I've explored the role of games in consultation before, but never bringing together the mix of playful real-world games, person-to-person interaction, and digital consultation and dialogue in quite the way that the process Kevin Harris describes in this recent blog post on 'Community engagement by treasure hunt'.
Kevin combined a quiz-book based treasure hunt around the site of the library due to be redeveloped with opportunities to speak to architects, chances to text-in ideas and an invitation to record reflections in the quiz-book. Kevin writes:
A key advantage of the treasure hunt was that it avoided those inactive â€˜poolsâ€™ and conceptual congestion that you can get, where people stand around repeating the same points based on their own advance agenda. We have tried in the consultation exercises so far to be clear about what is negotiable and what is not, to avoid the risk that people get frustrated asking for something that is not on offer for whatever reason.
Another point is to see it more in terms of engagement than consultation. The exercise was only partially about the latter and we hold no presumptions about the depth of comment to be found in the eBooks and certainly not in the SMS exercise. These devices and processes are part of the mix of engagement which goes on and hopefully will strengthen and bear fruit
The whole excercise looks like a brilliant exercise in creative and playful consultation, building the constraints of a process in from the start, and equipping people with ongoing tools for future dialogue.
I'll certainly be looking at how I can learn from this sort of creative consultation in future.