Education Policy | Post Primary | Preschool | Primary | Tertiary | Search


Best ideas can come from the public

Best ideas can come from the public

Listening to the public can yield the best ideas, says one of the keynote speakers from a recent international symposium held at the University of Waikato.

The symposium, held on 17 and 18 February, was aimed at transforming public engagement on controversial science and technology.

Keynote speakers included award-winning physics professor Shaun Hendy from the University of Auckland, eminent indigenous scholar Dr Kim Tallbear from the University of Texas, and Professor John Dryzek from Australian National University.

One of the keynote speakers, Senior Research Associate Dr Lyn Kathlene from Spark Policy Institute in Denver, spoke on citizen engagement and the most effective ways of obtaining useful feedback on public policy.

Dr Kathlene says the process of involving citizens in public policy making is about trying to move away from the theory or model.

“Stop, reflect, listen, get uncomfortable and start putting on your creative hat to work with what’s in front of you in order to get citizen participation in public policy.”

She says it’s important to involve people in the process, but they need enough information to feel comfortable about engaging, and they need to see how public opinion is valued by those people who are trying to influence the public.

Dr Kathlene says that sometimes the best ideas came from the public, as in the case where changes were being considered to the transportation system in Boulder, Colorado.

“We found the public identified an issue that was very important to them that the planners hadn’t even considered, and this was implemented as part of a new transportation plan for the city.”

The symposium, which was funded by a Marsden grant, brought together people researching in various disciplines, including science and technology, social sciences, the arts, humanities, public policy and communication.

Topics covered included energy and environmental science, reproductive technologies, laws and ethics around new science, communicating science, indigenous views on new technologies, and citizen and stakeholder engagement.

Management communication Professor Debashish Munshi and political science Associate Professor Priya Kurian, who organised the symposium, hoped it would help re-shape public engagement on potentially controversial new and emerging technologies, such as nanotechnology, synthetic biology, and assisted reproductive technologies.


© Scoop Media

Culture Headlines | Health Headlines | Education Headlines


Howard Davis: Review - 'I, Daniel Blake' - Ken Loach's Bleak Masterpiece

'I, Daniel Blake' is a bleak masterpiece, a chilling and moving story of two people striking up an unlikely friendship under extremely adverse circumstances. It is both a polemical indictment of a faceless benefits bureaucracy that strips claimants of their humanity by reducing them to mere numbers, and a celebration of the decency and compassion of ordinary people who look out for one another when the state has abandoned them. More>>

Howard Davis: Review - A Girl Named Mo

Moana Ete brought her three-piece band A Girl Named Mo to Wellington's intimate and iconic Bats Theatre last week for a five-night residency. Each show was recorded and filmed live for the release of her debut album 'Platonic/Romantic' on Loop records later this year. More>>

For The Birds: Who Will Be Crowned Bird Of The Year?

The competition involves well-known and enthusiastic New Zealanders acting as ‘campaign managers’ for their favourite birds with many going to great lengths to get New Zealanders to vote for their chosen bird... More>>


  • Greening the Red Zone - Bird of the year heats up: kōtare concedes, backs kea
  • Image Out-Link - Giselle Clarkson on Twitter

  • Gordon Campbell: On Bob Dylan's Nobel (And The Surplus)

    So Bob Dylan has just won the Nobel Prize for… Literature? Wow. I’d be just as happy if he’d won for his work on particle physics (“One Grain of Sand”, “Simple Twist of Fate”) or got the Economics prize for his work on the theory of contracting (“Don’t Think Twice Its Alright”) ... More>>


    Scoop Review Of Books: Whose Goat Was That?

    Mysterious Mysteries of Aro Valley is a sharp, satirical and sometimes downright scary romp through and around that valley in ways that made me question the realities of the places I thought I knew so well. More>>


    NZ On Air TV Funding: More Comedy Comes Out Of The Shadows

    Paranormal Event Response Unit is a series conceived by Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi as a TV spin-off from their highly acclaimed feature film What We Do In The Shadows. More>>


    Get More From Scoop



    Search Scoop  
    Powered by Vodafone
    NZ independent news