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It’s important that communication about the decision – both externally and internally – emphasises the innovation elements.

Some key points you can consider using:

  • The town has been learning a lot – not just council, but the community
  • It’s worth trying out street improvements in our own streets, because local data is valuable
  • Council has been doing things differently, which is hard to do but important
  • It’s important that our streets help rather than hinder our communities as we strive for [bigger outcome / goal], so we’ll keep innovating and do it a bit better each time
  • Communities, [insert groups] and council all have a stake in this and we’ll keep innovating together, continuously improving how we communicate and work

Don’t let inappropriate declarations of ‘failure’ gain currency in the project’s public discourse.  ‘Failure’ is a loaded word and your team needs to be clear about what a failure actually is, versus good insight from the experiment about what does and doesn’t work. It’s like a science experiment, we test to validate our hypothesis.

Even if your innovation itself is found not to work, your project’s public participation results should be something everyone can be proud of and they can set the bar for other projects. This will lead to better business-as-usual community engagement and consultation on street project design.

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