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Knoxville Regional
Transportation Planning Organization

400 Main St, Suite 403
Knoxville, TN 37902

email: contact@planeasttn.org
phone: (865) 215-2500
fax: (865) 215-2068

New Technologies Push PlanET Forums Beyond the Average Public Meeting

Posted 04/17/2012

Gone are the flips charts, color-markers and sticky notes used for decades. Laptops, LCD projectors and keypad voting are the new standard for collecting public input

If you attended the Plan East Tennessee Regional Forum Series 1 events, you know that technology played a central role in gathering participants’ ideas. The same technology that was used to identify and prioritize East Tennessee’s top strengths and challenges at the first round of PlanET forums, will again be employed at Forum Series 2 as the focus shifts to the future and visions for 2040 are discussed.

PlanET consultant PlaceMatters is an industry leader in employing technology to facilitate public input sessions. Last November, PlaceMatters previewed new software called Brainstorm Anywhere and citizens used it to help submit and prioritize thousands of ideas during the Forum Series 1 events. Participants found the software particularly useful and nearly 90% stated the technology was a beneficial part of their forum experience.

Brainstorm Anywhere is a web-based tool that allows groups of 8-10 participants to gather around tables and work together to create, sort, and prioritize lists of ideas about their community and region. The top ideas generated at each table are then presented to all meeting attendees for voting using another emerging technology, electronic polling.

Keypad voting uses a small, wireless polling device that lets meeting participants vote on the top ideas emerging from small group discussions. Typical voting asks respondents to select their top three ideas presented from a list of the most popular concepts. After each question is presented, results are immediately displayed on large screens allowing participants to develop both a clear understanding of the community’s ideas and its preferences for a future direction.

PlanET Forum 2 events are scheduled for April 23-28, 2012. For dates and times, visit the project website at http://www.planeasttn.org.

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