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School of Environment, Education and Development

Ketso: A hands on kit for creative stakeholder engagement

Ketso is a hands-on kit for creative engagement, evolving from University of Manchester research alongside a variety of stakeholders and organisations.

Ketso, an award-winning social business, transforms creativity and learning in communities and organisations

Dr Tippett
In 2011, Dr Tippett was awarded a 2011 AESOP Teaching Excellence Prize in part due to the innovation of Ketso in teaching.

Ketso was launched as a University spin-off company in 2009, and was awarded a commendation for its 'contribution to positive community engagement' by the Royal Town Planning Institute (RTPI) North West in 2013.

Ketso offers a structured way to run a stakeholder workshop, using re-useable coloured shapes to capture everyone's ideas.

It has been used by more than 450 unique customers (around 22,000 participants), spanning 48 countries.

Our research

88% of Ketso users reported ‘substantive benefits’ from using the toolkit (graphic in white text on a grey background)
88% of Ketso users reported ‘substantive benefits’ from using the toolkit.

Ketso emerged from ESRC funded research that sought to develop and evaluate a systems-based approach to supporting participation in integrated river catchment planning. Each component of the Ketso toolkit was designed to embody a key principle of community engagement or creative thinking, which was identified and subsequently tested through the research.

The research showed that the visual and tactile approach at the heart of Ketso enables participants to build a shared picture of their thinking, and to see ideas from different perspectives.

From its roots in community planning, Ketso has proceeded to demonstrate clear beneficial impacts in: environment, health and wellbeing, social inclusion, business development and education (with over 100 documented case studies).

In an anonymous survey of customers (2012), 88% said Ketso has produced ‘substantive benefits’ for their organisation, with Ketso seen as more inclusive than traditional methods (e.g. flip-charts and sticky notes, world café or meetings).

Benefits of the initial research and subsequent Ketso toolkit:

Creativity and innovation

Ketso has been used in 35 countries (35 graphic in white text overlaying a map of the world)
Ketso has been used in 35 countries.

89% of Ketso customers agreed that “Ketso has helped us to be more creative / see things from a different perspective”. The Head of Integration at the Scottish Refugee Council comments that: “Ketso is unique in its ability to not only surface new thoughts but also to provide a credible and traceable evidence base for recommendations that emerge from consultation”.

Shared Learning

In 2011, Dr Tippett was awarded a 2011 AESOP Teaching Excellence Prize in part due to the innovation of Ketso in teaching.

Improved engagement

The RTPI NW award for “positive contribution to community engagement” was based on the experiences of users – such as the Social Marketing Officer at South Lanarkshire Community Links – who commented: “Using the Ketso toolkit gives those using it a ‘voice’ and the leaves acts like giving each participant a ‘microphone’ to use as a platform for discussion.”

Commitment and action

A plan developed with local residents using Ketso led to the transformation of Moston Vale into a country park, with £1.7 million of funding granted from the Newlands Project (North West Development Agency and Forestry Commission).

Effective and enjoyable meetings

A customer survey revealed that: “Outside partners have described our meetings as fun and highly productive.”

Key people

Further information