Companies and governments invest time and budgets in building positive relationships with customers and constituents. When the work plays a crucial role in the quality of life, new projects can be difficult to begin. A foundation in positive stakeholder engagement is critical.
Even the best ideas can languish without public support and funding. Moving from early planning into design and construction requires a foundation in positive stakeholder engagement.
Building that foundation can take many forms — and in today's economic climate — a serious examination of the economic benefits of a proposed initiative can be used as a focal point upon which to build support.
"Economic analysis can be a powerful tool in demonstrating a project's potential for creating positive change in a community," says Julie Lorenz, senior strategic consultant for Burns & McDonnell. "Whether the project's effects will be job creation or retention, improving the tax base or increasing economic competitiveness, a three-pronged approach will be most effective in gathering the desired support."
First, stakeholders need to know your initiative solves an important problem and improves their lives. Second, they need to have the opportunity to shape the solutions, to the extent possible. And in terms of economic analysis, the data must be meaningful to your stakeholders and the results must be framed in terms that resonate.
This focus is nothing new to Lorenz, who joined Burns & McDonnell in early 2011 with the goal of helping clients develop strategies that will move their ideas forward. Her experience includes a primary role in securing an $8.2 billion, 10-year funding program for the Kansas Department of Transportation, resulting largely from stakeholder collaboration and a focus on economic impact analysis.
"The key is developing and using a collaborative process," Lorenz says. "Your stakeholders need to see how the process involves them in shaping the decision. That's the key to building support."
For more information, contact Julie Lorenz, 816-822-3195
Download our white paper on using economic impact analysis at www.burnsmcd.com/transstrategy.
Read more in our cover story, "Projects in the Public Eye."