City of Vincent embark on a visioning project with a well-structured site and clear engagement opportunities.
The Good: Beginning their consultation with community workshops to establish focus areas is a great way to get early buy-in. The inclusion of an Ambassador Program is also a great device to empower the community with information about the project.
For Consideration: Some of the questions asked with the survey tool would make for great Ideas questions. This would allow all contributions to be seen publicly and for people to build on and interact with each others ideas.
Overall: Imagine Vincent is the beginning of a well thought-out visioning project. With multiple opportunities for engagement and clearly articulated project lifecycle. The project encapsulates many elements of best practice online community engagement.
Imagine Vincent is the latest community visioning project launched on EngagementHQ.
The consultation is focussed on developing a 10 year Community Strategic Plan (2018-2028) for City of Vincent in Western Australia.
As with most community strategic plan consultations, the aim of the project is to involve members of the community in discussions about Council's long term vision, values, aspirations and priorities.
One of the first things that jumped out for us about this consultation, is the openness and authenticity with which City of Vincent initiated their engagement activities.
Right from the beginning, City of Vincent involved their community in the establishment of joint focus areas through a series of community workshops.
We think this process is a great way to simplify and articulate priority areas and it also encourages early community buy-in with the process as it moves forward.
The second item that stands out, is the way the website content and information is structured.
By utilising a whole EHQ site for the project, Imagine Vincent has created an easy to navigate consultation site.
Sections such as Get Involved, Host a Conversation and What's Happening, allow visitors to know what they are likely to find on each page and this helps them quickly jump to the sections they're looking for.
This is also supported by a simple navigation menu in the header, which goes even further to break-down the Get Involved section and reveal the key focus areas for the plan by a drop-down menu.
The inclusion of a clearly articulated project timeline is a great addition and helps everyone see the trajectory of the consultation.
The main feedback mechanisms for Imagine Vincent are built around individual surveys for each of the seven focus areas.
Members of the community can simply register for the site and then answer a single questions for each of the focus areas.
These questions are designed as essay type questions and are framed to spark ideas generation about each of the key focus areas.
There are is also an opportunity for the community to ask questions using a Q&A tool, which is a really important way of further opening up the project to the community.
One of the most unique things about Imagine Vincent is the inclusion of an Ambassadors Program.
The Ambassadors Program is essentially a set of instructions on how to host a kitchen-table conversation with friends, colleagues and family, to discuss the the future of the City.
Alternative engagement devices like these are a great way to engage people who don't have time to attend scheduled workshops and meetings and they also help to generate community buzz around the project.
By providing downloadable packs and simple instructions, members of the community can choose to engage with the consultation in their own time and with their own networks and communities.
Taking this idea one step further, City of Vincent has also setup a Host a Conversation form with the option to have a council staff member facilitate group conversations of 15 or more people.
This type of initiative encourages community members to get active and also reduces the risk associated with people not showing up to scheduled meetings.
It also means resources can be better targeted at those groups of people who have self-organised and already fulfilled an ambassadorial-type role in the community.
Finally, the site is built around a unique project brand which sets it apart from normal Council branding.
Special projects brands are a great way to emphasise the importance and uniqueness of a consultation and City of Vincent has used this effectively to create an identity for the project.
We can already see this identity flowing through their promotional and communications activities.
Overall, Imagine Vincent is a good example of online community visioning that is complimented with real-world interactions and unique conversational techniques.
Client: City of Vincent, Western Australia
Project: Imagine Vincent
Publish Date: June 2017
Project Details: The City of Vincent is conducting a significant review of the Strategic Community Plan to inform the development of the City over the next 10 years.
Widgets: SignUp Banners, FAQs, Document Libraries, Lifecycles, Who's Listening, Register
1. Ambassador pack and community consultation kit.
2. Clearly articulated focus areas that were developed during community workshops at the beginning of the consultation.
3. The use of dedicated Imagine Vincent project branding throughout the site.
For further consideration:
1. Some of the feedback questions for each of the priority themes sound like they might also be fit for use in Ideas or forum discussions instead of open ended survey questions.
NOTE: The article above is based on a visit to the site on 17th June 2017. Changes made to the project after that date may have altered the appearance of the project.