Monday, August 24, 2009

The power of the world's best question

Steph Twaddle, Community Relations Officer at Environment Bay of Plenty writes:

"I was in Sydney on the weekend and saw huge flags on Darling Harbour and newspaper ads proclaiming: What would you like to change?

"There was no branding for any government agency or business so I checked out Price Water House Coopers are gaining huge amounts of community input on a huge range of issues, from all sorts of people. It’s worth a quick look."

"What would you like to change?" - That's a question you hardly ever hear from government...and PWC is getting flooded with answers, about everything!

It's hardly connected to a credible change strategy, I mean, they're an accountancy firm for heaven's sake...but it just goes to show people's hunger for being asked a really great question!

I wonder what government agencies and councils would learn if they stopped worrying about what they might hear and let rip with some really strategic questions?

Facilitating a community consultation for Warringah Council in the last couple of months, we got to pose some big strategic questions to workshops of randomly recruited residents, like: "If more money was available in the council budget, how would you spend it on?" and "If there was less money, what would you cut?" and "What should council be doing that it's not doing now?" The results were surprising, affirming, and useful, since they are exactly the same questions that councillors themselves must struggle with.

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