The last Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) was approved in April 2004 covering a broad array of topics. In 2014, through a Strategic Highway Research Program (SHRP) grant, the two agencies were provided the opportunity to take a fresh look at roles, responsibilities and how to best work together. The two agencies hired The Langdon Group (TLG) to help facilitate the process.
The Issue. The challenge for this project was coordinating an effort that involved an inclusive cross section of all involved agencies. In addition to coordinating the statewide workshops, it was important to design them in a way that extracted the right issues, encouraged productive discussions, and resulted in actionable items that could be implemented in a new MOU
Addressing The Issues. Area workshops of ITD District and IDFG Region staff were held in Moscow, Idaho Falls and Boise. Workshop participants also include representatives from the US Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS), Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) and Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC). The full-day workshops featured a morning session of fixed-topic, small-group discussions (Department Mission, Communications and Coordination, Staff Resources) and an afternoon session of “you select” small-group discussions (Data Sharing, Planning and Project Coordination, Road Kill, Wildlife Crossings). All attendees participated in the three morning session topics and in the afternoon participants selected two of the four topics that were most relevant to their job and interests. Discussion topics were determined through key stakeholder interviews conducted by TLG, with ITD and IDFG staff, and vetted through the joint Technical Advisory Committee.
Results and Benefits. Each session featured lively discussion and produced valuable insight and perspective. In total, the workshops produced 175 pages of flipchart notes and 7,800 words. Input ranged from general observations to specific MOU recommendations. TLG worked closely with the two agencies to write a new MOU that is reflective of the needs and interests of those individuals intended to benefit from it.
Unique and memorable. The workshops featured a “World Café” process that allows for group discussions of 6-12 participants, each individually facilitated by the TLG team. The process encourages interaction amongst all participants with the goal of having conversations with everyone in the room.