TED Conversations

Brett McCall

Producer, technoNative


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How do we make Bureaucracy sexy?

The first thing that came to mind was changing the branding..
Ok, if the real work of government happens below the 6 inch layer of politics in the realm of bureaucracy then how do we change the story so people are excited to be involved?
Jennifer Pahlka says "We have to engage with the machinery of government."
I am looking for ways to become more bureaucratically active!!! How do we?!?
We need to give a voice to a new generation... but this generation needs to be invited in!
I want to know how to maximize everyone's engagement in the dialog and awareness of issues related to them locally, regionally, nationally and internationally!

Omar Ahmad suggests "We live in a digital world but we're fairly analog creatures." So, is there a need for the novel act of writing?! Maybe, but I am not convinced.


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  • Mar 9 2012: I really liked this talk-
    The following are some elements that I see coming to play on the subject of "making bureaucracy sexy" and "maximizing engagement":
    1. Make people care - The choice to respond or not to respond internalizes the problem which grants the problem more inherent value. Internalize to make people care.
    2. Make it easy - Find a problem and answer it. Job well done (ex. Citizens Connect and the possum). Now if it was required that you make the extra effort to perform the act that you suggested, would the program work as well? I tend to think not. Make it easy.
    3. Make it fun. - The "gamification" elements seem to be the grease on the wheels (ex. uncover a fire hydrant, then name it. First to do it wins.)
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      Mar 9 2012: Simple steps, like the ones Omar Ahmad defines, plus game dynamics and I can imagine a pretty awesome recipe for creating change deep in the bureaucracy.. but how?!
      With whom?
      And for what change?! On some level I want political mavins to show up and guide the way.
      • Mar 21 2012: Brett, the answers are usually right in front of us. Political mavens can only open our eyes to what we pretty much already know. We just need structure.

        You've asked a most excellent question. What we need is a a specific case to apply all these ideas to, so I will ask you another question:

        What specific and observable problem would you like to see see sexy bureaucracy seduce?

        By specific and observable, I mean something small enough and concrete enough that we could put it on video. (That would include audio and text if it's an example of a type of discussion that leads to a problem.)

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