have an impact on public participation. Recent political developments have highlighted that reality, and knowing how that nature works can help you prepare for what could be some ugly scenes in P2 processes.

Dr Martin Carcasson, Director of the Center for Public Deliberation at Colorado State University, has spent the past year studying intensively the literature on social psychology, and will share what he’s learned in “Beginning with the Brain in Mind”. Through his presentation and discussion, you will learn how to design processes that avoid triggering negative aspects of human nature, like selective exposure and confirmation bias, and tap into critical positive aspects such as empathy and creativity.

P2 is all about inclusion, and practitioners make a point of making sure ethnic, faith, seniors, youth and immigrant groups, among others, are able to take part in their processes. But did you know that people with disabilities make up the single largest minority group in the US? How do you break down the barriers to their taking part – especially when you might not even know those barriers are there?

Join Penny and Jenni at  “The Final Frontier for Inclusive P2”, where you’ll get an idea of the demographics, the different impacts certain projects can have on people with disabilities and the basic legal framework and budget implications for making your process fully accessible.

Schedule-at-a-Glance Student Scholarship Become a Conference Sponsor!

Register Today! Learn More

Participatory Budgeting: “The greatest wave of democracy coming to the United States”

May 31, 2017 Leave a comment

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It has been called “the greatest wave of democracy coming to the United States”. What started in Porto Alegre, Brazil in 1989 has started to make an impact around the world being implemented in over 1,500 communities around the globe. These communities are experimenting with and implementing a new budgeting practice called Participatory Budgeting.

What is Participatory Budgeting(PB)? PB is “a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend a part of the public budget”. From start to finish this process puts the power into the people’s hands.

Never heard of it? It’s not widely talked about in the United States, however, PB has seen a lot of success and has been implemented in places such as Chicago, IL, New York, NY, and Vallejo, CA. These communities are comprised primarily of minority populations historically marginalized by local government who have become disenchanted with government and feel left behind and unheard.

“How does it work?” you might ask…

First… Community members and volunteers get together to brainstorm ideas. Do you want a community garden, a better park, or better public transit?

Second… Volunteers turn these ideas into real project proposals to present to their community complete with project descriptions and projected cost estimates.

Third… the community votes on where the money will be spent and validates community members’ involvement.

LAST… the projects with the most votes get funded. The projects are then implemented over the next few years. The following year, they do it all over again.

Address inequality, empower your community and transform your local democracy by bringing participatory budgeting to your neighborhood.

Are you interested in advocating for Participatory Budgeting in your community? Join IAP2 USA as we work in partnership with Maria Hadden of the Participatory Budgeting Project to bring you the LIVE ONLINE course Participatory Budgeting: Real Money, Real Engagement.

Our next course takes place July 17 – 28! Reserve your virtual seat today!

Register NOW! 

Categories: Press Release, Training