Leslie Watson, Board Member

Northeast Investment Cooperative, Twin Cities, MN

Participation by all stakeholders is a fundamental force in cooperatives and other democratic organizations. The International Cooperative Alliance states in their Blueprint for a Cooperative Decade that “Participation is once again becoming one of the cooperative sector’s most valuable assets.” Leslie Watson, a board leadership consultant with CDS Consulting Co-op and a board member of the Northeast Investment Cooperative in Minneapolis, Minn., talks in this video about how participation is defined, and simple steps organizations can take to implement it.

“Understanding participation better is to our advantage,” Watson said, and she suggests considering different levels of engagement that range from deliberative to inclusive that can potentially build shared resources and community capital. In this video, she outlines four steps to greater participation, including:

  • Getting clear on a purpose
  • Designing a process that fits
  • Building trust with participants
  • Harvesting, evaluating, and reporting back

“This framework can help us think through some of these very simplified steps for designing an engagement process,” Watson said. “If you do it well, you’ll make much better decisions.”

“This framework can help us think through some of these very simplified steps for designing an engagement process.”
—Leslie Watson

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