Meeting in a Box is meeting designed for community groups, neighborhood associations, co-workers, or friends to gather at a convenient time and location to share their opinions on the Imagine 2040 Plan created by the Hillsborough Planning Commission.
Benefits & Problems Addressed
Wider participation in the visioning and planning process: Many people cannot attend conventional community outreach forums that are often held at night or on weekends.
A convener for small group learning and discussion: The kit spurs a collaborative approach for shared learning, variety of opinions and methods for input.
Tips & Techniques
Background: The Meeting in a Box “kit” contains everything needed to hold your own 30 minute discussion including instruction sheets for the host, discussion questions, worksheets for participant responses, the Imagine 2040 paper-based survey, and directions for recording and returning responses
There are two kits, one for a host and the other for participants.
Components: The host kit includes a (1) sample agenda, (2) instructions for preparation, (3) a facilitation guide, and (4) a sheet to compile discussion results. The participant kit includes (1) introductory short answer questions, (2) background information on community statistics and trends, (3) three future options and analysis on “How should we grow? (4) an image-rich policy matrix for homes, jobs, and transportation, and (5) resources. The final two pages presented questions and a preferences graph to denote the participant’s preferred ideas for the plan.
Using kiosks: Plan Hillsborough also presented surveys on mobile kiosks that were located in high traffic areas and during a four month-long “road show.”
Using a Meeting in a Box during COVID: The kits were developed pre-COVID but can also be useful for outreach strategies in a time of social distancing and virtual meetings. Communities may want to promote the kit for virtual get togethers using interactive tools.
Hot Buttons: The kits assume participants have ready access to computers, tablets, and color printers. The kits were also only available in English.