Should we be engaging during the current Covid-19 crisis ?

4 months ago
CLOSED: This discussion has concluded.

Hi I'm Joe, your breakout facilitator for this conversation thread. 

I'm based on the lovely Mornington Peninsula and operating from the shed, with three kids running around outside (Felix 10, Morgan 7 and Callum 1).  So naturally, I am acutely aware of the challenges of my new shared co/working space. 

This conversation thread is open to the group from 11:45am to 12
from 12 to 12:15 the discussion will be open for others to jump in and out.

There is a range of concerns being raised about engaging in the current Covid-19 crisis. This is a space to discuss and explore thinking around this topic.

Please feel free to start your own threads below.

To kick start things I have posted a few comments below. you can either jump into these threads of take it off in a direction meaningful to you. 

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  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    If we are going to continue engaging in this time, how do you feel we should we be approaching things?
    Hide Replies (3)
    • Phoenyx Williams 4 months ago
      Hi Joe, like everyone else, tele/videoconferencing, webinars, forums are the way to go. There's still a very clear need to engage, share information with, and listen to community members, governments (local, state and federal), stakeholders etc. and it's arguably more important now than ever. Continuing to engage in this time is important; it gives the people you're engaging with something to connect to, something to think about and something to... well, something to do.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
        Yes I think so Phoenyx - but also need to not have unrealistic expectations or be pushing people to engage -just cause we want to keep things moving
    • Pip Gare 4 months ago
      I think we need to find ways to connect the messages to what is currently happening around us ... or to at least remind people that this new COVID-19 crisis won't last forever (though it may feel like it) and we all need to be thinking about what's next and what kind of world do we want to re-enter after movement restrictions have lifted.
  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    Is it appropriate from an organisational perspective to undertake engagement activities at this time, and what are the conversations you are having internally about this?
    Hide Replies (16)
    • Leanne 4 months ago
      Conversations in our organisation are certainly around where the engagement sit's - is it now or is it as we move to relief and recovery. We are experiencing such divided views across the organisation. Keen to hear what others are experiencing.
      Hide Replies (7)
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        The conversations i've been part of have been about existing/current projects that were already underway. The thinking has been reactionary to keep the momentum going. There has been more of a pause and thinking about launching new projects which are un sure.
        Hide Replies (3)
        • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
          Yes that's where we are now too Joel - a tool to do a rapid assessment of the viability/suitability of engagement options in a COVID world would be great to have
        • Leanne 4 months ago
          Similar at our end Joe, some of the smaller less contentious projects will continue while other's go on hold. The Legislative projects such as Amendments to Planning Scheme's are presenting the biggest issue to us in terms of appropriateness at this time
          Hide reply (1)
          • Shannon L 4 months ago
            Hi there, Jumping in as a late participant (to test how that works in this platform, not because I got the time wrong ;) ) This is a question we are asking with regards to planning. What do we NEED to do? What can we do? How can we engage differently. I think as people are engaging more online working from home etc. we could see more people using the online tools ... but we still need to consider how we don't miss people out / have a wider reach.
      • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
        Yes ....our challenge will be getting our Executive Managament's attention in among everything they are dealing with to think about how to engage
        Hide Replies (2)
        • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
          There is also a community development aspect that can be achieved from this that will aid in future engagements.
          Hide reply (1)
          • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
            Or CD team are trying to get their heads focused on the recovery phase with some early conversations
    • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
      Yes, but we must look at risks in a new way. Our team is doing a risk, of engaging or not engaging, and then consider options for how we can adapt our activities to best suit given lack of face to face. We are already making videos of staff to put a human face to ourselves and using Skype to have stakeholder chats with businesses for our city centre planning work at the moment
      Hide Replies (3)
      • Leanne 4 months ago
        The video's are certainly a great way to go!
        Hide reply (1)
        • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
          I think that's something that we will keep after this is over - they are pretty quickly put together videos, but are doing the job
      • Shannon L 4 months ago
        How are you communicating with people to let them know the videos are there? What kind of views are you getting, and are they seeking any feedback in the videos?
    • Kate McRae 4 months ago
      HI Joe
      I am a community engagement and social planning consultant from NSW. This is a question we are looking at daily! I think there is a mixture of things that we are taking into account. Most of our engagement are for external clients so our matrix is about where is our client organisation at in terms of the impact of Covid 19, what are the resources of clients to undertake and participate in engagement at the moment, what is the capacity of community to easily adopt technology when engaging. As some of the considerations. Sorry for the essay!
      Hide Replies (3)
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        Hi Kate, thanks for this, i think having a broad matrix to support the elements to consider would be amazing resource for people to use. I think it might help with frameing engagements to the executive as @JCaldwell mentioned above.
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        Are there any other factors to consider?
        Hide reply (1)
        • Kate McRae 4 months ago
          Absolutely - I think it would be interesting to looking at what level of engagement is required (ie involve, consult, collaborate etc) and whether the tools to achieve this are available, and if the expertise to facilitate the use of tools is present.
  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    Is it appropriate from a community perspective to be asked for your time and input into engagements that are occurring in the current context, emotionally, physically and economically?
    Hide Replies (6)
    • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
      I think yes, but again with sensitivity and a dose of reality about how much people will engage
    • Pip Gare 4 months ago
      I think the topic / issue is key - people are naturally focused on the present crisis, but on the hand - being locked down with spare time may mean that if the issue is one that impacts a participant's life, providing a platform to voice their opinion is entirely appropriate.
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
        I'm going to launch a project - that taps into just that - your favourite tree ....so many people at home observing their world in a new way........celebrating local trees in our streets, yards and parks.......hope it hits he spot......don't want it to be seen as trivial in this time though
        Hide reply (1)
        • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
          Jcaldwell, i don't think its trivial at all. My eyes are more focused on things that previously blended into the background.
    • Nathaniel 4 months ago
      I seems to be really hard to gain people's attention for anything other than COVID-19 at the moment. There are some projects that we just have to continue (rates harmonisation for a merged council for e.g.) but we got very little interest on social media or via email newsletter to our subscribers on EHQ. We had planned to do an online Q&A via FB live but didn't get any questions or interest. Fortunately we had a community reference panel that was in place and very engagement before COVID, so we had some good feedback already. I can totally understand why people wouldn't be interested too, COVID is emotionally draining.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        Nathaniel, i think this will start to shift in the coming weeks as our behaviours and response to Covid become normalised.
  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    Given the uncertainty of when 'physical distancing' will end, what do you think we should we be doing in the interim?
    Hide Replies (5)
    • Leanne 4 months ago
      I think we are all searching for innovation in this space - engaging is one thing - but being able to promote the engagement is becoming even more challenging with the restrictions and facility closures
      Hide Replies (2)
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        Promoting engagements is definitely a challenge as there are so many more competing messages trying to reach the same audience. This is a reason to build up your digital relationship through EngagementHQ. Most clients naturally build a database of 2k per year with out much additional registration drives...
        Hide reply (1)
        • Leanne 4 months ago
          Couldn't agree more - still on that cultural shift climb to mandate registrations :)
    • Kate McRae 4 months ago
      I think this is an interesting one. We are currently working with clients who have projects which are mid way through and discussions have been around postponing or putting projects on hold. However, as we move through this i think the discussion will change to how can finalisation of the project happen through digital engagement and other feedback mechanisms. I think the concern is the accessibility of digital to groups who are not necessarily across how they function.
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        The digital divide is something that needs to be considered and alternative approaches need to be explored to support this. I think there is also given the circumstances how can we get a reach as efficently as possible for masses and blend in some additonal mechanisms. Kitchen table converstaions and kits for these types of disicssions might be usefull.
  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    Quick thumbs up or thumbs down: Based on your personal feelings,

    Thumbs up: i would involve myself in engagements during this time as a community member

    Thumbs down: I don't think I would meaningfully involve myself in engagements at this time as a community member.
    Hide reply (1)
    • Pip Gare 4 months ago
      It completely depends on the issue - how big will the impact of the decision or outcome have on my life.
  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    Time to jump back and checkout the other group discussions now :)
  • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
    What do you think the triggers/change in context that will require us to adjust in the future?
    Hide Replies (2)
    • Jcaldwell 4 months ago
      Not sure what you mean by this Joe, can you say more
      Hide reply (1)
      • Admin Commented Joe Waller 4 months ago
        It is a change of government regulations ie. Stage 3 covid-19 that we should be looking out for ie transtion to stage 4, back to stage 3 etc. Or are there other things we should be keeping an eye on.