Focus on mitigating the major risks, rather over-officiating the unlikely (comet strike) or minor risks. This considered approach might help to set your place onto a positive spiral of improvement.
One of the most common issues we see is the frustration and challenges associated with taking action to improve a #place. It could be installing a new #parklet, organising a local event, painting a mural, planting trees, extending alfresco areas, or – shock horror – allocating space to people over cars.
Most people don’t even think about it – it’s assumed to be too hard, not even possible or not really their role. The brave ones who do try are often presented with reams of well-intentioned forms and processes to complete. This soon cools their enthusiasm and sometimes either prevents them from continuing or making them think long and hard about ever attempting to do something similar in future.
The common focus on mitigating or preventing minor risks helps to breed massive risks, including loss of trust, disengagement, apathy and inertia. The area is likely to continue to spiral down until activists or groups demand that “the government do something about it”. It is difficult to create wins in this kind of negative, reactionary environment.
The positive place spiral begins not with a massive restructure or new strategic direction, it begins with smart government officials saying “Yes, if …” rather than “No you can’t” if they see a positive #doer acting with good intentions. This might help create a small win, which builds confidence and helps people to see that they can act and make a difference. Without this belief planted in the minds of at least some local citizens, governments will be faced with ever-increasing demands to “do something about X”.
Mitigating risk is important, but make sure you are focused on managing the major risks – the loss of trust and confidence in government and institutions, ever-increasing demands on government, steep declines on volunteering and active citizenship for example. These are mega risks and should help put minor risks like trip hazards into context.
Want some more help on treading this balance, please let us know!