My friend Tim Merry has taken to saying that we can’t do community engagement we can only do community. Or not. I think this is a compelling idea. Engagement is meaningless now as a term. We are seeking real community, a genuine sense of being in this together. Whether it is public policy or building infrastructure you have the choice to do it to people or do it with people. Just using the word “engagement” is not enough.
Time to put real power behind the idea of community.
I have a little inkling that the practice of deciding what not to do is related to Chris and Tim’s insight. But I haven’t quite chased down the thought yet. Ideas?