‘Digital Community Engagement in Australia’ final report – ArneTech

As one of the winning projects from IAP2 Australasia’s first participatory budgeting process ‘Pitch for Practice’ ArneTech has been conducting research into digital community engagement in Australia as part of the grant funding for projects that will benefit all community engagement practitioners, particularly IAP2 members in Australasia. ArneTech are proud to announce that the research report is now finalise.

Today’s digital engagement practice can largely be characterised by the presence of an online survey, online submissions and more commonly a dedicated engagement portal or website. The tools are recognised for their cost effectiveness and potential to reach a broader audience in a short space of time.

Shifts in technology are starting to have an impact on tool selection. For example, the use of augmented reality in urban planning projects, mobile apps that target audiences and ask for feedback based on their location. Or, as one example this report illustrates, using virtual reality and gamification to build capacity (in this case, of young people).

Tool selection is only one part of the picture. Many organisations are facing fundamental barriers to engagement (whether this be offline or online) and this has an impact on how they engage online. As the report shows, the more risk averse organisations, particularly governments, tend to stick with what they know (the online survey) as they believe this tool enables a fair and equitable process whilst remaining relatively low risk. Others may lack leadership support, which can impact the capacity of employees to be able to plan and deliver projects that involve more two- or three-way digital engagement tools.

Addressing the external barriers: the digital divide, dealing with culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) communities, the young, older people, all bring additional challenges that can’t be addressed with digital tools used in isolation. However, as this report highlights, some practitioners are discovering ways in which online tools can be used to address the digital divide, and, when integrated with a program of effective offline activities, deliver a successful engagement that builds and strengthens relationships.

The research report identifies and provides key insights around the following key themes:

  • What influences tool selection?
  • Evaluation and managing data
  • Organisational culture
  • Integration of offline and digital methods
  • Person-centered approach
  • Engaging hard to reach groups

Read the full report here.

They will be hosting events in Sydney, Melbourne and online to inform community engagement practitioners about the results.

The Melbourne and Sydney events will be combined with ArneTech Health Check Information session, with Penny Jordan from Bayside City Council presenting their experiences at the Melbourne event.

Melbourne World Trade Centre:
611Flinders Street
Thursday 30 May 2019 at 2.30pm
Adelaide ETC Adelaide:
38 Gawler Place
Wednesday 19 June 2019 at 3.00pm
Webinar   Wednesday 26 June 2019 at 11.00am
Sydney Compass Offices:
9 Castlereagh Street
Wednesday 18 September 2019 at 11.00am

The events are FREE to attend but registrations are required at: www.arnetech.com.au/events