Monday, February 14, 2011

We Want To Hear From You. Really.

One theme I have touched on several times in this blog is the need for organizations in our field to begin using contemporary methods of collaboration and public participation.

The era of small groups of people making decisions in closed door sessions that have profound and lasting impact on those we serve is rapidly coming to an end, thanks to the proliferation of Social Media and Web 2.0 tools. I for one welcome this change.

We are certainly trying to explore these new tools at Imagine! so we can better reach, engage with, and serve our community.

Here’s our latest example:

Each year, Imagine! hosts a community forum to encourage all of our stakeholders, including consumers, family members, donors, providers, representatives from funding agencies, and the community at large to meet with us and let us know what they think. If they have questions, concerns, or comments about what is happening at Imagine! and would like to know where we are headed, this is one way we try to solicit feedback.

This year’s event is scheduled for next Tuesday, February 22, from 5:45 to 6:45 PM at Imagine!’s John M. Taylor Conference Center.  Representatives from Imagine!’s staff and Board of Directors will be on hand to answer questions and receive input.

But of course, not everybody will be able to attend the forum in person. People have busy lives and it is not always easy to fit something like this into already packed schedules. That is why this year, we are offering several ways for people to take part in our forum using some new online tools.

For those who can’t attend in person, the event will be streamed live – you can access the live streaming by clicking here. Not only will you be able to listen in to the forum, you’ll also be able to follow along with the PowerPoint I will be creating as part of the forum. And we’ll capture that live stream and PowerPoint presentation and leave it up on the Imagine! website after the forum is over, so they can be accessed any time by interested parties using the same link.

We’ve also set up a way for people who can’t attend to still participate beyond just listening to the live stream. Click here and you’ll be taken to an online form that will allow you to submit your questions remotely either before the forum or during the forum. You can submit the questions anonymously if you prefer. You can also let us know if you’d prefer to be answered directly, rather than during the event.

Or, to make it even simpler, just leave a comment or question on this blog post and I’ll respond to that as well. You can also do that anonymously if you prefer.

I encourage anyone interested in helping to shape the future direction of Imagine!, or asking a question about services, or just saying “good job” to take part in our forum using one of the methods I listed above. You don’t have to reside in our service area, either. We really want to hear from you!

To help guide your comments and questions, here are a few key subjects that will be discussed during the forum:

Colorado budget issues and their impact on services:

It is no secret that Colorado has a $1 billion shortfall next fiscal year. We plan to have a picture on Tuesday of how this will likely effect services for citizens with developmental disabilities from early intervention through adult services.

The shape of service delivery in the future:

We know our current funding sources are not sustainable. We also know we cannot rely on the State’s current system of support to address the growing need of people who need support. There are alternatives that need to be explored such as remote monitoring systems, practical use of available technologies, flexible use of current resources, and improved long term planning.

State Conflict of Interest Task Force:

The Task Force has completed its work including a report of recommendations. The State Departments of Human Services and Health Care Policy and Financing have indicated their desire to move forward with their Task Force’s recommendation. We believe it is in the best interest of all who receive case management services from Imagine! to fully understand the implications (both positive and negative) of those recommendations.

I hope that this is just the beginning of Imagine!’s use of new online tools that will allow for greater collaboration among all of those we serve and who are impacted by what we do. I can only see positive benefits from more input from stakeholders as we move forward in these challenging times.

Then again, what do I know?

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