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EP #117 Harvesting and Hosting Conversations

In today’s GovComms episode we welcome Ian Andersen, who throughout his 35 years of active service at the European Commission focused on improving communication for Europeans.

As discussed with the podcast host David Pembroke, within Ian’s role as Participatory innovation adviser, Ian aimed to create real engagement in co-creation with stakeholders.


This was reflected even in the online format discussions during COVID-19. David and Ian also discuss Ian’s journey as an Interpreter. He explains that intuition, a deep understanding of your mother tongue, and an understanding of conversational language, contribute greatly to the success of an interpreter. As Ian puts it in the episode, “only by really focusing on listening will we get to results that are sustainable”.

Ian sheds light on the importance of getting everyone involved in policy-making discussions. He states that by working in a participatory policy-making framework, the level of openness reduces lobbyists, and is the most productive way of involving stakeholders. Ian states, through this listening process, stakeholders “can collectively arrive at much more refined solutions than they would be able to produce by simply providing a position on white paper.”

The pair end the latter part of their discussion with a focus on how to effectively harvest and host conversations.

Discussed in this episode:

  • Why communication is leadership made flesh
  • How to develop your listening skills
  • Hosting and harvesting conversations

About the Author

Following 35 years of active service at the European Commission, Ian Andersen retired in July of this year. His final role at the European Commission was as Participatory innovation adviser which involved consulting on participatory processes with th...