Before exploring different methods of engaging citizens and consumers, it is first important to establish:

1. The scope. Ask yourself:

  • Is it clear how the engagement exercise can make a difference?
  • It there demand or interest from potential participants to get involved?
  • Are there sufficient resources to make the process work properly?

2. The purpose. Ask yourself:

  • Is there a clear and well defined purpose for this digital engagement exercise?
  • Is it clear what you want to achieve?
  • Are the purpose, outputs and outcomes understood and supported by all relevant stakeholders?

3. The participants. Ask yourself:

  • Who are your participants?
  • Should the exercise be open (anyone who wants to can participate) or selective (you choose the number and types of participant)?
  • What are the motivations and barriers to involvement?
  • Should participants be invited (i.e. self-selecting) or recruited (i.e. representative)?
  • What role do you need participants to play (e.g. citizen, consumer or stakeholder)?

4. The context. Ask yourself:

  • What opportunities or obstacles does the context present?
  • What are the characteristics and capabilities of participants?
  • What are the characteristics and capabilities of your organisation?
  • What was the experience and outcomes of previous engagement exercises?

5. The follow-up. Ask yourself:

  • How and how much will the results of the participation of citizens and consumers influence the decisions of your organisation, and how will this be communicated to participants?
  • How can you provide feedback to participants on the results of their participation?
  • How should the engagement process be evaluated?