In 2010, the Premier’s Community Engagement Board embarked upon the biggest community engagement process in the history of South Australia’s Strategic Plan, involving people in all regions of South Australia. Face to face engagement and online approaches, including social media brought a wide range of voices into the process. The voices of over 9,200 people across South Australia created a vision for the state in 2020 and beyond.
Becky Hirst Consulting undertook project planning and facilitation of highly participative community engagement activity in metropolitan Adelaide. This work included planning, facilitating and reporting on community Think Tanks in the centre, north, west, south and east of the metropolitan Adelaide area, as well as running specialist Think Tanks for young people and people representing Cultural and Linguistically Diverse communities. The work also included ‘shopping centre chat stations’ at locations across the area.
Working from a blank page, community members were invited to attend Think Tank events where they participated in professionally facilitated discussions regarding their vision and priorities for South Australia. These discussions were held over a couple of hours using a world cafe approach. Becky worked with the groups to then identify their top 3 individual priorities from the discussions held and then as a whole group they sorted the priorities in to themes. An example of the typical results from each Think Tank are demonstrated in the below video –
This project won the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) award for Best International Project of the Year 2011. “I’m excited to see the Community Engagement Board win this award. It recognises months of hard work and a genuine commitment to letting the community shape South Australia’s future. Our approach was hands-on with an emphasis on going to where people are, rather than expecting them to come to us. Through community visits, targeted outreach and online resources, we listened and learnt about people’s lives, while gleaning powerful information about their hopes and aspirations,” said Peter Blacker, Chair, Community Engagement Board Award.