Fostering meaningful engagement

Following the launch of our research report ‘Fostering meaningful engagement’, we held an event to bring people together to discuss and explore some of the emerging thoughts and themes.


We began by looking at the findings, noting what we agreed or disagreed with and jotting down new ideas and insights.

Groups then shared examples of powerful engagement, revealing moving, inspiring and fun-filled stories.

Energised by new ideas and possibilities, we then started to think about our own work and the steps we can take to transform what we do.

And how we think about evaluation in a meaningful way. We looked at ‘realistic evaluation’ using ideas about context, mechanism, outcomes: see Realistic Evaluation

An amazing day. We went in nervous, but excited and interested. We came out inspired, energised and proud.

And we agreed to share ideas and resources – for which a new page has been added: ‘Stop and think’.

These are the comments made at the end of the day:

–  I have liked the idea of working in a fashion that acknowledges the difference in the community, instead of lumping people together. Encouraging them to work with each other.

– In terms of my journey, I don’t talk to people I don’t connect with. I walked in and didn’t know anybody, didn’t  want to talk. Now it feels a totally different space, I have  talked lots. We have found that mix that makes the cocktail. My word when I arrived was ‘enthusiastic’ and now the end of the day it’s ‘excited’!

–  Today has been good to get away from the everyday world and I have stuff to take back to the ranch, so much wealth of information from today. I would love to get more involved with all of you.

–  The room really does feel like more than the sum of the parts. I wonder if there is a way of capturing the amazing stories and experience in this room for a wider audience.

–  It’s been a powerful event. The shared human experience that makes us do what we do. Amazon PR is all about the qualitative, telling stories. If we can help tell the stories that would be lovely.

–  One thing that today has done is remind me how important it is to be creative in how you approach things. I heard about how in Sheffield for example, people really remembered  things they had been involved in. I’ve been in and out of participative work for a long time and to be honest you can get quite worn out by it. Today has reminded me that people do share the same values. It’s really been something to remember and savour.

–  To be honest I’m feeling very confused but in a good way, you don’t often get the chance to just wonder, wonder about what to do next, so it’s confused in a good way!

–  I’ve got 4 Points to make:
The atunement that Belinda did makes me feel emotional,  it was brilliant
Screw engagement –  it’s all about coproduction. There is a process to coproduction and it’s about a network.
The CMO (context,method,outcomes)  model is very fine-grained, it repeats at every level, at a cellular level and at a strategic level –  it’s the same as storytelling.
You are all lovely!

–  Came today to see what people are doing, I really enjoyed the stories. At the beginning of the day my word was ‘curious’ and now at the end it’s ‘excited’. What will develop, especially in the voluntary sector?

–  If you look at the words at the beginning of the day and at the end there are more positive, active words at the end of the day. The selection of words came from the positive attitude survey. Looking at what you can do and not what you can’t do. We got into words and it’s interesting picking words. What are the  next steps?

–  I was excited on arrival, I’ve been doing service users stuff for 10 years but I’m an introvert I find it quite hard to talk. So it’s been nice to have someone organising some thing, when we seem to have come so far in a day. It would be lovely to carry it on.

–  Alakazam! Well somebody had to say it. I have learnt a lot, at the beginning of the day my word was ‘excited’ and at the end it’s ‘confused’ now.  I like the reflective practice with your eyes closed,  I often think it’s a lonely world in an organisation.  The word for next week is ‘coproduction’.

–  My word at the beginning of the day was ‘fear’, fear of the unknown. I quite often get a bit frustrated at work because people don’t listen. It’s been good to think about it and do what we are meant to be doing, the fog is slipping away. Now my word is ‘creative’.

–  I really enjoyed today with you guys. My word at the beginning was  ‘expectant’ and now at the end it’s ‘inspired’.  I really enjoyed sharing experiences, there is lots to reflect on and take back to my work.  I love that it was arranged by the Participation Agency and all day has been participative.

–  My word is ‘revolution’. I’m at a new point,  I think we can start one.  I was at a  youth conference last week and we wanted to start a revolution but we are not strong enough about telling stories so we started a Twitter hashtag, #MakeYouthWorkCount. The place where you can post photos, say what you’re doing and say how you’ve changed this young person’s life.

–  We might not have a PR team in our organisation but we can start our own PR.

–  I am very thoughtful and enthusiastic….. We are a small charity in a state  of chaos, we are changing, just doubled our staff in the last week (from 2-4! ). The CMO really will be engrained. Thank you.

–  My word at the beginning of the day was ‘curious’ and now it’s ‘determined’. It’s come  from an amazing day, where everybody has had a contribution to make. The way the day was set up has enabled it. Every contact has been about coproduction – sometimes the pace of change is frustrating. We need a Twitter movement #CriticalMassForParticipation!

– I watched the talking stick being passed around, it looked like a snake going around! It’s been a day full of people’s wisdom. At the beginning of the day my word was ‘attentive’ and now at the end it’s ‘happy’. I think there are opportunities for this group to co-produce something. We want to be participants to really coproduce.

–  It’s been great and I’m really sad that I wasn’t here this morning. Often the events I go to are rubbish, but as I arrived in the room I was struck by the warmth, energy and laughter. It’s great to come into the room like that.  When I arrive my word was ‘rushed’ and now at the end of the day it’s ‘hopeful’. It’s nice to be with a group who really like each other and are supportive.

–  We have all had a really important experience of being involved.

–  I have been involved in participation things for a long time and sometimes it gets hard.  I was inspired by Fred Hinckley, he says  “he who starts the revolution and takes it half way digs his own  is grave”… So we need to take it all the way!

One comment

  1. Hi every one great day , have a look at Chrisp street on air here

    have a mooch around the site , the archive section has the two this is the karaoke one , scroll down though pictures until you get the the boxing one

    Thanks for all that you all gave yesterday I feel reenergised

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