Making Marion – Co-Designing A Community Plan Towards 2040

Project management and implementation of the Making Marion community engagement project.
Client : City of Marion
Date : 2013.02.13
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During 2012, the City of Marion undertook a city wide engagement process with residents and rate payers to help shape the content of their Community Plan.

Becky Hirst Consulting was contracted by the City of Marion to provide project management services as part of the Making Marion project.  The project was designed to find out what residents, businesses and community groups wanted the city to look like in 2040. Our work included –

  • > Developing a comprehensive stakeholder engagement strategy;
  • > Preparing a social media and online engagement plan;
  • > Planning and facilitating a number of staff workshops to plan engagement activity;
  • > Facilitating Elected Member forums throughout the process;
  • > Planning and facilitating innovative engagement activity with local residents, local business, and young people;
  • > Leveraging information from other recent engagement activity;
  • > Planning and facilitation of a whole-of-staff big breakfast, including a world-café discussion with 300 people
  • > Working with Elected Members to collate hundreds of community responses to shape the Community Plan content

Engagement Methodology (Copyright Becky Hirst Consulting)

The overarching question of “What is the ONE BIG THING that you would like to see in your community in 2040?” was used during the engagement process to encourage participants to think strategically. So not to become simply a shopping list of desires, the engagement was professionally facilitated to see enable key themes to emerge as priorities. For example, suggestions such as “I would like to see planting of trees like jacarandas and plane trees to soften the landscape” weren’t specifically addressed in the final strategic plan, but where tree planting, or environment, or visual appeal of neighbourhoods was mentioned by several people, these helped shape overarching visions for the city.

Involving staff in Making Marion

We also used the Why Why Why approach to help determine peoples core values. For example, when asked about the one big thing they wanted, if someone said “More meeting places” then they were asked why this was important to them. And then why again. Why was asked until the core of the priority emerged, such as “Because we need to promote positive mental health by reducing loneliness and isolation”.  This would have likely contributed to a priority around the City of Marion having a strategic role in connecting community.

To acknowledge peoples connection to the community, we developed a large timeline which we took to all meetings and everyone added to it.

Creation of a community timeline

The breadth of discussion held in the community during this engagement process can be experienced in the Making Marion engagement archive here.

Elected Member involvement in the process was hands on and provided an exciting opportunity for them to connect with the broader interested community. At the end of the engagement process, they took part in a facilitated process to sort through all input received and identify themes that had emerged. These themes were then used to help shape the Community Plan.

The Mayor Felicity Ann Lewis, Deputy Mayor David Speirs, Elected Members, Staff and Becky Hirst accepting the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) Australasian Project of the Year Award 2013. 


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