Engaging your people in the transformation of the community

People push for change – or try to hold it back. When change is necessary, Intelligent Communities work to engage citizens, businesses and institutions as partners, whose ideas and concerns shape the future and who become champions of the future they have helped shape. That commitment to a better future not only promotes positive change – it becomes a force-multiplier for economic development by creating a culture in which innovative business can thrive.

Where does a new future for your city, town or region begin? In study of the problem by experienced experts? Certainly. In recommendations to Council and careful deliberation by elected officials? Of course. And with careful and detailed planning by the departments of government.

But if this is the entire process, you may be setting yourself up for failure – because you have left out the people of the community. They may not yet understand the challenges or have any idea how to tackle them. But they can become either the biggest obstacle to positive change or its most powerful champions. Engaging people in the earliest stages of projects creates ownership.  Ensuring that projects are designed and exe­cuted in a transparent and ethical manner builds trust.  More than ever before, they have digital tools at their disposal for communicating, developing coalitions, coordinating action and turning the fears or enthusiasms of a few people into a community-wide movement.

Using technology for connection

Engagement today means using the traditional tools of community development and the new generation of digital tools to educate citizens and organizations and to seek their real involvement in decision-making. It is about giving them a framework for understanding, listening to them and letting them know they have been heard.

It takes time and effort, but it accomplishes much more than just persuading people to do what their leaders want.

  • It focuses government on solving problems that really matter.
  • It uncovers ideas and initiatives you might never have thought of. It makes your citizens and employers natural ambassadors for the competitive advantages of your community.
  • It creates a culture of live and digital participation that prepares the community to handle the waves of change coming its way.

Take an online course on technology and engagement. Learn more →

Read our report, Creating Champions of Change. Learn more →

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