Open Government in Action

August 26, 2013

Blog

 As we develop our Open Government Action Plan, we need to practice and pilot new ideas along the way.

 The City of Guelph Community Engagement team, in coordination with colleagues in Parks and Open Space, Communications and Web Services, are piloting a new and innovative online community engagement tool: MindMixer (cityofguelph.mindmixer.com).  This tool will allow interested community members to participate in an online discussion that will supplement in-person meetings to collaboratively develop a master plan for Jubilee Park.  

 This tool will be available for other community engagement processes until December 2013. 

 What is MindMixer?

MindMixer is a tool that leverages the power of the Internet and social media to connect our organization with members of our community who might not otherwise get involved.

 How does it work?

MindMixer provides a turn-key service that allows for multiple ‘conversations’ to take place, engaging community stakeholders to participate in various conversations that interest them.  We are starting with the Jubilee Park Master Plan consultation and look forward to hosting other online engagement conversations on this tool.

 MindMixer allows for the following ‘types’ of conversation:

Instant poll – Allow participants to select from a list of answers, similar to a closed-ended survey question.  Survey – Offer a comprehensive list of questions that participants must answer in a prescribed sequence.
Idea prioritization – Present alternatives and ask participants to prioritize by “seconding” the ideas they support. Open idea submission – Frame the conversation and allow participants to submit ideas, ‘second’ the ones they support, and comment on one another’s ideas.
Participatory budgeting – Ask participants to decide which initiatives they would fund using a set budget. Idea refinement – Present alternatives and let participants voice their degree of support.
Challenge – Invite stakeholders to present a solution to a community challenge. The winning idea is selected by a judge or committee and implemented.

 How do we monitor comments?

To reduce anonymity, Mindmixer site participants have to register with an email address before posting comments. In addition, other users of Mindmixer find that the site focuses on building positive dialogues.  MindMixer features an integrated language filter so any obscene words are simply removed from posts.  The Community Engagement team will be monitoring discussions regularly and any participant may flag inappropriate posts.  After three MindMixer users report a post using a simple “report abuse” link, it is automatically deleted. 

 Who else is using MindMixer?

MindMixer has the largest suite of engagement functionality of any provider in North America. This tool is being used by over 400 government agencies throughout the United States and the following Canadian cities:

 Burlington:  www.letstalkburlington.com 

Toronto: http://toronto.mycitymyvoice.ca 

Kelowna: http://mycitypark.kelowna.ca  

Calgary: www.mydowntownwest.com 

Richmond: www.yourfuturelibrary.ca 

 If you are interested in finding out more about this innovative tool contact the Community Engagement team.

Kate Bishop, Supervisor Community Engagement

Community and Social Services

City of Guelph

 Telephone 519-822-1260 x2679

 kate.bishop@guelph.ca

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About Karen Farbridge

An unwavering change maker seeking a just, democratic and sustainable world.

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