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Recent Webinar Highlights

DECEMBER 2021 - NAC Encore: “Storytelling - A Structure for Building a Shared Story and Strategy”

Part of the process of public participation is to find common ground on which to bring multiple sides together. Cathy Smith -- communicator, P2 practitioner and past-president of IAP2 USA -- is also a writer of stories, and in her popular presentation at last September’s IAP2 North American Virtual Conference, she discussed how storytelling can be used to reach that common ground.

A story has an arc, the journey in which the hero goes on a quest to reach a goal. In the same way, you can look at a project or proposal as a story in which the hero -- the proponent -- goes on a quest to make that project happen.

But in P2, there’s another hero -- the public. They, too, have quests, individually and collectively, and the goal they are trying to reach is to maintain or enhance their quality of life in the face of changes, such as the proposal on the table.

Stories transmit information, helping people make the decisions they need to survive -- in much the same way that P2 works:

Cathy points out that IAP2’s principles rely on those four elements …

… and moves the conversation from transactional -- each side trying to “get something” from the other -- to relational -- all sides working together.

Stories start with a situation specific to the “hero”, and finish as a shared experience. Ideally, Cathy points out, a P2 process works that way, too.

How else can the principles of storytelling work in your P2 practice? IAP2 members can watch the video and download Cathy’s PowerPoint deck and other material here.

January 2022 - Core Values Award winners

Two of the “best of the best” were featured in the January Learning Webinar. IAP2 Canada’s Organization of the Year -- the Government of Manitoba -- and the IAP2 USA General Project winner -- Avenue Consultants and Salt Lake City -- shared the elements that made their projects award-worthy.

Matthew Cutler, Manitoba’s Assistant Deputy Minister, Communications and Public Engagement, showed how EngageMB developed. It was launched prior to the pandemic, but proved prescient, in allowing Manitobans to engage virtually in government projects.

For Stacee Adams and Avenue Consultants, the issue was a major roadway in Salt Lake City, which was in dire need of repair. But in considering the problem, it became apparent that rolling out fresh asphalt and repainting the lanes was not the complete solution. The situation was seen as an opportunity to make sure the roadway was not just repaved, but reimagined. Avenue Consultants and the City did on-the-ground surveys with users -- motorists, cyclists, pedestrians, businesses and residences along the way. Seemingly radical changes were made, like moving all parking off-street and developing new sidewalk paving to better accommodate those in wheelchairs and the visually impaired.

IAP2 members can watch the video of the webinar here.

February 2022 - NAC Encore - What Can I Do About the Deepening Political Divide?

The events of the past few years, both in the USA and in Canada -- as we’ve seen with the “Truckers’ Convoy” and other recent events -- have exposed a deepening political divide. In fact, Sheila Shockey of Shockey Consulting in Kansas City, MO, says the divide in the United States is as severe as it’s been since the Reformation following the Civil War. 

In fact, Sheila describes the current situation as a “new civil war, with disinformation as the weapon of choice.”

Sheila concedes that there has always been a left/right split in American politics, with the “left” generally concentrated in urban areas and the “right” in rural communities. But the differences have become more acute as more and more people leave rural areas for more economic opportunities in suburban and urban areas. In her presentation, Sheila analyzes some of the data and trends and describes how a public participation practitioner can help bridge the gaps.

She outlines “Better Argument Principles”, in which “winning” is taken off the table and relationship-building is a priority; keeping context front-and-center is another way to overcome divisions between people. 

IAP2 members can view the entire webinar here.

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