Sharing knowledge and ideas to create real influence

• Projects

What is the point of a good idea, if the idea is not shared? At Creating Communities, we aim to capture opportunities to move communities forward, equipping people and organisations with the skills, thinking and ideas to navigate today’s profound challenges.

We do not keep these ideas to ourselves because we know real influence cannot be gained without sharing knowledge with others and educating like-minded individuals.

Resistance to change is normal, particularly when it's in our back yard. This is particularly true of debate around urban infill where there is understandable resistance and opportunities to deliver benefits to many in the community.

Effective community engagement approaches seek to ensure that the voices of all are heard and that broader community aspirations are reflected in development proposals.

Our engagement approach always starts with building a deep understanding of the community, this highlights opportunities and risks early in projects. We then provide opportunities for the broadest possible range of people to contribute and collectively discover new pathways to leverage benefits for individuals, community groups, developers and others.

Through this approach social capital, greater amenity and economic benefits are created, positively impacting communities for generations.

Creating Communities Director, Andrew Watt was invited to share his ideas and decades of experience with the Planning Institute of Australia, where he led a Planet WA workshop, teaching others about the importance of taking the community on the development journey and how to do it.

“Community engagement is so valuable in the planning journey,” he said.

 Effective engagement strategies inform good decision making. It helps developers understand the community and helps communities have input to ensure development proposals reflect their needs and aspirations. 

— Andrew Watt

“Engaging with the community to ensure that the input and feedback is representative of the community also allows those in development to identify the risks at the very start, instead of asking for forgiveness down the track.”

The full day, interactive workshop was attended by around 35 Western Australian professionals from the Local Government sector, consultancies, government, universities and the development industry.

“Sharing my experiences and knowledge with people who are interested and passionate about good planning, means contributing to the wider industry as a whole, influencing the impact on Western Australian communities,” Andrew said.

PIA marketing and communications officer Dean Webster said attendees found the course interactive and informative.

“People said how much they enjoyed the efforts to include everyone and give everyone a voice,” he said.

“The whole group participated and shared their own ideas and experiences, which was a fantastic opportunity to knowledge share.”

He said the course gave a comprehensive overview of stakeholder engagement tools and techniques, allowing participants to draw on their own experiences and Andrew’s expertise.

“Knowledge sharing brings groups together and also paves way for brainstorming new ideas,” he said.

“Sharing best practice with fellow planners enables them gain valuable knowledge which can be directly applied in the workplace for the benefit of a shared objective – creating communities.”