It’s always a Leap of Faith: Reflections on a ‘successful’ deliberative process that never delivered

November 15, 2022 |

Max Hardy (Max Hardy Consulting) and Anna Kelderman (Shape Urban) Designing and facilitating deliberative engagement processes have been among our most satisfying professional experiences, though they don’t always come to plan. Several years ago, we teamed up to work on a very challenging project to create a new planning strategy that identifies increased infill development…

An interview with Maddy Wald – a new face at Max Hardy Consulting!

June 7, 2022 |

Max:  Hi Maddy. Great to have you as part of the team. Tell us a bit about your career thus far? Where have you studied and worked for instance?  Maddy:  I’ve had a lot of jobs! I studied a Bachelor of Arts at Melb Uni and spent my 20s working in retail, hospitality and nannying.…

To Co-design or not to Co-design ….. solutions with communities?

May 30, 2022 |

There is so much being written about co-design, and talked about, and practiced. Sometimes the name is ‘taken in vain’ (to borrow a term from a book you may have heard about). One of the common questions asked is, ‘How do you know if this is the right kind of issue, problem or opportunity, suited…

Scoping under the microscope

March 16, 2022 |

I’ve been wanting to blog about how we can better scope and define projects for quite some time, especially for authentic co-design. Now we have a tool to move beyond the binary negotiable/non-negotiable approach in project development I couldn’t resist any longer.  We all know it’s handy when engaging the community, to differentiate between project…

An interview with Prue! (Comedy, collaboration and joining Max Hardy Consulting)

August 30, 2021 |

M: Hey Prue. Seems like you have been working with me for years, and you have, sort of. When did you start officially with me as a Max Hardy Consulting employee? P: After years of working with Max on projects here and there, I got to finally be accepted as a full employee of Max…

Strategic Questioning to unlock co-design

August 18, 2021 |

After 20 years I can safely say that Strategic Questioning is the most powerful tool I have employed for helping organisations to become more open to other ways of interacting with their communities. I’ve posted before about the wonderful contributions of Fran Peavey on the art of Strategic Questioning. Fran was committed to inspiring changemakers…

It’s time to do stakeholder mapping differently!

October 28, 2020 |

A recent blog by Richard Delaney put forward the merit of doing impact analysis as opposed to issues identification. Worth a read! I’d like to offer another suggestion for improving the way we plan community engagement processes; stakeholder mapping. The classic process used is the 2 x 2 matrix of plotting stakeholders according to their…

How safe is it to participate?

July 27, 2020 |

Something we don’t discuss much is the importance of the ‘do no harm’ principle when engaging the community (especially relevant now with the Covid-19 pandemic). Anthony Boxshall and I identified ‘people feeling unsafe’ as one of the key challenges to co-design. We rely on bringing together a diverse community of interest, but what do you…

learning from covid-19

Learning from Covid-19. How what we are learning now can transform how we engage into the future!

April 30, 2020 |

Engaging communities at a time of physical distancing presents some real challenges for local government.
Let’s face it, community engagement is never perfect. It is never perfectly representative; the processes are not perfectly supported by organisations, nor is the output perfectly considered. It is always a matter of making trade-offs with our processes, limited by budget, time-frames, and the capacity of communities to be involved. But we have come a long way in the last 20 years. Here are some things that I’ve noticed are much better.

Community engagement

Community engagement – definitions applicable to systems change

October 21, 2019 |

The importance of defining the term community engagement before designing a community engagement process.