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‘Bling’ and the art of impact assessment

Verheem, R.A., Morrison-Saunders, A. and Arts, J. (2007) ‘Bling’ and the art of impact assessment. In: IAIA07 Growth, Conservation and Responsibility: Promoting Good Governance and Corporate Stewardship Through Impact Assessment, 27th annual meeting of the International Association for Impact Assessment, 3 - 4 June, Seoul, Korea

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The various branches of the impact assessment tree have progressed rapidly in the last decades. They have become more scientifically sound, technically advanced and socially skilled. However, one issue has not advanced a lot: image and – linked to that – influence.

IA started as a technical tool of specialists, not attracting a lot of attention of the ‘people that matter’ – i.e., those in power, elected, making a difference (top-level civil servants, captains of industry, ministers). To them, IA is something their employees do to fulfill obligations. However, we have learned that the people in charge need to be committed to the IA process, from the early start. To make a difference and overcome resistance, agenda setting, issue filtration, using windows of opportunity and timely communication are needed. Key question then is: how to achieve this?

The authors argue that IA specialists need to combine forces with those arts and skills that have been underrepresented in IA, such as writers, artists, PR and marketing specialists. Key objective is to put sufficient ‘bling’ into IA to attract (new) audiences. Options range from Bono to videos, from storytelling to pin ups and from blogs to virtual communities.

Item Type: Conference Paper
Murdoch Affiliation(s): School of Environmental Science
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