Monthly Archives: January 2013

As Food Safety Moves to the National Forefront, RESOLVE Launches Second Phase of Forum

Jan 28, 2013

With the release of proposed rules on January 4, the FDA took a major step toward implementing the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA), a 2010 law that overhauls how the agency governs food, moving to a more risk-based food safety system. RESOLVE has been very active on this issue. The Pew Charitable Trusts and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation jointly fund our Collaborative Food Safety Forum (CFSF). The progress on FSMA was front page news in both the New York Times and the Washington Post, and featured quotes from Mike Taylor, Deputy Commissioner for Foods at FDA and our program officer at Pew, Sandra Eskin.

We convened a series of CFSF discussions to engage key stakeholders in rigorous, collaborative, and creative problem-solving and consensus building dialogue to think through ideas for efficient and effective implementation of the law. Phase II of this work is underway with meetings timed to coincide with the roll out of these rules, providing stakeholders an opportunity for collaborative analyses.

The website for the Collaborative Food Safety Forum provides information on the meetings held during Phase One, and will have information as Phase Two unfolds.

RESOLVE also was involved in the design and facilitation of the Pew funded Produce Safety Project, convened by Georgetown University. This project  included a series of five regional meetings that engaged stakeholders, particularly food growers and producers, in discussions on the current science underpinning considerations for improving food safety, particularly the “4 W’s” – water quality, waste management (including use of compost), wildlife, and worker hygiene.  Input from these sessions provided context for the now released proposed rule for produce safety.

- Abby Dilley

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Strategic Planning With Large Groups Using Poll Everywhere

Jan 3, 2013

Collaborative Technology Program Coordinator Jason Gershowitz writes about RESOLVE’s successes using Poll Everywhere technology to get meaningful input from 400 participants in a strategic planning process. His original blog post can be found here.


Strategic Planning With Large Groups Using Poll Everywhere
The Neighbor Dialogue: Engaging 400 Participants in a Meaningful Way for Strategic Planning

How do nearly 400 participants meaningfully contribute to one strategic plan? Not all participants are decision makers, so how can decision makers effectively leverage the experience and ideas of a large group?

Sure, there are a variety of tools that come to mind: individual interviews, surveys, small group discussions, voting, etc. Participation, however, is most valuable when: 1) participants feel their contributions have been heard; and 2) participant contributions actually inform the decision makers. Many established tools don’t always do this.

As RESOLVE’s Collaborative Technology Program Coordinator, it is my job to identify opportunities to enhance decision-making processes using collaborative technology. We don’t come at situations with a one-tool-fits-all approach, but rather a one-approach-fits-all “tool.” Technology is designed for general interactions, and we specialize in evaluating an interaction to select and tailor a technology and engagement process for a specific outcome.

In a 400-participant town hall-style strategic planning process, we tailored Poll Everywhere (PE) to create a Neighbor Dialogue™ – gathering feedback from the large group, providing a space for discussion, and prioritizing that feedback for decision makers. PE allowed each participant to share their sense of the biggest organizational strengths.

  • Using a pre-designed process and Poll Everywhere’s easy “export to word cloud” feature we shared the feedback with the group visually while we crunched statistics.
  • As our facilitation team explained the word cloud results and participants digested the feedback from their fellow respondents, we prepared the next poll, which included the ten most commonly mentioned strengths from the previous poll. Participants used the second poll to select their top strength from the list.
  • Through this iterative method, we were able to identify the large group’s vision of their organization’s top three strengths and then use this input to drive the facilitated discussion forward.

The meeting was very successful, identifying focus areas for subsequent discussions and generating buy-in from the larger community in the strategic planning process. Poll Everywhere enabled our team to collect feedback from 400 people, funnel feedback into priorities, and gather specific ideas about those priorities, while compressing the process into a two-hour high-energy meeting. These participants moved from “being informed” to “informing the process” – or taking part in meaningful engagement.

To learn more about our Technology Assessment approach, check out our Integrating Collaborative Technology Webinar Training Series.

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