True Engagement is Hybrid
The shift to digital isn’t new, and we’re not here to tell you that physical is gone. The reality of modern community engagement is definitively hybrid, and the possibilities available to reach different segments of your communities have never been greater.
When considering engagement as a hybrid activity, the intention is not to draw a distinct binary between those who attend town halls and those who participate in surveys and online projects. Rather, it’s a means of acknowledging the complex nature of your audiences. Some reside firmly at either end of the spectrum, and many participate, relate, and engage across it.
There’s an undeniably distinct advantage in conversation and listening, both of which are made transparent and accessible in physical engagement. In-person connection is vital for public engagement and ideation, but represents distinct moments, presenting barriers like location and time. As valuable as these moments are, the barriers limit the reach and meaningfulness of the engagements.
The value of hybrid connection is that you maintain a continued public presence, providing recurring and continuous pathways for your community to connect with project change, advancement, and ideation. This pattern ensures that you engage throughout the process, and that your diverse audiences can engage at their convenience.
Some members of your community will attend in-person meetings, and still supplement that participation with digital engagement. Others will engage purely through your digital services. In either form, digital plays a key role in providing continuity—your community should always have a way to participate, regardless of barriers. For those who engage purely through digital means, their experience should be equal—or better—than the experience of those who participate in-person.