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Virtual Reality
  Facilitation and Public Participation

Democritus team members are experienced in both the running of "traditional" public participation programmes for major developments, and in the use of the Integrated Values Approach to aid decision-making for specific interventions and for organisational development.

Globally legislative obligations are reinforcing and entrenching the inclusion of the community in planning, environmental and development processes, and in municipal governance. The importance of well-managed and facilitated public participation processes is being recognised as critical to the success of sustainable development projects.

Gaining profitable contributions from participative decision-making processes requires specialised techniques and methodologies in order to ensure focus on what is required, and in order to ensure efficient extraction of clearly defined outputs from a variety of people with different worldviews and paradigms.

This must be done while recognising the ultimate importance of providing equitable opportunity for all people to contribute. However, at the same time participatory processes must not result in extensive, costly and unprofitable "talk shops". The abundance of poorly designed and managed participative processes has unfortunately led, in some quarters at least, to attitudes of resistance to participation. Democritus has extensive experience of managing PPP's both in the areas of environmental impact assessments and in development planning. As mentioned elsewhere, we also use Virtual Reality as a valuable component of the PPP process, where applicable.

Democritus also has capacity to contribute to decision-making and organisational development through the use of a number of powerful and economical facilitation tools. One such tool is the Integrative Values Approach. This is founded on the integrated application of the methodologies and technologies of Value Management and Gravesarian Human Value Systems. Through the application of this tool suitable institutional arrangements can be efficiently established and run to prevent time wasting and non-productivity and ensure the best application of limited resources.

With the creation of appropriate working teams, workshops, and general and special meetings participants can collaboratively establish and clearly define their own terms of reference with commonly agreed objectives. Participants are then lead through the structured decision making process in order to derive a holistic and complete understanding of the desired future position.

The participants are then directed into functional thinking to collectively identify and prioritise the way the objective will be attained. Innovative solutions from creative and critical thinking result in realistic and implementable plans of action.

The outcome of the IVA is collective and comprehensive decision-making to establish the most suitable solutions for achieving the identified objective at the best cost that enhances performance, reliability and quality.