Open dialogue increases trust and improves decisions

Good decisions require constant dialogue between different actors in society. The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment set out to develop its cooperation with its stakeholders and put dialogue at the heart of all their activities.

Client: The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment

Date: 2018–2020

Why was the work done?

Societal problems are becoming increasingly complex. Good decision-making requires that the key groups and people are involved in preparing the decisions – including those whose voices are easily left unheard. A ministry talking openly and continuously with its stakeholders increases trust. Dialogue is also a way to ensure that decisions are based on the best available information. However, the pace of decision-making is fast, so new means of interaction need to fit into busy day-to-day work effortlessly and naturally.

The Ministry for Economic Affairs and Employment wanted to better identify what kind of wishes for cooperation its stakeholders have. It also wanted to introduce new means for both face-to-face and virtual encounters at different stages of preparation.

What did we do?

First, we thoroughly mapped out the starting point. We spoke with both stakeholders and officials: we collected experiences and new ideas and identified the barriers to good cooperation. We solved challenges and further developed good practices in a joint workshop with officials and stakeholders. 

The ministry established an internal interaction pool to support the interaction. We trained its members to be versatile interactors who support their colleagues in designing and executing stakeholder engagement.

We condensed the teachings and tools of dialogue into a set of rules for the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment’s stakeholder interaction, which support the officials in planning their everyday interaction. The theses and claims were put to the test when we tried out the interaction methods in four of the ministry’s projects.

How did it go?

The Ministry of Economic Affairs and Employment and its management is committed to developing its stakeholder cooperation. It’s a large ministry with a broad administrative sector, so changes do not happen in an instant. The feedback from stakeholders has been encouraging, and particularly the strong interaction at the start of different projects has received a lot of praise.

The ministry has boldly adopted new methods and invited stakeholders to discuss timely topics through means of dialogue, for example. The coronavirus crisis sped up the introduction of digital participation methods. At their best, the ministry’s discussion events have gathered nearly a thousand participants.

It’s really good to continue, focus and go deeper from here. Now we only have to concretise the different procedures to take things forward. I myself learned a great deal from this kind of facilitation method.

An official’s experience of the dialogical event

Cooperation with Kaskas Media ran smoothly throughout the project. The project was designed professionally and the project management was impeccable. It made development easy for us and we quickly achieved visible results.

Tiina Kairistola, head of communications, TEM

Other similar works by us

We have also developed a dialogue with stakeholders in the Ministry of the Environment in 2018–2019.