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Week 2 (e) Sustaining engagement over time


What were the causes of the good (or bad) experience you encountered?

Following the theory, we considered the benefits of heterogeneous groups, of working with representatives of public and private organizations, and of having a facilitator who would moderate these processes and help people engage with each other. During the last three years at CTA and as part of the experience capitalization project, we worked with representatives of many different organizations, all over the world, both in person and online. We had a common interest that bought us all together, and used a very good platform. So these were all the factors that helped: we had great exchanges, and all participants contributed to a successful project. Our conversations stopped after the project finished. We ran out of money, the facilitators had no more time and all participants went into something else. The Dgroups we started have been silent for several months.  (Jorge)

What steps did you, or a colleague, take to ensure success or overcome failure?




What key lesson or advice can we draw from this?

  1. Thematic discussions: just like the one we are now having on dg-dialogue, a planned thematic discussion is a good way to promote activity for a limited period. It's possible to have several such discussions per year. These can sometimes be sponsored, providing valuable income for the CoP
  2. Moderators can regularly look for and send citations/abstracts of interesting papers, or new items that are relevant to the group's remit - this can often stimulate discussions, especially if the moderator shares their own perspective or asks questions
  3. Iterate: for example, hold a thematic discussion in the weeks preceding a F2F event or webinar, present the key findings at the event, and then present the event report back to the CoP
  4. Ensure that all messages, as far as possible, are potentially useful and relevant to readers - the more enthusiastically that contributions are received by readers, the more likely they will contribute
  5. Ensure that the CoP is a safe space where contributors will not be 'put down' or personally criticised by others (Neil Pakenham-Walsh)
Did we fail in terms of sustainability, or are we not measuring it properly? Perhaps we’d need to see if participants developed the necessary skills, interest, conviction or trust, or even learned how to use new tools to engage in meaningful discussions – and if they are doing it. Not with us and not between them as a group, but with others. (Jorge)

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