Where to organise societal engagement?
and particularities can shape social capital, modes of interaction and level of formality, affecting the effectiveness of the chosen method. The cultural context delimits what is possible in a societal engagement process, and it is therefore important to consider this when planning your approach and activities.
Choosing between a virtual or physical space shapes the way that activities are developed and how participation is formatted. Digital platforms such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams allow to involve a larger number of (international) participants, but at the same time these platforms are characterised by their limited interaction possibilities. In addition, events on virtual platforms are usually reduced in time to not cause ‘zoom fatigue’.
Choosing a suitable place (location and space) for hosting societal engagement activities is important and can affect the outcome. The right space can create a climate of trust, empathy, and collaboration.
- It is good if the room has daylight, with the possibility of darkening out the space if a projector or large screen is required. It is good to provide as much daylight as possible to keep participants energised.
- Make sure to provide enough fresh air during longer events and to keep the temperature comfortable.
- The space should be neutral, without political or business connotations, so that all participants feel included and accepted.
- Ideally there is no background noise and there is a good acoustic for discussions to take place at plenary level, in groups and amongst individuals without any disturbance
- The room should be able to accommodate all participants comfortably.
- The room should allow modularity so that tables and chairs can be moved.
- The space should allow for group work and plenary sessions, and have enough room to stand, walk around and mingle.
- The perfect space provides a sense of cosiness, where people feel at easy and can be themselves.
The Tech Industry’s Guide has been created as part of the EU-funded SocKETs project, which aims to align innovative technologies with citizens’ needs and values through societal engagement. This 3-year project is coordinated by the Danish Board of Technology with partners from six countries.
This guide and its contents reflect only their authors’ view. The Research Executive Agency and the European Commission are not responsible for any use that may be made of the information contained herein.
The SocKETs project (Societal Engagement with Key Enabling Technologies) has received funding from the European Union´s Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation under grant agreement no.958277.
Choosing the location
Make a list of potential locations and check for each space if it has the following features:
❑ The location is easy to reach by public transport.
❑ The space is neutral.
❑ The room has windows for daylight and fresh air.
❑ It is possible to dark out the space.
❑ There is a projector and large screen.
❑ The space is large enough.
❑ The furniture is modular.
❑ The space feels cosy and comfortable
To answer the following questions about your company’s current practice on engaging with citizens, please open the PDF Guidebook on p. 8 or use the direct link below.
- To what extent are citizens already being engaged in your company’s processes?
- What kind of citizens do you involve?
- How are these citizens engaged?
- What is the purpose of these interactions?
- What are the (interpersonal/professional) skills and expertise that your company already has to facilitate societal engagement?