Tool to build trust between industry and communities expands

For businesses negotiating their presence in a community, building up a base of local trust can be key to a long-term, successful operation.

CSIRO has released a new commercial business, Voconiq, to expand the science agency’s community insights service.

Giving businesses better data on community attitudes at a more precise range of levels, the tool provides updates in real-time for the benefit of both businesses and communities.

While the project was initially developed with support from the mining and resources sector, CSIRO sees the tool as being applicable in all sectors.

“More businesses will be able to draw on CSIRO-developed science through Voconiq, who can grow their service to benefit more communities, the resources sector and any other industry where community trust is essential to their business,” said CSIRO mineral resources director, Jonathan Law.

Voconiq draws upon multiple data points such as community engagement and community surveys, and analyses and reports its findings in an accessible format for companies to act upon.

Known as a “social licence”, the trust that communities place in corporations and businesses can be affected by multiple factors and if damaged, can be detrimental to a business’s operations through delays, interference, or even sabotage.

According to CEO of Voconiq, Kieren Moffat, the tool allows companies to act in a new way that does not base itself upon transactional arrangements.

“Our service enables companies to systematically understand the complex sets of issues and concerns held by communities, while providing communities with a constructive way to have a voice and influence company decision-making,” said Moffat.

Previously, Voconiq was CSIRO’s Reflexivity community insights service. Through support from the agency’s accelerator, ON, the system and technology was able to be commercialised and expanded.