Exploring the problem

From E-Consultation Guide
Jump to: navigation, search

Given an agreed problem definition, participants can then start to explore the problem. They need the ability to see to heart of problem based on deep understanding of situation. As a group they can explore new ideas, develop new solutions, understand issues, disentangle ideas and so on.

A common complaint about consultation documents is that there is no discussion. For that reason, consultations often include some spaces for conversation or dialogue. E.g. public meetings, focus groups, consultative committees or citizen's juries. There are many electronic communication technologies that support discussions between people who are not necessarily all in the same room, or even present at the same time.

This is a graph with borders and nodes that may contain hyperlinks.
About this image

Getting reactions, feelings, new ideas

To get spontaneity, people need to interact in real time, in face-to-face encounters, video or audio conferences, chat rooms and elsewhere.

Deliberation, dialogue and conversations

For more subtle, and less rushed deliberation, arrange ongoing discussions, rather than quick chats. Any technology that facilitates a relay of responses or conversations can be used. Dialogue can be public—in an open environment with multiple participants—or private—between two users. Many discussion forums include both, allowing participants to converse with each other outside the general discussion.

Mapping ideas

This is a longer, more structured, process. Consultation participants work together to explore the ramifications of a problem, and plan alternative solutions (e.g. in a citizens' jury). Technologies supporting this task may facilitate alternate stages of creative brainstorming and organising the ideas produced. Computer technologies can help in keeping track of these ideas, generating a map participants can see. With the map, they no longer need to keep on repeating the same point, again and again, like a politician being interviewed on the radio.