The study group embarked on a statewide effort engage the public in consideration of potential of non-commercial marine fishing registry, permit, or license systems for Hawai‘i. On their own, the RPL Group designed an approach but encountered challenges.
“Eco-Juju” (Miranda Foley of EcoLOGIC Consulting, and Cynthia Y.H. Derosier of The Good Juju Co.) was hired to develop and implement a new approach that would effectively engage the public in collaborative sessions to provide meaningful strategic guidance to government agencies and policy makers.
Together Eco-Juju designed a process and tools to inform the community about the complex issue in a clear and concise manner, offer opportunities to get answers to deeper questions and created a safe open space for relevant input from all attendees.
Policy making can be complicated and tensions often run high.
The RPL Study Group was a neutral coalition of diverse groups who united to explore the various systems and their potential impacts. They wanted share their report findings and encourage public input so government agencies could be better equipped to make decisions.
Initial outreach efforts showed a general distrust and lack of understanding among the general community.
Shifting from testimony to two-way dialogue ~ A process based on the idea that information is power.
Positioning the meetings as a “information exchanges” enabled provided a safe, neutral space for attendees to share information with each other get answers to critical questions. Armed with common knowledge they were able to provide input that was relevant and more impactful.
Breaking the divide and eliminating grandstanding.
Rooms and processes were designed to eliminate formal divides between officials, presenters and attendees. Tools were provided to encourage dialogue among participants and enabled them to document their ideas directly and in their own words. These documents were submitted as part of the report to officials and were also made available to the public.
A new model for “Public Meetings”
At every event, participants were pleased with this new approach to “public meetings” and requested more information sharing and collaborative experiences at future events.
In addition, policy makers and diverse groups were able to make connections, strengthen their networks, improve communications and began to find common ground.