Agile Community Undertakes 24 Hours of Play to Tackle School Budget Priorities

Results of online forums revealed in Every Voice Engaged® Executive Director Luke Hohmann’s Keynote at Agile 2015

Mountain View CA — August 3, 2015 — On July 30, 2015, the Every Voice Engaged® Foundation (EVEF) hosted a 24-hour day-of-play to demonstrate how collaborative techniques that were born from the Agile movement are helping communities around the world tackle wicked and complex problems in the public sector.

The 30-minute online forums were conducted using the Decision Engine game (also known as the Buy a Feature collaboration framework) to illustrate how citizens who care about the education of their children can collaboratively prioritize a school budget. The forum’s content was inspired by a similar series online games that the Every Voice Engaged® Foundation produced in partnership with Opterra Energy for a large California school district in 2013. The forums were open to anyone interested in improving education — parents, educators, business leaders and neighbors. The forum results will be included in Executive Director Luke Hohmann’s Agile 2015 keynote on August 3, “Awesome Superproblems”.

Over the course of 24 hours, there were 11 unmoderated online forums with participants from around the world. The participants’ top priorities, purchased in nearly all of the forums, were:

  • Hiring a grant writer to ensure continued school funding.
  • The funding of a renewable energy & energy savings project, installing solar to reduce costs, while also expanding the district’s common-core aligned science education.
  • Fund a STEM summer institute for teachers, to attract and retain talented teachers, while improving instruction.

Participants, no matter their location, prioritized initiatives that insured the school district would be able to increase funding over time, along with science and technology-focused programs. Initiatives around nutrition, including a new kitchen, were unfunded in 10 of the 11 forums. Laptops and textbooks were also underfunded due to sentiment that the investment wouldn’t be long-lasting.

Because each participant only receives a portion of the total budget in the online forum, participants had to collaborate to select their priorities, providing insight not only into individual priorities but the reasons behind their choices and the conditions or tradeoffs that made these priorities acceptable.

“Effective collaboration is key to tackling complex issues in both the public and private sector,” said Luke Hohmann, Executive Director of Every Voice Engaged and CEO of Conteneo.

“We founded the Every Voice Engaged Foundation to help communities take advantage of the agile practices and methods we had used so successfully to tackle intractable problems in the business world and are proud to have helped communities around the world tackle complex issues in municipal budgeting, urban planning and environmental issues (such as the California drought).”

“The results from the online community building forum on school budget priorities are an example of how collaborative techniques enable ordinary citizens to have an effective voice in their communities, bringing them into the conversation with governments, nonprofits and industry,” continued Hohmann.

The Every Voice Engaged Foundation and its community partners are a sponsor of Agile 2015. Join the EVEF team at its booth on the Exhibit floor to find out more about how you can bring these collaborative techniques to your community. Or join our webinar on September 2, 2015 at 9:00 AM. Sign up at:

About Every Voice Engaged® Foundation
Every Voice Engaged® is a 501(3)(c) nonprofit that helps citizens, governments and nonprofit organizations collaboratively solve problems that are unsolvable without civic engagement. Find out more at