In this thought leadership video we talk about addressing the power balance between agencies and individuals. We often find ourselves in hierarchical structures that limit our ability to communicate and collaborate effectively. The challenge in these situations is to break down those barriers and come together as equals to achieve the common goal for our communities. Here at Impact Collective we strive to create a space where everyone can bring their unique perspectives, lived experiences and expertise to the table where we can have open and transparent discussions about what we want to achieve. It’s time to level the playing field and build a more inclusive and collaborative environment to make meaningful progress for our communities together.
Steve Carey, Impact Collective Government Director
I am here today to have a quick conversation around making sure that we deal with a power imbalance when we’re not only designing services with our community in true, authentic co-design, but also understanding what that means when we’re facilitating sessions with our community. So the first thing when we’re starting to facilitate sessions or when we’re working with our communities in a co-design methodology is that we need to ensure that the power balance across that session is correct. What we mean by this is that we need to ensure that people feel safe in being able to voice their lived experiences and their narratives in a manner that is congruent with how they are feeling about a particular situation. What this means for agencies is that we don’t all sit around the table with everybody from the chief executive of an organisation through to an administrator, all sitting around the table representing what is right in the feel for that community.
That actually we start reflecting on what is that balance. What I mean by that is do we have subject matter experts at the table in terms of our organisations? Do we have people who have lived experience, which is going to be reflected in the services that have been designed? What that means is who is benefiting most from the service development and therefore, who will we having at the table with lived experience? Who will benefit most from that service? Is it members of our disability community? Is it member of our Pacifica or Maori communities? Is it members of our rangatahi or our ageing and elderly populations? If they are the ones that are gonna benefit most from these services and they need to be at that table. The third aspect as uh, Kelly Ann McKercher states is, is a third of provocateurs. What she means by this is a number of individuals who are sitting around the table that actually don’t know the true context or content.
The reason for this is it brings a different dynamic and a different perspective for these services that we are developing. We need to be able to have them to ask the curious questions of, have you thought about? Or, what does that actually mean? It’s important for our services to be developed in a way that the community can take those services and make them their own. It is key to the success of the community organisations, of the community services, and that the community at large that they have voices heard and the way that it’s reflected. It’s the only way that community services are gonna succeed is if the community themselves takes ownership of it, leads it, participates in it, and helps build it from the get go.