Designing Better
Engagements

Whether you’re seeking to broadcast a message or facilitate deep collaboration, thoughtful design is what will make the difference to both the experience and the outcomes. We provide a practical approach for you to design better engagements.

Before pulling the trigger

on any engagement there are

three principles the convener

should seek clarity on

1

Importance

Focusing on things of adequate importance will increase commitment and action. Gain clarity on why this is important and why now? If not now, then when?
2

Motivation

Connecting to intrinsic motivation of those who need to be involved will both test 'importance' and assist with participation. Why should others give this their increasingly limited attention?
3

Perspective

Bringing diversity of perspective to the forefront of design is critical to the quality of your outcome. How do you need at the table to bring diversity into your design process?

Four types of Engagement.

We think of engagement in four types which build on each other and can be considered as engagements with increasing levels of participation. While these may sometimes seem like discreet activities that could occur in isolation we believe they should be seen as a pathway to progress toward action.

Tell

‘Tell’ is the communications component of our engagements and while some engagements focus solely on this, it's a critical component of every engagement.

Ask

We ‘ask’ for input from others for many reasons across the life of an engagement, whether it’s early input to a project or feedback on options for implementation.

Discuss

‘Discuss’ takes our engagement into active dialogue which aids the development of understanding across perspectives along with exploration of new ideas.

Decide

‘Decide’ is the act of removing options and committing to a direction such as commitment to an overarching strategy, implementation of a new practice.

Design Together

One of the most powerful mechanisms for great design is a well selected design team. The design team takes collective responsibility for setting up the engagement to be successful and should bring a representative voice across the range of perspectives involved in the engagement itself.

Scoping Your Engagement

You’ve thought about the first principles in relation to your engagement and assembled your Design Team, now it’s time to build out a clear scope for your engagement.

A good scope will frame the boundaries for your engagement, the objectives you are seeking to achieve and any clear rules of engagement, we call these rules ‘givens’. When set up well, the scope, objectives and givens create clear expectations and boundaries which allow a group of participants to focus where they need to.

Designing The Experience

This is where the fun really starts. To design an experience for your engagement that considers all of the elements of your scope – including, what needs to be understood, what will be difficult and what needs to be achieved – we use the three frames of Scan, Focus, and Act as a powerful model for structuring and sequencing of activities.

Facilitation

Time to make the magic happen. Effective facilitation can make or break an engagement so let’s make sure you’re set up to lead your audience through a seamless and impactful process.

The central role of a facilitator is to make it easier for people to achieve something. This requires the ability to not only guide a process but to navigate the social dynamics and respond to unexpected situations.