We were commissioned to run a dialogue to explore public attitudes to changes to the international measurement of time. In 2015, member countries of the International Telecommunications Union decided whether to maintain leap seconds, the mechanism by which civil time is kept in sync with the Sun.
The work included a stakeholder dialogue, to map the issues they thought were involved in the debate, and a series of multi-stage public dialogues in Cardiff, Edinburgh, Belfast and London. These dialogue activities were complemented by pop-up dialogues and by digital engagement, including a survey to gather the general public’s views on leap seconds.
The success of the project lay in explaining a complex, technical change to the way we measure time in a way that all participants could understand. We achieved this through engaging stimulus materials, expert speakers and the performance of a short play, which demonstrated the heart of the issue in a fun and light-hearted manner.