Paula Lawrence, Program Director

Paula Lawrence, KJA’s Melbourne Program Director, has been reflecting on the changes she is seeing in engagement, particularly the growing interest in innovation in engagement, and what is driving it. Paula shares how KJA is introducing innovation in engagement, by utilising new and innovative tools.

In Victoria, it is exciting to see heightened interest in innovation in engagement from both Government and the private sector.

Reflecting on the changes, I believe the drive for innovation is partly in response to the Auditor General’s reports on Public Participation in State and Local Government. But I think it’s also a response to the sheer volume of works being delivered and the engagement processes underway.

On the Victorian Government’s Engage VIC portal there are currently 23 different projects seeking community input. Additionally there is a plethora of road upgrades, level crossing removal works, rail improvements, new stations along with new suburbs and housing renewal projects, all of which require some level of engagement and input from the immediate community. The Local Government sector is also engaging with residents on changes to services and new projects, and 79 Councils will shortly begin seeking input into or feedback on their Council budgets for 2019/20.

The sheer scale of the engagement challenge is necessitating new tools and techniques to make it easier for time-poor communities to participate in a meaningful way, and for project owners to get the attention of the local community. Put simply, organisations are seeking to fight engagement fatigue with innovation.

At KJA, we embrace the use of innovation in engagement and are pleased to be working with government and the private sector to utilise new and innovative online tools and reporting and engagement techniques, including walk-shops.

Our selection of tools and techniques is driven by a deep understanding of each project’s objectives and analysis of the key stakeholders. We provide strategic, end-to-end engagement services and harness our experience across traditional and new tools and techniques to identify the most appropriate methods to engage meaningfully with each community.