On October 2nd our CEO and Founder, Andrew Angus, had the opportunity to speak at the Ontario Professional Planners Institute (OPPI) Conference for Healthy Communities and Planning in a Digital Age. Check out the information below if you didn’t get the chance to attend or want to hear more about his presentation.
Starting in a small town in Ontario, slow internet and lack of resources forced Switch to move to the booming metropolis of Collingwood, Ontario (population: 19,500). Faster internet, more resources, and a more robust team was a sign meant we were growing and requiring even more resources. Having clients in the US and benefitting from a presence in Silicon Valley, Andrew decided to make the move to San Francisco, which provides more resources and faster internet.
Our journey is a good example of what planners do, they help plan and encourage buy in from stakeholders for potential infrastructures to meet the needs of its municipal residents and affected businesses. Planners help manage the dialogue of a project and build a story that their respective constituents can buy into – ultimately requiring some of the same qualities as our staff to craft a relatable story that people feel good about. A story can help a planner get buy-in and connect with people. Planners need to be able to tell their stories to companies, communities, and industries.
Without having a story to share, people have a tendency to misunderstand the plan.They haven’t seen how upcoming changes to their communities can better their lives.Throughout history people have been resistant to change – like the the automobile, the telephone, and even the never-ending changes made to the Facebook news feed. Being resistant to change creates a challenge for the planners having to convince stakeholders there is real value in something the general public may be against. It’s easier for stakeholders to believe in something when the community also believes in the same vision. A story can help bring these visions to life and allow both stakeholders and the community to see true value to these changes.
Consider what happened to Google Street-View when it “invaded Germany”. The lack of communication created hostility against Google. The public was confused as to why their their privacy was being invaded by Street-View. They couldn’t understand or grasp the concept of why pictures and recordings were constantly being taken and how this would benefit anyone. Had Google communicated how Google Street-View would improve their lives, people may have been more on board. The community would’ve been able to share their concerns, ask questions, and get comfortable to this foreign concept of Google street cars driving around and taking pictures.
Communities are constantly changing to improve the efficiency, lifestyle, and safety of the public. These planning reports are presented in pages of pages of copy text that no one ends up reading. With video, planners can turn their reports into a story and use metaphors to connect with the audience on how upcoming changes will impact the community.
Planning reports are a perfect opportunity where video is more effective than an actual written report. Video can easily be shared with different communities, placed on the planning report site, and shared on various social media outlets to get people excited and involved. All people need to do is press play and watch.
You don’t need to be a planner to utilize these types of videos. They’re also beneficial instances like propositions when election time rolls around. Here is an example of video used to explain to citizens how active transportations can benefit a community.