What's a collaborative meeting?

We have mastered the concept of an open government (transparency, participation, accountability, inclusion), and the seeds of promoting open government (PO), how do we promote public-private collaboration? The way we chose was a collaboration meeting.

What is “collaboration”? “Collaboration” is that everyone has different ideas and goals for an issue, but wants to contribute. So everyone talks together, listens to each other, tries to find consensus, and starts thinking about solutions from there. The ultimate hope is that “the outcome of the meeting, though not the one I want most, is not contrary to my philosophy and acceptable.”

There are various methods and tools for practicing open government. We came up with the “collaboration meeting.” Different topic attribute may require different process and form. In any form, the most important remains the spirit of transparency, participation, accountability, and inclusion of an open government.

The purpose of collaborative meetings

The collaborative meeting is a regular meeting platform that aims to assist the host agencies of each public issue to listen to diverse views and create more opportunities for dialogue between agencies and between the agency and the public. Through collaboration, friends in the public sector and the public can work together to clarify issues and find viable solutions. It also enables ministries to make good use of relevant policy thinking, design, and tools, and gradually familiarize themselves with the spirit of an open government.

Topics for collaborative meetings

There are many topics suitable for collaboration, including "inter-ministerial policy coordination", "information system building", "pre-policy opinion collection," and so on. Depending on the nature of the issue, the goals that a collaborative meeting can achieve are not necessarily the same. Some issues involve conflict of values, which can be explained to a certain extent through collaborative meetings and can be seen by decision makers; Technical issues can be integrated into the service design process through understanding the views of different stakeholders at collaborative meetings. There are also issues that the public sector is already planning, but people do not necessarily know. Collaborative meetings can inform the public about policy progress, and the public can also provide folk experience for planning reference.

The challenges of collaborative meetings

Collaborative meetings still face a lot of challenges. In the meetings, listening and discussion among stakeholders is valuable. But, if there is to be sufficient speech and dialogue, there can not be too many participants. Taking into account the time that everyone can speak, for a five-hour meeting, it would be desirable not to have more than forty participants. In addition, the most valuable dialogue process of collaborative meetings is difficult to communicate through written reports or spoken language. As a result, those who do not participate in the collaboration meeting may not be able to understand all the discussions in the collaboration meeting. Or, they read the words in the collaboration meeting and come up with different ideas, resulting in the outcome of the collaboration meeting not necessarily fully communicated. Nor is it guaranteed to be adopted.

How to organize a collaborative meeting?

Holding collaborative meetings does not require a lot of engineering, and there is a certain framework to refer to. We encourage public sector friends to use the processes and tools provided by the site to organize collaborative meetings on their own to discuss issues in depth and to work with multiple stakeholders to find solutions.