It’s been a long while since my last post, and I guess it’s about time I go back to it as I miss jotting down my ideas and research while sharing it with others to get their input. I’ll be presenting a series of posts related to community engagement, new business models, NGO management among other topics. So stay tuned!
For this post in specific, I’d like to talk about Community Engagement as a model for collaborative problem solving in any community.
To start with, by community, I mean any group of people sharing a common vision/goal and a location; living together, working together and who’s work and decisions might affect one another. It’s a mini-ecosystem within any organization, area, city or country. With my humble experience and research, I realized that most of the pressing issues in today’s world have solutions that are feasible within the present resources, skills sets, technology and systems. Yet what is missing is a collaborative mindset and a will to get things solved, together, as a community, for the greater benefit of the whole community rather than a small section of it.
In this context, by community engagement I mean bringing together all the stakeholders of any issue and working with them to find solutions. Yet the solutions should not only be feasible but also secure the buy in of all those involved, to really build that partnership among the community members towards an improved state of living.
Issues that can be tackled by community engagement can range from dysfunctional processes or procedures in a company, to unemployment in a region, to educational reform in a country, to political stalemates among nations. The point is, it is a mindset, a mode of engagement, that shifts the focus from individual benefits to a more communal, utilitarian benefit.
The research on community engagement is still rather limited, but it has been picking up support from academicians, non-profits, governmental institutions, consultants and social entrepreneurs. So I will definitely keep on digging deeper into this topic and how it applies to the local context in Lebanon in specific and the Arab nation at large.
Let me know your thoughts, ideas, questions and ways we can push forward and have some social experiments on it perhaps… 🙂