Government EMRC Council Uses Innovative Approach for Solutions Based Workshop

Collaborating with four local government authorities, the Eastern Metropolitan Regional Council sought public feedback to brainstorm ideas around 15 themes using innovative technology including visualisation tools and group response systems at their inaugural solutions driven workshop-Business Insights.

EMRC Chief Executive Officer Peter Schneider said that EMRC is committed to innovation and continuous improvement. “Engaging with our key stakeholders through this workshop is an ideal opportunity to demonstrate that commitment,” said Mr Schneider.

 

The concept of seeking public feedback into government policy is not new, but the approach meant that more voices could be heard, discussed and documented, supported by evidence from the hands of the participants who could vote and comment on other ideas.

 

Over 300 responses were then grouped to reveal the top 15 key issues.

A live workshop to allow networking, discussion, and debate are then being facilitated, with delegate responses being captured and revealed in real-time using GroupMap, a collaborative online brainstorming tool. Key themes include business development, technology, human resources, and government regulations. Delegates will be invited to pair up, find their topic of key interest, and then brainstorm solutions. Using a web-based application and i-pads means that delegates can circulate around the room with ease, adding value along the way.
“It’s important for everyone to have their say, and that all ideas have equal air time.” says Jeremy Lu, Co-founder of GroupMap. “Ideas are shared in turn which aims to inspire more creative and shared problem-solving.” Delegates will have the opportunity to stand side by side with local government representatives from each of the local authorities, as well as with the regional council. “Through employing the use of GroupMap, EMRC hopes to encourage greater involvement by the business community and heighten the engagement experience,” said Mr. Schneider. The results of the brainstorming workshop will be shared with Economic Development officers to drive decision thinking and for project and initiative planning.

The Business Insights Workshop is an EMRC project in conjunction with four of its member Councils, the Town of Bassendean, City of Bayswater, City of Belmont, and City of Swan. Together, the Councils will host the workshop aimed at understanding the major challenges that SME’s are currently facing in the region and collaboratively discuss how these challenges can be overcome.

Community engagement to brainstorm a Science Centre

The mission of the Rockville Science Centre is to inspire a lifelong passion to explore science, cultivate a sense of inquiry, and promote how science impacts everyday life. Following a feasibility study, the Centre was awarded a grant to develop the science centre.  On March 31, they announced the community engagement initiative to gather input have hosted a series of brainstorm sessions to involve the members of the community in planning the new facility. Using the tag line ” Imagine Our Future”, the events connected businesses, citizens, scientists and Zumba enthusiasts to generate ideas to conceptualize Rockville Science Centre 2.0.
Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said “Every year we get a little bit closer to an actual brick-and-mortar building which I think is exactly what we need. All along the way every year, the Science Center has gotten stronger and more engaged and bigger in terms of the people you are bringing in and the activities that you are providing. It’s a huge asset to the City of Rockville and to the County at large.” “When we have a facility, we want you to say, ‘Yeah, I worked on that idea’, because then we will have reached our goals.”
Tracy Dovea key driver of this initiative wrote in this article –  

“RSC does not want to recreate the “don’t touch” model of learning. The RSC will have a didactic – even Socratic – method of teaching and learning based on what the community has been able to input. This would be a centre of continuous learning with the goal of reinventing its content on a regular basis.”

RSC needs the community to build on these ideas to create the Center. Attendees will go beyond whiteboards and sticky notes by using the cutting-edge GroupMap software to collect ideas. 

There will be several tables – each one with a different topic. Participants will be encouraged to pick a table – or start their own! The Big Board up front will display in real time what each table is doing as the community puts together the 0’s and 1’s of the Center. ” said Tracey Dove.

Members of the public including scientists, doctors, entrepreneurs, researchers, teachers, parents, and children were invited to attend a series of brainstorming sessions to share ideas.  In fact, their official line reaches out to teachers, parents, children, accountants architects, zoologists, and Zumba enthusiasts! Participants were asked to pick a topic which included:
  • Facility
  • Outreach
  • Finance
  • Human Resources
  • Content and
  • Programs
Ideas are captured in real-time and displayed on the board at the front of the room.  Following discussions these ideas were then translated into the development of the overall business plan, creating the vision for launching the vibrant science facility to connect with the community in the region. This form of strategy means that community engagement is both transparent, efficient, and in real-time – perfect for any resource-constrained organisation seeking to maximise its productivity.

Jeremy Lu (Co-Founder) and School Business Manager for Science at Curtin University said, “We are delighted that GroupMap technology has such a positive impact in the community especially promoting science awareness and education.”

Programs conducted by the Centre include Science Cafes sessions at a local restaurant, a robotics program including the FIRST Tech Challenge to develop and test robots in challenges, exploration trips off the beaten track, as well as their camps and fairs that bring the community together.

The Rockville Science Center is just one great example of how online brainstorming tools can be used to solve problems and execute on a community engagement strategy to work towards common goals.   You can see their full article on Communities and Education and if you would like further information,  please contact Tracy Dove: RSC2.0@rockvillesciencecenter.org

(Images Courtesy of Rockville Science Centre)

How We Got 160 People to Brainstorm on GroupMap.

When GroupMap was invited by digital creative festival organisers to take our online brainstorming tool out of meeting rooms and classrooms to the general public, we needed a fun, eye-catching way to get people’s attention.

The goal was to get people’s ideas about what would make a city more innovative.

Festival folk joined in on the day or online giving us their responses. Everything from changes to transport systems and single owner housing offices through to spaceports and community-driven designs was thrown in.

We ended up with over 160 ideas and even a thank you letter from the city’s CEO. Sweet. We also managed to collect creativity tips from industry professionals about what makes them more creative.

 

GroupMap Testimonial – City of Perth