Archive for category Public Engagement Strategies
Organizations have internally addressed the problems they can tackle alone, and are now reaching beyond their organizational structure to address problems for which they have only partial control or impact. This means participating in inter-organization bodies with the mission to solve the problem by working collaboratively across partner organizations to create solutions.
Inter-organization problem solving creates huge problems for traditional managers and management theory.
Loss of Control
It is uncomfortable for organizations and managers to give up control and decision-making to inter-organizational bodies. Establishing business trust is THE essential element for real progress and support for the work of inter-organizational team’s to be successfully implemented.
Participation on inter-organizational teams requires that resources be offered up to the team, and people’s time is only the start. Resources go beyond meeting participation and include redirecting each participating organization’s resources to the effort: information and data sharing, re-prioritization of existing effort, communication, and changes to strategy are always part of the mix.
Decision-making and Governance
Determining decision-making models, beyond pure consensus is a new area in management theory. The key questions is: “If we can’t reach 100% consensus, then what level of agreement is necessary for you to support the solution if outvoted?”
Delegation of Authority to Representatives
Participation in inter-organizational teams requires delegation of authority to (often) lower level managers who will have the authority to commit the resources and name of the organization to a solution.
Complexity of Communication
Communicating decisions and progress back to the organization for work that is outside the organization’s structure is not a process that now exists. Until inter-organizational teams are formally viewed as part of the organization’s business model, they remain in a communication gray area with their work effort not well understood by the organization.
A recent article in Good Design discussed how 3 type font designers are creating a cohesive look for the City of Chattanooga. All on their own. Without asking for permission or having a commission. We find it to be an incredible story of how vision, strategy, and change can occur, without having to check in with the power’s that be, or leverage a hot new technology or market trend.
For strategists, fonts might seem a strange beginning point for a discussion on shared vision, shared future, and a major urban planning effort. Even more surprising is the ignition point for the change happened in a coffee shop, when two of America’s font designers (this is a job?) started a conversation on type fonts that grew into a vision for their community.
How do we get from font designs to large-scale urban planning, change and shared vision. Easily it seems. Using fonts as a means to a design end is similar to what Apple or Nike do for product marketing. Creating a unique and representative look and feel is a standard marketing and branding strategy. The rub is that businesses generally do not start planning efforts with a font and move to a product. It’s typically the other way around.
From a simple discussion on fonts, the designers segued into how to use font to create a branding strategy for an entire city. It is a bold notion; visionary, radical, insane, and really, really smart. For all of us that have tried to do any form of urban or community planning its simplicity is sublime and enviable. Sure, these guys will get their share of egg-throwers, font-wannabee critics, and folks that are just against anything (and for nothing). And yes, the change effort will require just as much work as any traditional planning effort. The same amount of convincing, selling, involving, political wrangling, and public input. They will need the same commitment to see it through as all planners to create any plan that involves change. But darn it, you just have to admit that it looks like a lot more fun to do it their way.
Business strategists and community planners take note. The sparks that ignites strategies and large-scale change are occurring more and more in the realm of social media technologies, art and the design world. Staying current with cultural trends, not just marketing trends, business, and “go to” sources for competitive trends, will round-out your strategy palette.