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cyclists on the street

It was clear to the City of Toronto that engaging less confident cyclists that make up 60% of the population, yet seldom come to community meetings, might be the key to dramatic mode shifts in the city. Here's how it happened. One of my favorite tasks is interviewing clients to prepare a case study. It’s fun to hear their perspective, and sometimes a great story like...

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public meeting

It’s surprising how seldom we see a breakdown of the cost of public participation across multiple channels or tactics. These breakdowns give a unique window into community engagement that can be extremely useful to agencies trying to create engagement plans and realistic budgets to meet their outreach goals. That’s why we were so surprised when the Metro Nashville Planning Commission included a powerful slide breaking down...

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I'm right and you're an idiot speech from James Hoggan

Image from book launch event courtesy Hoggan & Associates My interview with Author James Hoggan: 'I’m Right and You’re an Idiot: The Toxic State of Public Discourse and How to Clean It Up'Published by New Society, May 2016 James Hoggan has influenced my work for two decades. I find myself quoting his work in many of my public speaking engagements and the lessons he has articulated have shaped...

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Two girls with a tablet and city skyline

Civic tech, and particularly online community engagement, has grown dramatically over the past few years. For years the field was in it's infancy with only a few players and early adopters experimenting with new approaches. We're now in the teenage years, with rapid growth in the number of vendors and agencies taking the leap. As every teenager knows, every growth spurt comes with both positives...

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Dave speaking to angry crowd at public meeting

One of my pet peeves is how we fill conference programs and websites with the most successful case studies and we don't talk about our most potent learning experiences - when things went wrong. Maybe we just need a safe place to talk about these important learning opportunities. When things go wrong in public engagement, they can go spectacularly wrong. The result isn’t just frustration...

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