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Plott — 2019

A workshop exercise to open minds and change perspectives.

Plott is a card-based exercise designed to encourage a flexible mindset before deliberative engagements. I worked with a transdisciplinary team to develop Plott as part of an innovation project conducted for the strategic communication firm KJA.

Drawing on three months of primary stakeholder research, we designed Plott to better prime workshop participants for effective deliberation and consensus-building. The exercise has since been trialled in community engagements for Sydney Airport, with interest from political decision-makers and engagement practitioners.

This was my first foray into the field of community engagement and I'm incredibly proud of the extensive research and validation we undertook to reach this final product.

View the project website →

Challenge

Many people feel let down by the organisations and governments that serve them. Using innovative engagement tools, how can we empower communities to better govern themselves and act on issues they care about?

Methodology

We conducted interviews with decision-makers and engagement practitioners, alongside focus groups and a survey of young Australians across the country. Our findings were supplemented by engagement case studies and research into existing engagement practices.

Findings

While time can be a barrier to engagement, we also found decision-makers are more receptive to stakeholder input when there is evidence that stakeholders have evaluated multiple perspectives on an issue.

Ultimately, we found there was significant potential for intervention in the deliberative process – a method currently at the forefront of engagement practice, as it is designed to create informed consensus.

With this in mind, we decided to leverage the deliberative process to create a more constructive and productive relationship between communities and decision-makers.

Read extracts from the project report

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Final Prototype

After successive rounds of testing with various user groups and engagement practitioners, we settled on Plott's final form: a card-based exercise including a custom set of prompt cards and a facilitator's guide with a sample session plan.

This prototype was presented at the Spark Festival 2050 Emergent event in 2019, and the exercise materials are available as a free digital download – visit plott.cards for more.

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Acknowledgements

I acknowledge the Cabrogal people of the Darug Nation, the traditional custodians of the land where I live and work. I pay my respect to their Elders past, present and emerging.

© 2021