Far too often, “doing online engagement” is seen by municipalities or organizations as an end goal. Standing up a piece of technology that connects them to more people within a community is a check box to which they can say, “Yeah, we do that.”
This is why many engagement efforts fail to take off as hoped or expected. The reasons for launching an online engagement initiative focus too much on simply having the technology and not enough on the real outcomes the technology can uncover.
Simply having an engagement platform doesn’t mean you’re necessarily making a difference.
What if an online engagement platform was seen more as a means to an end? What if your goal was to build a safer road, design a better park, plan a more unique building or create a more vibrant downtown?
If your goal is to find ways to make your community thrive, then successfully achieving those goals in today’s world requires a better way to build relationships and connect with the people that make up that community.
It is this crucial differentiation in thinking that was the focus of our most recent MindMixer webinar.
We first offered a redefinition of community — that community is less about a territorial boundary and more about the people who care about that place. Then, we tackled the question of how to more easily tap into those people that care to team up with them and build better communities.
To put this into real-life perspective, in this month’s webinar, I was joined by Cynthia Berner Harris from the City of Wichita, Kan. Cynthia offered a real-world look at how she and the City of Wichita thought differently about their goals with public engagement, and how making those connections more active and robust by going online was where they began to see actual, positive change.
It’s definitely worth a watch. View the webinar here.