To give people a voice and enable them to influence decisions that affect their lives
To help decision-makers cut through the noise and better understand what their community values
To observe the highest standards of professional conduct and the IAP2 Code of Ethics
Years before James Surowiecki wrote The Wisdom of Crowds, I was committed to engaging people to understand their perspectives and improve outcomes.
Luckily all my work – whether in industrial relations, children’s rights, consumer protection, community development, regional development, workplace safety or road safety – has had engaging people front and centre. I’ve engaged community members, businesses, stakeholders and employees to discover what people really value to enable organisations to make better decisions and deliver better outcomes.
I’m also a bit of a technology nerd and love using technology to do things quicker, smarter and more effectively. And whilst I was initially sceptical about the applications for online engagement, since discovering Synthetron, a truly unique online platform from Europe which provides dynamic real-time engagement, I’m a convert.
Add my interest in understanding how and why things work (and don’t work) – which led me to undertaking a PhD on the impact of democratic innovations – and my experience with deliberative processes as Project Director at the newDemocracy Foundation, and here I am!
Deliberately Engaging brings together my engagement experience with my commitment to democratic innovations and love of technology.
At Deliberately Engaging we partner governments, member organisations, industry, and research institutions to help you cut through the noise and better understand what your community (be they citizens, customers, members, employees or stakeholders) really value by:
- Providing advice on the design of your next engagement project;
- Recruiting participants for deliberative processes;
- Moderating online engagement sessions using Synthetron; and
- Facilitating engagement processes.
We can also manage your entire engagement project (end-to-end).
When I’m not supporting decision-makers to discover what people really value, I’m researching the impact of democratic innovations.
I look forward to partnering with you – Let’s chat!
Nivek Thompson MALP, LLB, BA is the founder and executive director of Deliberately Engaging.
She is highly experienced in designing, project managing, recruiting and facilitating stakeholder and community engagement processes, and is the authorised representative in Australia and New Zealand for the online crowdsourcing platform, Synthetron.
Prior to founding Deliberately Engaging, Nivek worked in the public and not for profit sectors. Amongst other roles, she was Project Director for the New Democracy Foundation and held senior positions with the NSW Premier’s Department and several line agencies.
Nivek has a special interest in democratic innovations and the application of engagement processes to further the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.7 to enable more responsive, inclusive and participatory decision-making at all levels.
She is an Associate at the Centre for Deliberative Democracy and Global Governance, University of Canberra; an Associate at the Sydney Democracy Network, University of Sydney; and a doctoral candidate at the Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.
She has recently contributed to an OECD working group on institutionalising deliberative processes.
Most recently she has written on “The role of elected representatives in democratic innovations” together with a co-authored contribution (with Parry, L. and Alver, J.) on “Democratic Innovations in Australia” published in the Handbook of Democratic Innovation and Governance (edited by Elstub, S. & Escobar, O.) Edward Elgar Publishing, Cheltenham, UK, 2019.
Nivek is also the host and producer of Real Democracy Now! A podcast where she regularly converses with thought leaders from around the world about democracy and democratic reform. She is also the producer of several other podcast series including Facilitating Public Deliberations.
Nivek is a member of the IAP2A Research Committee and was previously a Board member of IAP2A.
She is the social media co-ordinator for the newDemocracy Foundation.
Daren McDonald MA, BCom (Hons) is a director of Deliberately Engaging.
He has thirty years’ experience in designing, project managing and facilitating stakeholder and community engagement processes, often around complex and politically or industrially sensitive issues.
Prior to joining Deliberately Engaging, Daren held senior management positions in the public and not-for-profit sectors. He has a deep understanding of the processes of government and the dynamics of member-based organisations, and has extensive experience consulting with citizens, industry, customers, members and staff.
Daren has a special interest in governance and the application of engagement processes and innovations to further the UN Sustainable Development Goal 16.6 to build more effective, accountable, transparent and capable institutions at all levels.
He brings to Deliberately Engaging expertise in the design and execution of major change management programs and public policy initiatives and the engagement strategies that have made them a success.
Daren is passionate about safe and meaningful employee engagement to provide decision makers with insights into what people really think and value. He also advises on building more effective teams and capable organisations through staff engagement that lifts employee and organisational self-awareness.
Part of a global team
Deliberately Engaging is the Australian and New Zealand partner of the unique online crowdsourcing platform Synthetron and part of Synthetron’s global team of engagement experts
We provide engagement solutions designed in accordance with the core values of the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) that participation should:
- be based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process;
- include the promise that the participant’s contribution will influence the decision;
- promote sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers;
- seek out and facilitate the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision;
- seek input from participants in designing how they participate;
- provide participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way; and
- communicate to participants how their input affected the decision.
Deliberately Engaging partners with clients to:
- Increase the ownership of participants in their engagement process;
- Improve the return on investment from their engagement budget;
- Strengthen their capability and effectiveness in engaging their communities;
- Enhance their reputation for inclusiveness, transparency and accountability;
- Provide them with deeper and more actionable insights; and
- Produce better outcomes for the people impacted by their decisions.
IAP2 Award Recipient
Deliberative mini-publics recruited by Deliberately Engaging have been recognized in awards bestowed by the International Association of Public Participation (IAP2) for “engagement innovation and social impact”.
Nivek Thompson, Executive Director of Deliberately Engaging and a recipient of the 2019 IAP2 awards for “A Creative Way of Engaging the Community: What does dying well look like and how can we help people achieve this?” – an initiative of the North Western Melbourne Primary Health Network.
We seek to build the capabilities of government, business and civil society to realise the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goal 16 to:
“Ensure responsive, inclusive, participatory and representative decision-making at all levels” and
“Develop effective, accountable and transparent institutions at all levels”