Frequently Asked Questions

Informed engagement is the way we help the North Carolina address its public problems. Here are some frequently asked questions about our approach:
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Why Collaboration?

At IEI we believe that when individuals and groups of stakeholders come together, with shared purpose and a common agenda, they will produce outcomes that none could produce through singular effort.

How will the Emerging Issues Commons advance the approach?

The Emerging Issues Commons uses technology to offer individuals, groups and organizations in North Carolina more opportunities to participate in decisions in which they have an interest or that affect them.

What does IEI mean by “Community?”

For IEI community may be defined by a place and/or a set of interests. Depending on our topics, we may focus more on one than the other.

What does IEI mean by “Stakeholder?”

An individual, organization or group that will be affected by, has an interest in, or has the ability to affect decision making about a particular issue.

What has IEI found to be the most difficult part of its work?

Interestingly, IEI has found the process of defining the problem to be more difficult than reaching consensus about and implementing responsive strategies. Important issues represent multiple interests, each with their own way of defining the problem. IEI’s challenge is to help them all frame a collective definition in which they can see their interests being addressed.

What are the three biggest challenges to the IEI?

Guarding against superficiality – Given our model of taking on a new issue each year, there is limited time to deal with issues. We often leave implementation to other partners, but will need to increase our capacity to report ongoing progress so that those less intimately involved are not left with the impression that we have “dropped the ball” on the issue.

Moving against the tide of polarization-North Carolina, like the rest of the country is becoming a more polarized state. IEI challenge is to continue to draw diverse interests to a common table in order to facilitate an authentic consensus-based process. If we fail to reach important interests and voices, we will have failed to move North Carolina forward on important issues.

Engaging new generations of leaders- IEI is learning that younger leaders expect to function in a more technology enabled environment. It is the way the work, live and play’ and, it is the way the engage. In part, the Emerging Issues Commons is designed to help IEI better use technology in all its work, and to allow it dramatically extend its online presence. North Carolina’s history was built on how its people responded to opportunities – and so will its future. IEI is here to help find those hidden opportunities.