Actively listening to the public's views, concerns and insights
Another purpose that engagement can serve is to 'receive' information. There are a number of methods and techniques which can be used to elicit insights and expertise from the public to inform the university's work, where the explicit focus is on maximising the quality of feedback and involvement from the public, and the listening and reflection from the university staff involved.
The kinds of activities commonly involved include:
- Public meetings and discussion events
- Panels and user groups
- Online consultation
- Deliberation and 'upstream' engagement
With these kinds of approaches a common criticism is that they can be conducted in a tokenistic way – for instance when minds have already been made up; or when there is little prospect of the public's views actually influencing the university's work. However, when appropriately applied, these types of activity can have a profound influence on your work.