When I delivered the Civil Service Learning digital engagement for policymakers course with Steph Gray, Steph put in a really neat slide which explained that different people have different needs from any one engagement exercise.
Some people are happy to just know a bit more about what is going on. Others want to be able to have their say. Some people don’t want to be bothered about it at all!
This is an important thing to remember when trying to engage people with your policy, campaign, event or service. A single digital solution will put off as many people as it attracts.
Planning a digital engagement exercise needs to include consideration of each different audience, what their needs are, and what they are able to offer.
For those that just want to know more, try a clear English version of your policy to help people understand what you are trying to do.
For those who would like to be involved but perhaps don’t have the expertise to contribute in a major way, provide some kind of interactive quiz or exercise to allow them to give their overall view without getting bogged down in detail.
Then, for those with deep knowledge of the policy area you are engaging with, provide easy ways for them to be able to share that knowledge and their views – through a nice survey or commendable document, say.
The important thing is to do the research and planning to begin with – who will have a view on this? What will they want to do? How much understanding do they have?
Once you’ve done this, it ought to be much easier to design engaging tools to help make it happen.