Feasible. It’s a pragmatic word, practical and unassuming. Aspiring to feasibility is to reach for concrete ground ahead rather than for the stars. Aiming for feasibility is not an audacious goal. But 140 feedback champions who work in aid, governance and philanthropy rallied around feasibility at the 2016 Feedback Summit held last Thursday and Friday in Washington, DC.
Ecosystem Op-Ed blog posts present creative new ideas and visions for the feedback field. They weave together evidence, theory, and lessons learned by the feedback community to discuss current issues in a thoughtful and accessible way. If you would like to suggest a topic for an op-ed or write a guest piece, please reach out to us at [email protected]
When people ask about the vision of Insights.US – I can hardly describe it in one sentence. I could start with a sentence like: Inclusive decision making is about integrating stakeholder knowledge into the decision making of an organization. People get this – but the vision is deeper.
Lack of civic engagement is a source of fragility and the potential demise of any democracy. Many governments and organizations have tried to solve this problem by pumping more information and more data at citizens in the name of transparency and engagement. What the government expects in return is feedback and engagement from citizens. But what if that doesn’t work?
In our last op-ed, we argued that voting can put powerful bounds on politicians behavior. But under what circumstances does that happen? It seems to me it’s when there’s a multitude of conversations – not just between voters and politicians, but between and within experts, institutions and media as well.
The potential for new technologies to bolster feedback loops is game-changing. Over the past two decades, a growing body of research suggests links between ICTs and economic growth, social development, and higher levels of democratic participation.
Public consultation is an essential component of a well-functioning democracy. Governments at all levels (municipal, state, federal, etc.) should consult with residents and meaningful engagement can enhance citizen’s ability to affect public policy development and decision-making in their communities.
‘Elections do not produce responsive government,’ argues the cover of Democracy for Realists by Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels. The authors argue that the notion that elections compel elected politicians to follow the will of the people – or at least respect the policy preferences of the majority of voters – is a legend.
As Vice President of Development and Impact at vizzuality, I help connect-the-dots between our environmental and social impact clients and our project teams who design and develop engaging digital tools that tell stories through data.
“Feedback is great but if you just lived and breathed it – it’s hard to hear.”This insight from one of my clients perfectly captures a major barrier to closing feedback loops. Hearing feedback is hard. Accepting the feedback someone gives you, really considering it and then incorporating it into your actions, is a scary and deceptively difficult thing to do.
“If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” The iconic pronouncement attributed to Henry Ford is often quoted to support the idea that customers don’t really know what they want.