Researching & communicating complexity


“Liz has an amazing capacity to pull together data from all angles and help make it relevant, understandable and accessible” Joel Levin. Aha Consulting. Perth.

Since moving back to WA in January 2015, I’ve had the good fortune to work with another great consultant, Joel Levin of Aha Consultancy, here in Perth.

Joel has done amazing work in community engagement and organisation excellence  and it was a pleasure working with him.

Joel asked me to do a number of things:

  • look at a 1 day workshop he had designed for local police teams on community engagement and place making
  • do further research on these topics to inform the workshop
  • help create a practical handbook for participants on the day

I love research and was able to find excellent papers and guidelines on these topics.

I also expanded my search to include:

  • specific information on DOC  [design out crime] policies and practices internationally, in Australia and in WA
  • how local authorities were including DOC in their crime prevention plans

You can imagine the web of information that arose

One of the results of the initial research [apart from a morass of information] was a visual mapping that I created to make some meta sense of all the information.

As I was gathering the information I kept thinking of the participants in the workshop and one of the key things I felt they would want was practical information they could apply to their work as well as some conceptual framework to hang all the tools on.

I see my job as a curator of information and creating patterns from the complexity THEN putting it all in a practical context for people

I met with Joel and in one hour we had idea stormed a whole new structure and flow for the day based on my initial research. I can’t tell you what a buzz it is throwing around ideas, challenging each other and yes – having Aha moments when things just jelled.

That was just the start!

I went away and began working on the structure and content of the workbook.

Many hours/days later I had created a good draft that not only had a clear flow but had custom designed checklists and tools.

Joel was delighted and then spent time editing my draft as he got feedback from his client.

I did some more research and gathered many practical applications regarding community policing as well as some good practice guidelines.

I learn something every time I do a piece of work

I now know a lot more about place making & community engagement within a policing context.

This piece of work reinforced how much I enjoy working with bright, engaged and value driven clients.

Thanks Joel.

I will be adding some of my key references to this post as well as some of my idea mapping visuals.

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