Public Agenda

Bringing people together to solve problems is powerful -- but difficult. We can help.

What's the best way to increase the success of community college students? How should we, as a nation, approach end-of-life care? How can we keep our neighborhoods safe? How do we fix public meetings that are tense, frustrating, and wasteful – and that make citizens less trusting of government?

Many of the problems we face, like these, require creative thinking, collective judgment and broad collaboration. But this is easier said than done. Let us help.

How We Can Help

Whether you are at the beginning of a decision-making process, in the middle of implementing reform, or trying to continuously provide insight and guidance through various phases of change, our services can help you develop useful policies and practices that stick.

Our services include:

Research

The first step in making progress on divisive issues is understanding people’s starting point, and the barriers against and opportunities for common ground and solutions. We provide a deep analysis of diverse stakeholder attitudes through:

  • Surveys that uncover not just what people think, but why they think what they do
  • Focus groups interviews and case studies that delve deeper
  • Innovative Learning Curve Research that examines how people's attitudes evolve as they engage on complex issues and weigh trade-offs

Engagement

Building on our research, we provide insights and tools that minimize conflict, transform unworkable processes and engage stakeholders in effective problem solving. We help you understand your engagement strengths and weaknesses, and develop strategies for long-term success, tailored to your needs.

Click here to read about our specific offerings for local officials looking to boost or deepen public engagement efforts.

For immediate engagement challenges, we can help you:

  • Bring together a diverse critical mass of people
  • Handle tensions and conflicts
  • Frame issues for productive dialogue
  • Run better public meetings
  • Form relationships and networks that will make good engagement easier to sustain

For long-term engagement success, we can help you:

  • Assess how public engagement is working in your organization and community, using both qualitative and quantitative data
  • Engage citizens, stakeholders and community groups in a meaningful discussion of what kinds of engagement opportunities they want and how they can help support those activities
  • Help you partner with other organizations to make engagement more appealing, cost-effective and powerful
  • Decide how to use both online and face-to-face engagement as part of a coordinated, complementary approach
  • Develop a long-term public engagement plan that works for your organization, reflects what citizens want, and builds in support from the public, private, non-profit and philanthropic sectors

We also work with a range of partners to tap into the power of:

  • Tech-based engagement
  • Serious games
  • Engagement ordinances and bylaws
  • Engagement commissions and advisory boards
  • Participatory budgeting

Who We Can Help

Our proven approaches are suitable for decision makers and stakeholders at multiple levels, from state policymakers to grassroots leaders, teachers to school board members, college presidents to students, mayors to community-based organizations and local businesses.

Past clients include:

  • Montgomery County Community College
  • Oklahoma Business and Education Coalition
  • Ohio Business Roundtable
  • Tennessee Higher Education Commission
  • The League for Innovations
  • Guilford Technical Community College
  • Indiana Commission for Higher Education
  • Montana's Office of the Commissioner of Higher Education
  • City of Edmonton, Canada
  • Hope Street Group
  • FOCUS St. Louis
  • Hopelink
  • The National Center for Literacy Education
  • National Council for the Social Studies
  • National Council of Teachers of English
  • Kettering Foundation
  • The Spencer Foundation
  • The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Tell Me More

Wondering if we can help you? Contact us today.