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.
It is more than integrating the wisdom of knowledgeable crowds into decision-making. We let the crowd do the analysis and then inform each and every one of them on their personal impact. A closed feedback loop is an important pillar of our vision. We measure it, we manage it, we change it. This is inclusion 2.0.
Information about what happens with the piece of advice that a stakeholder gave needs to be standard for all inclusive processes. What I had to learn as co-founder of Insights.US in Germany was that many decision makers are not (yet) ready to follow our vision. The thought of closing the feedback loop is still developing. Many decision makers don’t yet see the need – nor the potential – in keeping stakeholders up to date.
We at Insights.US are working to change this. Here are three of our strategies:
- Design the decision-making process – The process design is crucial for feedback. Lots of surveys do not aim to make decisions that change budgets, regulations, strategies or methods. Instead consultations of stakeholders are often used to legitimize decisions that were already made. Such processes do not create value. In turn, the feedback is not valuable, and even worse, it creates frustration. Always focus on the outcome the organization wants to achieve. This insight seems quite trivial, but is key.
- Change the perception of feedback – Stakeholders do not have to help you, and yet they decided to because they want to be part of your community. Every stakeholder deserves a feedback for sharing his knowledge. Feedback to the participants should be seen as a necessity. It’s not a privilege to inform participants on the individual impact. It is morally required.
- Personalize your feedback – The advantages of personalized feedback are obvious. Feedback increases the identification of stakeholders with the organization and the acceptance of decisions. The more personalized it is the better. This effect should be of interest for each and every decision maker.
With these strategies we are convincing decision makers, of both the public and the private sector, of our vision. After using Insights.US, 82 percent of the decisions made result in change. So far, we’ve powered almost 400 projects and engaged almost 500k stakeholders, like in Austin TX where the Resource Recovery Agency increased recycling rates in their city with the advice of their stakeholders. 11 valuable insights were extracted from more than 1200 answers. One insight for instance was that Austinites produce more recyclables than can fit in the bin every two weeks. By focusing on the outcome, we helped to design the Resource Recovery Agency to change the size of the bins or the collection rhythm.
The personalized feedback enabled the decision maker to a) say thank you for the given advice and b) give very specific feedback. The Resource Recovery Agency announced that they would consider changing the collection cycle, but that adopting a new schedule would take time. To provide additional feedback to citizens, they gave information on drop-off points for recyclables that are not fitting into the bins and informed them about a hotline where Austinites can request additional recycling bins. Not only did they act on the feedback received, but actively showed the citizens of Austin the importance of feedback. Decision makers get insights, stakeholders are appreciated for their advice, get personalized information on their impact and additional information on the current status.
We see every day how executives can avoid preventable mistakes and build a more committed community together. Inclusive decision making broadens the base for the decision, informs the stakeholder about the process and increases its individual “buy in.”
Christian Davepon is co-founder of Insights.US in Germany, based in Berlin. He manages consulting projects in the public and private sector in central Europe and Israel. Christian studied Economics and Philosophy in Bayreuth/Germany, Lille/France and Tel Aviv/Israel. If you are interested in learning more, visit www.Insights.US to create your own digital consulting project and start for free!