Community engagement can transform communities. Encouraging public participation in projects that impact society facilitates fair, equitable, and sustainable outcomes. It is an essential decision-making process for any organization, government, or individual that is driving projects which will have an impact on the community.
Traditional, executive-led approaches to community projects are becoming less effective. The dated top-down approach is slowly being replaced by collaborative decision-making and communities are asking for more say in the design and delivery of the services that impact them. Community issues are complex and it’s important to make the problem-solving process inclusive so that decision-makers have a better understanding of their community’s needs and aspirations before setting a course of action.
When engagement projects are inundated with input from those with the loudest voice or the strongest opinion, the outcomes are only beneficial to one group and can be detrimental to the community as a whole. Without allowing a diverse set of perspectives to be aired, decision-makers can be swayed by the loudest voices and put their focus on the wrong areas. You should seek out marginalized or overlooked voices and create avenues for people of all backgrounds, motivations, and persuasions to speak up. That will give you a balanced understanding of the community’s views and enhance the value of the final decision.