The Federation of Canadian Municipalities (FCM) aims to educate and empower municipalities across the country with sustainable concepts and processes for the management of municipal and regional assets. Currently, this is a dire issue that is not yet understood by asset managers or by municipal administrations. The issue is complex and dry to most and we needed to make engagement purposeful, educational and engaging. In addition, FCM wanted municipalities to share information. It would be necessary for them to gain trust with one another.
The FCM brought managers from across the country to Ottawa for a two day workshop. This would be followed by six webinars to take place over a period of a year. Not all managers were able to attend therefore we needed to be able to use language that could be understood by those whose expertise was in governance or policy.
Municipal asset managers, regional and municipal staff
iD2 was contracted by asset expert Kim Fowler (Sustainability Makes Cents Consulting) to create a structure that would engage. Before attendees arrived we asked them to define their level of commitment to date and their level of understanding of sustainable asset management processes.
We discovered that few had made commitments to constituents or had experience. It was important to build familiarity and trust so despite the “academic” leaning of most attendees and contrary to the client’s intuition, we lightened up the group with icebreakers to encourage engagement. As we learned more about attendees we adapted plans to ensure smaller municipalities could share stories and experiences, while larger municipalities could share some successes and failures. We constantly changed tactics to keep attention. We used a combination of tactile, auditory and visual tools to keep interest.
Evaluation from attendees of the session was extremely positive. Although the client originally didn’t think that we could succeed with “lightening up” the group, we demonstrated that outcomes could be improved by eliminating the assumption that asset managers and city staff were academics and wouldn’t have a lighter side. iD2 continues to provide advice for webinar engagement as required.
Sustainable Asset Management Expert: Kim Fowler
Communication and Engagement Strategy/Facilitation/Creative Direction: Valerie Elliott
Art Direction, Design and Production: Stephan Jacob