This is a crucial step in bringing together different community members and stakeholder to collaboratively decide on the design directions to be explored in further steps. This stage often works best as a workshop facilitated by someone external to the project, and it can be useful to design props and materials that will allow for an intitial open-ended exploration of the design space before discussion to reach a consensus.
Clarifying stakeholder requirements is important to evaluate options, inform the detailed design of systems and to evaluate the success of the final system design and performance.
Workshop based engagement
Plan the timing and activities to make the workshop enjoyable and convenient for the participants.
Workshops offer more than a tool to collect data from community participants in the project. They can add to an effective strategy of building relationships and sharing information with stakeholders, alongside engaging stakeholders in decision making processes to enhance a sense of transparency throughout the project.
Results from the characterising communities process can inform options for introducing appropriate topics and tools to stakeholders. It can also be useful to present problems and values familiar to your community participants as a launching off point for the workshop.
Having a detailed Workshop Plan in place can ensure a smooth running of the process, and for example, clearly specifies team members’ roles, the workshop timetable broken down by activity and can include a brief script for each activity tailored to the project and attending participants. Design activities that will both encourage community members to take part as well as achieving your specific objectives for this stage.
Accessibility for engagement
Ensuring participants are able to attend and participate is crucial for the success of your objectives for the Requirements Capture process.
Common pitfalls include not understanding when and where, and for how long, it is convenient for community participants to meet and ensuring enough notice to attend. If in doubt, ask!
Think about whether facilities and timings create any barriers to involvement and including refreshments.
Consider the format of activities to enable all participants to engage, in particular participants who may have lower levels of literacy or English as a second language.
The better the experience for the participants, the increased likelihood of effective participation.
Workshops will only collect data from the attending participants. Alternative and additional options for collecting input from impacted communities could include ‘have your say’ posters situated in the location of change.
Workshop and event delivery
It is advisable to ensure there is an appropriate level of support available at the event, to set up, to chair the day, to provide input, facilitate group activities and take field notes. A separate photographer and videographer may also be useful.
Keep it comfortable; make sure there are refreshments available; ensure the space is comfortable and large enough; keep to time; plan your workshop to be over a convenient time, and not over meal times; be flexible; don’t be afraid to alter the workshop plan on the fly in response to how the workshop is going.
Document the workshop. Each team member should produce Field Notes, photograph all outputs and photograph the workshop as it happens and make a note of reflections immediately after the workshop. Record (either audio or video) the workshop discussions.
Using all elements of the documentation will be useful, and this may include:
- Outputs from participant exercises
- Field Notes from facilitators
- Documentation tools such as voting tables
- Photographs and video/audio recordings and transcriptions if required
- Reflections and feedback
Safety and responsibilities
This method should be applied with the involvement of community residents in the co-design process.
The key personnel involved in this stage includes team lead, workshop facilitator, community mediator, workshop evaluator.
This stage generates project documentation and team reflections that should be used to evaluate the workshop. The evaluation principles and processes are detailed in a separate method statement.
If, following the workshop evaluation, any areas of concern are raised, these should be addressed in the planning and running of the next workshops.