Dismantling Barriers to Engagement

Engagement, co-creation, co-production consultation, and membership development all are high on the list of priorities for many.  Yet it can feel like an uphill battle to get beyond the usual suspects to establish a genuine engagement with the community.

Are we beset by a tide of apathy?

Or a complex web of cultural barriers that amount to intentional exclusion?

Either way – what can we do personally and collectively to overcome these barriers to engagement and participation?

To reduce them, undermine them, clamber over them?

Is it possible to be disengaged – or are we just engaged in other things, with other folk?  Do we label people apathetic as a way of avoiding a real inspection of our own work?

Apathy historically means ‘free from pain’.  To what extent are choices not to engage sensible means of avoiding pain, disappointment and failure?

How often is the ‘engagement’ that we are offered really in our own interest?  Or is it often more serving policy makers and service providers.

Whether you are on ‘the outside looking in’, or on the inside, wondering why we don’t engage… let’s start looking for clues…

I would welcome your comments, insights and experiences of engagement, good, bad and ugly…

Please follow the link below to a pdf of the mindmap produced at the Dismantling Barriers event…

Dismantling Barriers To Engagement



  1. quentin kean says:

    Cheers for organising the day, Mike. It was interesting.

    There were a couple of possible Hawksworth projects mentioned by Casey Morrison towards the end of the session (briefly described in his notes http://corruptthebrand.blogspot.co.uk/2012/07/notes-from-barriers-to-engagement-event.html). Would be good to talk/think about them again -one was about an estate “mayor” the other about an estate-level experiment with sortition re deciding local priorities for spending £xm

    There’s another project I’d be interested in pursuing, which has a very limited aim – to try and get the LCC to open up part of its website to proper dialogue with the people it serves. Could mean a visitors’ forum, opening up certain pages for comments…If they’re strapped for resources, maybe we could help make it happen. Co-creation or what!

    • Well, it is based on sharepoint so it should be no problem to use it as a platform for collaboration. Not sure it has been used in that way yet though.

      Or we could just use – http://www.leedsforum.co.uk

      The technology is not the problem. I could set it up on my website. It is finding the resource to manage the community, moderate etc. And making sure that it becomes influential and not just a talking shop….

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