When the opportunity arose to be involved with and contribute to the Next Generation Engagement Project out of the University of Melbourne, we just had to say yes. When Project Director Kirsty O’Connell tells me that almost $20 billion in largely tax-payer funded infrastructure projects have been delayed, cancelled or completed and then mothballed over the past decade in Australia, then Delib wants to meet this challenge and be involved.

For a long time, there’s been a need in Australia for multiple disciplines who engage with their stakeholders to contribute in one place and to one strategy. And the Next Generation Project is providing that opportunity. With Dr Sara Bice and Project Director Kirsty O’Connell steering this project, and the industry support evident by the sponsors and partners the project has already attracted, it’s clear the industry at large believes the time is right to have a constructive conversation about the future of engagement in the industry.

It is bringing together various entities and organisations who may not have been able to coordinate a project of this scale and calibre. This project is starting and capturing a meaningful conversation that we are really happy to be a part of.

Dialogue is being used by the Next Generation Project team to identify various challenges and pressure points. Dialogue is allowing participants to contribute from anywhere, in whatever way they choose: providing feedback, commenting, asking questions or simply sharing on their social media. Meaningful contributions can be shared no matter the participants field of expertise and level of knowledge.

Throughout the Next Generation Project, Dialogue will be used in the digital space as the community meeting “butcher’s paper” – the feedback is visual and respondents can see their ideas and thoughts contributing to solutions and answers. It allows ideas identified in the room during discussion to be visible to the entire community immediately. And in turn it allows ideas from outside the room to be discussed face-to-face.

This is an opportunity for the collective to come together regardless of location, industry experience, profession or level of involvement in infrastructure projects.

It’s an opportunity to identify the issues that currently challenge us and provide feedback and commentary for other ideas. All of this is being done with the collective goal of improving the outcomes for all in the infrastructure industry.

I am personally looking forward to highlighting the opportunity and reward that the digital space provides for an engagement project of this scale in Australia and the learnings that arise for the international infrastructure community.