Client: City of Launceston (Tasmania, Australia)
Project: Tomorrow Together, A well-designed City
The City of Launceston recently launched a new engagement campaign titled ‘Tomorrow Together’ and is taking a theme-based approach to engage with their community. Rather than asking for feedback on each individual project, they are currently asking people up-front “what is most important” and inviting them to work with council on the solutions.
Using six overarching themes, the city is undertaking broad community engagement so that they can work together with the community, businesses and industry to tackle the big challenges facing Launceston.
What We Love Most:
There is a lot to love about this new direction and how council is taking a long-term and strategic approach to community engagement. Here are the five reasons I choose this project/site as my staff pick.
1. It’s holistic – Rather than the usual way of engaging on a project-by-project basis, the council has decided to take a holistic approach and engage at a much higher level. This raises the conversation to what people care about and value the most. In turn, it will help ensure council is focussing on the most important things. Whilst some discrete projects still require engagement, they are now linked to a theme, demonstrating how each project supports one (or more) of the six themes.
2. A strong call to action – the brand itself, ‘Tomorrow Together’, has an implicit call to action about working together. To me, this signifies a shift from the attitude of ‘we know best’ to, ‘let’s work together. In addition, each of the six themes has its own project page, and a specific call to action to get involved. For example, theme #2, ‘a well-designed city’, allows people to share their thoughts via a survey or interactive mapping tool and proactively invites people to get involved.
3. It has a cool brand – Well, it looks sexy and I really love it. What I like most is that it works well as an overarching brand and call to action, but also as six individual components. Each theme has a respective image and colour, that, when put together, creates a picture of an entire city. Individually used, however, the icons work well to demonstrate that they are connected to the big challenges facing Launceston.
4. A staged approach – The idea of focussing on one theme at a time, is a smart way to build momentum and bring more people into the conversation over time. This provides an excellent opportunity to ‘close the loop’ after each stage and then invite people back to discuss and deliberate on the other themes. Taking a staged approach means council can also learn from each stage and adapt/adjust future engagements based on what worked well and the type of feedback they received.
5. Trying something different – It’s often hard and scary to try something different, especially when your Council and community are used to you doing things a certain way. Take a look at how Launceston have set up their EHQ homepage. It’s refreshing to see a new approach to grouping and categorising engagement projects. I will be watching with interest to see if this new approach will increase engagement rates and cement community partnerships to work together.