Government agencies are conducting more consultations and dialogues with stakeholders and the public, and using the feedback and suggestions in policymaking, sometimes even co-creating solutions together.
This consultative process is better than the top-down approach, though it is getting more difficult as issues become more dynamic and complex, and stakeholders and the public become more diverse and distracted.
The current way of tackling issues can and need to be better refined and improved. Here are 3 recommendations to improve the consultation and co-creation process:
1) Allow stakeholders to understand the issue fully
Government agencies usually control the info around an issue (or flow of the info). Agencies speak to different stakeholders separately, without sharing info across stakeholders. Agencies have reasons for tackling or not tackling certain policies around an issue, which is usually not shared with stakeholders.
In addition, civic groups and businesses speak to each other and the government separately, without sharing info across the 3P (Public, Private, People) sectors.
As a result, sometimes the 3P sectors don’t fully understand the issue, ending up with duplication of info, uncoordinated efforts, and tackling symptoms of the problem and not the root.
So we need a structured effort to identify the relevant stakeholders of an issue; document and share info, questions and answers; and make it available to all the stakeholders. This allows everyone to be on the same page and understand the issue fully.
2) Get stakeholders to identify solutions and agree on who needs to do what
After understanding the issue, all relevant stakeholders should be on the same table to identify solutions.
Everyone must agree on who needs to do what; who is prepared or best suited to tackle what and when; and set specific, measurable, and relevant targets and milestones.
3) Provide resources for stakeholders to take action
After agreeing on the solutions, the government (or key stakeholders) has to lead and provide resources to make it easier for the other stakeholders to take action.
Resources could include providing contacts, connecting people, providing office and meeting spaces for groups to work together, funding or matchmaking corporate sponsors with groups.