Online participation: How to get started?

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by Justus

Online participation: How to get started?

Participation project often get stuck even before they're up to speed. We published an article about how to involve all the players within the social domain: 'Online particpatie, zo doe je dat'. The main principles from that article provide a foothold. But even the main principles can't do without a solid start. We will now provide you with five tips to get you through the first phase of your participation project. 

  1. Set goals
    Start with a small group of internal stakeholders. Set modest goals. Think about everyone's interests, per target group, when setting goals. Preparing target group profiles (including associated roles and interests for each group) will help!
  2. Get the right people involved
    Get your target groups involved as early in the project as possible. Involve clients, professionals, government officials and institutions. Host interactive sessions and test your goals: you will get feedback and input, and build involvement at the same time!
  3. Start small, specific and simple
    Don't overload your target groups with possibilities and information. Make sure all that you do matters, is simple (intuitive) and works well - including the required follow-up. 
  4. Give the project attention
    Implementing a participation platform is technically not complex. But the attention required to turn it into a success is often underestimated. You can implement a platform but it won't just work by itself! Make sure you have an enthusiastic community manager and provide that person with the support and resources they need to make the platform work.
  5. Experiment! 
    Changes within the social domain are complex. Many parties are involved and many questions are asked that don't have an immediate answer. A participation platform helps to connect and cross boundaries, if you do it the right way. It's time for an experiment!

Once you get started, you will definitely have to address the following questions: How do you get your clients to participate? How do clients and professionals interact online? How can you keep people involved? Read the answers to these questions here.