February 3, 2014

How do your programs create public value?

In the Building Extension's Public Value workshop, we highlight three main ways Extension programs create public value. Programs address concerns about fairness, close an information gap, or encourage actions that benefit the greater community (or equivalently, discourage actions that impose costs on the community). Each of these can be thought of as a criterion or justification for public sector involvement. In my experience, most Extension programs focus on the third type of value creation and base their public value message on the ways a program encourages beneficial activities.

During a recent a webinar for University of Minnesota Extension, we conducted an onscreen poll asking which of the three criteria participants thought applied to their programs. Respondents could choose any criterion that applied, including choosing all three. Out of about 32 participants, five thought their programs addressed a concern about fairness, and both the information gap and public benefits criteria received 20 votes.

We can't generalize from this non-scientific poll, but I wondered about the lack of attention to the fairness criterion. In the workshop, I encourage program teams to use this criterion with caution. Whether the unfairness of a situation warrants public sector action is subjective, and stakeholders with different values may assess fairness differently. So, I think Extension makes a more effective case when it uses the fairness criterion selectively. For this reason, I wasn't surprised by the small number of responses for fairness. I wondered, though, whether it arose because respondents thought their programs did not address a concern about fairness, or if they thought the program did address fairness, but they planned to emphasize a different criterion in order to make a stronger case.

Do you think a relatively small share of Extension programs address a fairness concern? Which criterion would you have chosen for the Extension programs you work with?

October 14, 2013

Working Differently in Extension Podcast

Interested in a short introduction to "Building Extension's Public Value"? Check out this Working Differently in Extension Podcast, featuring a conversation between Bob Bertsch of Agricultural Communication at North Dakota State University and me. If you'd like to actually see us converse, check out the video of the podcast below.

May 5, 2011

Hear about Extension's Public Value

Looking for a primer on the "Building Extension's Public Value" workshop? Listen to the recording of a one-hour webinar I presented last week for the North Central Regional Center for Rural Development (NCRCRD). Go to the NCRCRD's webinar archives, and click on the link for my April 28 session. Then come back here and let me know what you think. Did the webinar answer your questions? Or leave you needing more information?ncrcrd.bmp

August 29, 2008

What does building public value sound like?

This week, the Extension 2.0 web course is focusing on adding audio to our blogs by embedding podcasts. I searched through iTunes for podcasts that might be relevant for the "Building Extension's Public Value" blog, and I didn't find much. I did find podcasts for hearings held by committees in the MN House of Representatives, and I imagine some hearings that are related to Extension would be interesting to link to here.

I do think it could be helpful to include in the blog some recordings from public value workshops. People who have taken my online train-the-trainer course, but who have not had a chance to present a public value workshop themselves, might benefit from hearing some of the workshop modules presented by an experienced trainer. Perhaps, too, a recording of workshop participants delivering their own draft public value messages would be helpful here.

What other audio files would make this blog more useful?