Quick & Dirty Guide to Consultation

If you read or blog or tweets you will know that we have been on the road a great deal lately.  If not, well, we have been on the road a lot, visiting interesting people and talking about design.  One of the biggest issues or complaints that we have been hearing about is public consultation.  As a company we have offered consultation services since our inception.  However, it took a while and a lot of practice for us to really understand public consultation. Happily we can now say that we have some real expertise in this area.  Sadly it appears that this is quite rare and many potential clients we have spoken with have felt disappointing in consultation projects they have been part of.  The main issues that we have heard are that,

– People did not understand the process and how the information they were providing would be used.

– People felt that their thoughts and ideas were not taken into account and did not know the reasons why.

-People felt that the types of events they took part in failed to access the creative potential of participants.

After a long discussion on the topic the other day with a potential client, where we described the various processes and methods we use we agreed to publish our top 3 tips for consultation on the blog, so here goes,

1. Every place/institution/organization is different.  The methods used to consult one group of people may be entirely different from the method needed for the next groups. Work with your client to understand the most effective method for gathering information from his people and report back to them regularly.

2. Be creative – a workshop is not just a meeting.  Everyone enjoys a fun event – even the most lofty persons in an organization/institution.

3. Feed people – a cup of tea and a biscuit or even a sandwich goes a long way to relaxing people and putting them in a creative frame of mind.

Clearly this is nowhere near our full bag of tricks – that would be giving too much away.  We will give away one obvious final tip which is,

4. Protect and safeguard the information.  You have to be the champion of this stuff and ensure that it is referred to throughout the design process.

If you would like to know more about our consultation methods or have some tips of your own that you want to share email us at, info@nomad-rdc.com

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