The team converged on Melbourne in late October for the 2022 IAP2 Australasia Conference. We had a fantastic time getting together in person, meeting new friends and old, and keeping up to date with industry trends and best practice. Here are our five key takeaways from the conference:
The Third Space
The opening keynote by Dr Adam Fraser introduced us to the concept of the Third Space. Although The Third Space can be considered as the circuit breaker between any two environments, we have been pondering the concept in the context of the bit between our work and home lives; it’s a space to reflect, rest and reset. This allows us to be more present in our home life and show up as a more balanced human when working. At Factotum, we all work from home so learning about the Third Space and how we can incorporate it into our daily routines was so useful. It’s easy to fall into the trap of living at work, not working from home, and Dr Fraser’s keynote gave us an effective way to avoid that trap.
You can find out more about Dr Fraser at https://dradamfraser.com/
The metaverse and community engagement
The session What Does a Brave New Future Look Like? prompted a great discussion about the role of engagement practitioners in the metaverse and whether we, as an industry, are prepared for this future. There was an interesting conversation about how younger generations are now working collaboratively in gaming environments to build their own worlds, so perhaps engagement practitioners won’t even be needed in the metaverse. It’s a fascinating topic and one we’ll be watching with interest, although we think people will always need someone to facilitate genuine engagement!
Variety is the spice of life
Yemi Penn’s keynote about Rebellious Curiosity contained so many bits of gold, but the part that resonated with us as a team is how many hats Yemi wears (metaphorically, not literally). Yemi is an engineer by trade, has run three businesses in the past, is a current researcher and PhD candidate, and recently produced a documentary. This resonated with us because the Factotum team has hugely varied interests and backgrounds, so it was nice to see the ways Yemi’s experiences have come together and helped her succeed.
You can find out more about Yemi at https://www.yemipenn.com/
Quantifying the risks of not engaging
Sometimes engagement can be a ‘tick box’ exercise. As engagement practitioners, it is our job to make sure decision makers understand the importance of moving away from this ‘tick box’ engagement towards genuine engagement.
As part of this, we often discuss the risks of not engaging effectively with a community or group of stakeholders in terms of reputational risk or negative media coverage. It’s less common to quantify this risk in terms of project dollars, but several conference sessions raised ways to calculate this risk in dollar terms, which could potentially cut through more effectively with decision makers. It’s an interesting approach that we will be exploring more.
The changing face of neighbourhood spaces
The closing keynote of the conference was delivered by Lucinda Hartley from Neighbourlytics. Learning about the digital footprint of cities and how they have changed since COVID definitely gave us food for thought around planning future engagement activities. It was also interesting to see the changing reasons people go to cities now; it’s less focused on employment and retail, and more on hospitality.
This kind of data is key to understanding how people use and interact with a place, and that can only be a good thing for project planning.
You can find out more about Neighbourlytics at https://neighbourlytics.com/
Thanks to IAP2 for hosting another great conference! We’ll see you again next year.