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49 exhibits, or displays in public spaces with stakeholders regis- Leadership development programs are increasingly com- tering their preference using markers or stickers to tabulate mon techniques to develop civic capacity, enable leadership, preferences and demonstrate consensus. and further educational efforts among community leaders. Examples of leadership programs include AASHTO's National Transportation Leadership Institute and the Central Florida Stakeholder Groups Regional Leadership Academy. Stakeholder groups encourage ownership of a visioning pro- cess from within the community as well as provide valuable Application within guidance and executive leadership. Membership often includes the Vision Guide community leaders, interest group representatives, users of the transportation system, and elected officials or agency TCAPP provides an interactive method to select the tools and executives, and they may be provided agency or project staff techniques referenced earlier in this chapter, as well as hyper- technical support. links to additional web resources and real world examples of Task forces are collaborative decision and policy groups visioning best practices. The following section discusses key that play an active role in a visioning process, lending guid- practitioner activities, roles, and responsibilities related to ance and credibility, drafting recommendations, and provid- reaching stakeholders for relevant activity areas within the ing solutions or decisions on significant issues. Task forces framework of the Vision Guide. This high-level, strategic often operate by consensus and propose recommendations guidance is intended to present critical questions and key to leadership or agency officials. activities to be considered by the practitioner. Citizen advisory committees act primarily in an advisory role, studying issues, presenting opinions, or producing guid- Preparing for the Vision ance, but they are not necessarily required to reach consensus and may simply provide a forum for issues to be voiced. Com- The groundwork for effective outreach and involvement mittees may be formed to address different aspects within a efforts is established in early phases of a visioning process visioning process, such as a public involvement campaign, by determining the scope, purpose, audience, and resources scenario planning technical support, or issue-specific groups, of the process. Within the first phase of a vision there are such as bicycle and pedestrian or environmental interests. five activity areas relevant to the reaching stakeholders component. Programs and Partnerships Why Are We Doing This? Often formed during visioning processes, programs and part- nerships facilitate vision development and may then continue Engaging stakeholders and partners early helps develop inter- as lasting outcomes of the process. Developing a cooperative est and ownership in the process and helps build a compel- relationship with partners and stakeholders is critical to the ling case for a vision. Cultivating public champions among successful completion and institution of a vision. A wide vari- influential leaders from public, private, and nonprofit spheres ety of programs and partnerships are formed during visioning also may provide essential support for the vision as it pro- efforts, although they generally include collaboration with gresses. Outreach in this initial activity area is focused pri- public agencies, elected officials, and community leaders. For marily on informative techniques to share background more information on forming partnerships see Chapter 7. information regarding the project's purpose and need. Artic- Interagency working groups can enhance coordination ulating the need and context for a vision sets the stage and among public agencies, either through formal means, such as direction of future efforts, and stakeholder outreach helps a memorandum of agreement, or informal means, such as determine potential activities, direction, and scope. Informa- interagency councils (see North Carolina Department of tive techniques may include providing press releases and Transportation 2011; Puget Sound Regional Council 2011). communications materials, establishing an informational web- These partnerships are often formed during a visioning pro- site or blog for the project, or even conducting initial com- cess as technical advisory groups, or they already may be in munity meetings. A number of feedback techniques may prove existence as standing interagency partnerships. useful. Key techniques may include opinion surveys, com- Developing a forum for elected officials is often essential to munity canvassing efforts, focus groups, and other in-depth implementing and integrating a vision into local development early community outreach. Collaboration should be encour- regulations. A forum for elected officials provides continuing aged from the very start of the process, and this may be an educational and outreach efforts because many officials are appropriate time to begin working with community leaders, term limited and may not be knowledgeable of long-term, forming task forces and community working groups, and ongoing efforts (see myregion.org 2011a). developing partnerships.

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50 Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing Who Will We Involve outreach tools: Gaining the cooperation of the many stakeholders and repre- sentatives involved in a visioning process often requires creat- What feedback is needed from stakeholders to begin fram- ing new partnerships or leveraging existing networks. The role ing the problem statement for the vision? of outreach in this step is to ensure that key contributors are How do we best communicate with stakeholders? (For not overlooked and that feedback is used to identify all part- example, is the audience web accessible, or are there sig- ners and stakeholders. Input from public meetings, question- nificant groups of hard-to-reach stakeholders?) naires, online communications, community conversations, What does the public already know about the planned and other feedback mechanisms can be used to ensure that all visioning effort? (That is, are there public perception issues contributors are identified. or specific messaging activities that must be managed?) Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing outreach tools: What Is Important? Who has regulatory powers or implementation authority Establishing significant community considerations, key priori- over key issues to be considered in the vision? ties, or driving research questions informs the scale and scope Which groups may have a vested interest in the process or of a visioning process. Stakeholder outreach will help determine might be most affected by the vision outcomes? the boundaries of the region, the communities involved, the What partners or networks currently exist within the range of topics addressed, and the desired outcomes of the pro- community? cess. Outreach activities often focus on obtaining feedback on what communities know now and want to know more about. Informative techniques may be used, such as interviews with What Is Our Approach? community leaders or key stakeholders, agency coordination This activity area focuses on finalizing a public participation meetings, and opinion surveys or questionnaires. Collabora- and involvement strategy for significant activities in the next tion with community leaders will support the development of phase. At this point in the process, outreach tools should be a visioning process that is widely supported. finalized, networks developed, media contacts made, and Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing information presented to community members. Final prod- outreach tools: ucts often include public communications materials, media materials, a website, and related branding materials. Is there a common regional or community identity? Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing How far into the future are we looking? outreach tools: What key issues should be considered and addressed? What can stakeholders tell us about desired outcomes? Is the project ready to begin soliciting significant public involvement? What is the level of initial public interest or media coverage? What Are Our Resources? Does the outreach strategy address all major partners, Outreach activities within this area are focused primarily on stakeholder groups, and the general public? communicating with potential funding partners and key stakeholders. Feedback from these parties will help develop Creating the Vision a business case based on expected outcomes of completing a vision. Collaborative techniques are critical to support the Active engagement of stakeholders in creating the vision is cultivation of direct financial and in-kind resources from vital to ensuring its collaborative development. The ground- partners and stakeholders. Community leader outreach and work for effective outreach and involvement efforts is estab- the formation of programs and partnerships will help the lished within this second phase of the visioning process. practitioner determine available resources. There are four activity areas relevant to the reaching stake- Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing holders component. outreach tools: Where Are We Now? How may outreach be targeted to key participants, includ- ing funding partners? Outreach techniques in this activity focus on feedback and Can partnerships assist with funding requirements or act collaborative processes, as information gathered feeds into as in-kind resource pools? later scenario and indicator development. Assessing data and

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51 stakeholder input will assist in selecting an appropriate strategies provide creative opportunities for involvement. The scenario-planning tool. Informative techniques such as visu- result is a well-planned stakeholder outreach strategy that alizations and maps are effective at conveying baseline infor- helps ensures that the community vision best represents inter- mation. Public meetings and interactive forums are useful in ests and input from all stakeholders. This is a key point in any informing participants and gathering feedback on core values. visioning process and often is the stage at which clear com- Collaborative techniques are effective in engaging key stake- munication and full participation are critical to ensuring later holders to make final decisions on information presented or buy-in and commitment to the vision's outcomes. indicators to use in later visioning activities. Selection of a scenario-planning approach and associated Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing outreach activities is a key element of this activity area. A variety outreach tools: of scenario tools and techniques can be used to foster participa- tion, convey ideas, and solicit feedback and comments during How can we tell a compelling story of conditions, issues, vision development. The tools and techniques available range and challenges to be addressed in the vision? from complex technical software to basic role playing and board How can we provide opportunities for the public to help games. Each community is unique, and available tools and tech- establish community core values? niques may be customized to provide the best fit. Tool selection How can we engage stakeholders for input on key issues and considerations might include cost and budget available or the values to determine the indicators to assess future scenarios? focus of the tool (e.g., land use, transportation, and environ- ment), among other criteria. From an outreach perspective, key considerations may be how intuitive or visually effective the sce- Where Are We Going? nario tool is in conveying information. The selection matrix Providing information on probable future trends helps par- earlier in this chapter provides additional information and links ticipants in a visioning process assess their choices and deter- to a variety of scenario-planning support options. mine preferences. Building consensus around long-term goals, Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing objectives, or guiding principles may be challenging, but it outreach tools: will provide significant direction for the community. Commu- What is the most appropriate scenario-planning approach nity goals are formed on the basis of information presented for the community (e.g., technical software, interactive role- and input provided, and principles provide guidance toward playing games, or conceptual visual preference surveys)? meeting those goals. Targeted outreach may occur, which How can we best engage the maximum number of partici- focuses on specific expert or professional stakeholders who may pants in viewing, learning, evaluating, and registering a help answer questions about significant trends that will shape preference for the alternative scenarios produced? the community. Outreach should actively inform, engage, and What innovative methods, technologies, or resources are excite stakeholders by providing information about possibili- available to reach the broadest range of stakeholders? ties for the future. How can we best gather and use public input in a transparent Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing manner, so the process is not jeopardized? outreach tools: What is the exact role of the public in crafting the final pre- ferred future? How can we tell a compelling story of future trends in the community? How can we best use public input in determining goals and How Will We Get There? guiding principles for the vision? Values, goals, issues, and principles may be aligned with con- Which stakeholder groups should be targeted for informa- sensus alternatives to provide guidance on priority issues to be tion on trends and a future outlook? identified in the vision and acted upon during implementa- tion. This iterative process allows for building public agree- Where Do We Want to Be? ment in preparation of the release of vision outcomes or products. Collaborative techniques such as community work- Developing potential alternative futures helps the public make ing groups, breakout groups at public meetings, and other informed choices. Providing the public the opportunity to decision-making partnerships organized for the visioning pro- view, assess, and provide preferences on alternative futures is cess can be encouraged to lead the development of the final the hallmark of successful visioning processes. For the best vision. The vision can be tested for acceptance through out- results, the process of engaging the public, soliciting input, reach to a broad range of stakeholders, through online resources, and utilizing that input should be structured, transparent, public media, or large-scale meetings. Communicating the and genuine. Interactive, targeted outreach and engagement final vision in a compelling and accessible manner is a critical

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52 part of outreach. Simplicity is often best, and final visions are What are the roles and responsibilities of stakeholders to commonly represented as conceptual images, future maps, or ensure implementation and evaluate progress? simple statements. Final project materials also should incor- What partnerships and relationships from the visioning porate information on the development process, implemen- process can be leveraged for implementation efforts? tation, roles and responsibilities, and future stages of the visioning process. What Have We Accomplished? Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing outreach tools: Continuing to monitor, measure, and report the status of implementation is a powerful tool for continuing efforts and Is stakeholder input into the preferred scenario and final adjusting priorities. Stakeholder outreach is a critical compo- vision statement clearly demonstrated and communicated? nent of communicating progress and assisting in maintaining Have we addressed participant concerns with the scenario- public support and interest in the project. Online resources, development process to ensure maximum consensus and publications, and visualizations are effective techniques to ownership of the outcomes? help distribute information and progress reports to wide How do we best communicate the final vision to stake- audiences in a compelling and accessible way. holders? Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing How do we begin to prepare stakeholders for implemen- outreach tools: tation? How can we best communicate to stakeholders the vision's Implementing the Vision progress, performance, and achievements? How can we best involve those stakeholders in contribut- Even the most successful vision development process will ing toward the implementation of the vision? result in little without a plan that outlines how the vision will be accomplished and that further increases stakeholder com- mitment to the vision. Continuing engagement of stakeholders How Do We Maintain Our Vision? through this phase ensures that implementation efforts are Providing motivation to act on a vision, sometimes decades effective and that motivation remains to sustain the vision. after development, may require partners to re-engage con- Within the third phase of a vision there are three activity areas tinually in implementation efforts. Strategies to accomplish relevant to the reaching stakeholders component. this include recognition of achievements, collaboration on specific objectives, updates to components of the vision, and How Do We Stay on Track? other outreach methods to maintain strong community part- Recognizing partner and public contributions to the vision- nerships. Informative tools can be used to engage stakeholders ing process and communicating opportunities for future in the performance of the vision and in raising awareness of involvement is critical to sustaining the vision. Maintaining planned updates. Collaborative techniques such as leadership existing relationships and outreach efforts provides a critical councils, community programs, and elected official groups transition from active visioning to implementation efforts. are effective in developing an update process and refreshing Practitioners may engage lead stakeholders and partner orga- partnerships. Ongoing partnerships and programs also are nizations to review action items and to determine responsi- examples of techniques used to maintain momentum and bility over the execution of various elements of the vision. interest in ongoing efforts. Collaborative techniques such as meetings with stakeholders Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing are useful to review roles and responsibilities and to continue outreach tools: ongoing interagency and partner coordination established within the visioning process. How can we refresh partnerships and continue the stake- Practitioners may consider these questions when assessing holder relationships developed? outreach tools: Are there new stakeholders or partnerships that could be involved in an update process? Which stakeholders must be involved in implementation How do we maintain stakeholder interest or galvanize par- efforts, and which stakeholders hold responsibility for future ticipants long after the active public involvement activities actions? of the vision are complete?