Multiple engagement channels
The public should be involved in a co-design process through various communication means to generate a greater pool of participants. Communicating with each person through their prefered channel (e.g. phone conversations, emails, direct messages, social media, referrals from personal networks, etc.) provides an opportunity for open communication and collaboration with different groups in the community and leads to ongoing conversation on topics of interest.
It is also beneficial to incorporate low tech and more in-person techniques to engage the larger community as some individuals may not have access to the internet (e.g. the homeless population, older adults, young children, etc.). This can be done by capitalizing on previous partnerships developed in the community, and also using more public platforms to promote co-design events (e.g. information sessions, brochures, booths at hospitals, local malls, libraries, streets, etc.).
Lastly, more research should be done to find different channels of communication used by racial minorities (e.g. Indigenous, Blacks, Asians, etc.) that are often missing from conversations regarding major social issues. These different channels should be used to recruit more culturally and socioeconomically diverse groups of people.
- Build a public and open platform to describe the project, its goals and how the community can participate and contribute to the project. Depending on your team’s skills and resources this platform can take any level of complexity, such as websites, blogs, social networks (twitter, facebook, instagram, etc.), and mailing lists.
- Depending on the size of your organization and available resources create various communication channels to engage the community and share your progress.
- Provide a point of contact, an email address, a phone number, and information session about the project if possible.
- Include a consistent contact information when promoting an event.
- It might be useful to have a shared email for the event/project depending on scope so all planning team members have access and are kept in the loop. A shared email will enable ongoing conversation, ensure prompt responses, and distribute the responsibility among all organizing members.