The survey, which we ran from 24th October to 2nd December, showed clearly that the most active group of our stakeholders are those who are looking for information about funding programmes and research and innovation.
40% of you who replied had an academic background, coming from universities or other research organisations. The second biggest group classified itself as coming from business (21%), followed by the "for-profit sector" (e.g. company, sole trader, association) (9%) and 9% from "national public administrations". Those who see themselves as belonging to the general public or civil society each made up 5 % of our respondents. Most respondents came from across the EU, with respondents from France, Germany, the UK, Belgium and Spain the most numerous.
What did people tell us?
More than 80% of you rated "seeking information" and "participating in events" as the most important reasons for interaction with DG CONNECT. Representing an interest, proposing an initiative, receiving information about a grant and collaborating in the development and implementation of policies were important to around 60% of respondents.
The website, e-mail and personal contacts are the most popular communication channels with DG CONNECT while half of the respondents use the online collaborative platforms and social media too.
All in all, most of the people who replied were happy with their interaction with us :) - 16% very satisfied and 62% satisfied. 10% of the respondents assessed DG CONNECT as being excellent in overall policy delivery and 47% above average. Apparently we are doing well in taking care of our academic stakeholders, but the media, international organisations and the "general public" say they are less satisfied regarding their interaction with us, and as regards our delivery on policy.
Of the 1256 people who replied to the survey, this was the first real interaction with us for 29% of you. While we try to be open, and use collaborative platforms and social media, half of this group said they did not know DG CONNECT existed and 16% that they were not sure how to get involved even if they knew who we are. More work needed there, it seems.
Some respondents felt that civil society, SMEs, as well as the general public were not involved enough in DG CONNECT's stakeholder-related activities. Some also complained that engagement was "patchy" and tended to favour pan-European organisations and industry and there was too much focus on US companies.
This is a lot of food for thought and I am very grateful to those who were so open and honest with us.
The full report is here.
So what next?
We are now going to try to integrate all these results into the DG's stakeholder engagement strategy, addressing the gaps, needs and challenges that you identified in the survey. This will focus on questions like: "How do we consistently widen our stakeholder circle?"; "How do we become even more transparent?"; "What can we do to create opportunities for engagement earlier in the policy process?"
PS: If you missed this survey, or if you just love filling in surveys, and are still interested in letting us know how we are doing, we are currently running a survey on the indicators ("Metrics") which we use to measure our performance. It would be great if you could give us your views on whether we are getting this right. Try that survey here.