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Stakeholder engagement, some lessons

As mentioned in my previous post we attempted what we hoped was a new and innovative form of stakeholder engagement yesterday.

It’s at http://www.ethicalcorp.com/livedebate

Together with Vodafone and Context, we hosted a debate on three time zones on the role of mobile in climate change.

It was a pretty exhausting task. But it seemed to work. We had around 130 people join us for three hours of debate, on Asia, Europe, and North America time zones,

You can see the result at the link above. We generated perhaps 10,000 words of text debate in three hours.

What did we learn?

First, that discussion is hard to control. We knew this was the case offline. Online, particularly given delays in posting response to questions with new comments coming in all the time, it’s even harder.

Secondly, that companies are more reticent to comment than other stakeholders, like academics and consultants. It takes them much longer to warm up and gain confidence. No surprises there, we’ve seen that many times at conferences.

Thirdly, that structuring the debate didn’t help that much. We tried, in our third debate (see it at the above link) to spend 15 minutes per topic area. But it only partially worked. Postings on previous points, which we wanted to allow, ran over into other debate areas.

Lastly, I think we learned that a narrow set of questions or topic areas is best.

To do it successfully, real focus on 1-3 points is probably best in future. We’ve seen that offline too.

So we’ll be doing it again, and will keep you posted on what’s in the pipeline.

Meanwhile, you can see how it worked at http://www.ethicalcorp.com/livedebate and there’s a lot there to learn, if you are interested in the role of mobile in climate change.

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