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Strategic Planning is Easier with Audience Response Systems

Missouri Department of Natural Resources utilizes interactive polling software and response devices to explore and assess natural resources.

Ginny Wallace is a Planner with the Office of the Director at the Missouri Department of Natural Resources. One of her responsibilities is to collect input from people through the organization and facilitation of discussions, processes and strategic planning. The state agency assesmbles information in a variety of settings from intimate meetings with various stakeholder organizations to the coordination of focus groups and conferences to gather input on any number of initiatives and potential actions.

"Feedback is a valuable tool that helps us as an agency evaluate public perception on environmental issues affecting Missouri as well as provide direction on key action items," said Wallace. With information important to MDNR's mission, Ginny wanted to explore different opportunities on how the agency could gather instant data that was highly accurate in an effort to generate comprehensive discussions.

MDNR had already implemented TurningPoint interactive polling software and audience response clickers in some of its divisions, but not to the capacity to collect and evaluate data within the Office of the Director. For Ginny, it was a great opportunity since she had previous experience using the solutions while working for a private consulting firm. The addition of TurningPoint opened up the possibilities to create diverse and impactful presentations that resulted in immediate and detailed feedback from participants who felt comfortable in an anonymous and safe polling environment.

"TurningPoint is very effective in the fact users like seeing their outcomes along with the view point of others and that allows them to engage in more in depth discussion," said Wallace. "I've been involved in a lot of discussions where the original purpose of the meeting was never reached, but with the software, we can ask a question and people vote and see the results in an unbiased fashion, which moves the process forward." Participants can see their opinions are being valued, which makes them more inclined to provide additional insight. The technology has also been utilized for conferences to assess and prioritize focus areas within MDNR.

MDNR continues to use Turning Technologies' solutions in a variety of ways. One example is the agency utilized the technology to gather input from the department's division directors and other executive staff on developing a new mission statement. 

"Instead of spending a great deal of time talking through each version of the mission statement, we were able to conveniently incorporate all of the examples with TurningPoint and assess instant feedback on which one the directors liked best," said Wallace. There's also been a significant increase in staff members wanting to train and learn how to use the software and response devices.