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Build lasting relationships

Building lasting relationships requires open mindedness, transparency, and clear negotiation of roles.

Our community outreach efforts connected us to organizations and groups in Toronto who were interested in running embedded co-design activities but had reservations about our initiative. Some organizations expressed concern regarding the privacy of their members if they were to participate and share personal information with us. Others wondered what sort of impact their involvement would have on the project and their community.

To address these concerns, our team provided detailed information regarding privacy and ownership of contributions, and details about participant roles, expectations, and commitments. We clearly communicated our capacities and limitations with regards to budget and resources, and offered assistance and support whenever possible (e.g. providing refreshments, meeting space, supplies). We also shared activities from previous events, and encouraged interested groups to participate in the development of new topics and activities, which also helped build stronger relationships.

We reassured our partners that we would use all our means to minimize any additional effort on their end and would provide assistance with the planning, execution and facilitation of the activities at any point. Clearly communicating with our partners that we are committed to building long term relationships with their community allowed us to look beyond the current project and envision the opportunities made possible through our collaboration. Sending the final reports to our participants and partners, communicating how their input will impact the Sidewalk project, and encouraging them to contribute to this co-design resource are several examples of how we have tried to strengthen our relationship with the community.