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: First, thanks for the link to Omar Ahmad's talk. I hadn't seen that before and it exactly mirrors (with updates) what was told to me by a successful lobbyist many years ago.

    Second *branding*??!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! I would like to consign step and repeat to the 9th level of hell. The product creates the brand not the brand the product.

    Let me tell you what I've done with this talk so far- I emailed everyone I (already) know in local government saying "Listen to the Possum talk!". I doubled up on that with a facebook post. I posted on twitter and "followed" Jen Pahlka on her twitter feed. This clued me in to a kickstarter initiative which Jen supports- a ballot design initiative which (wait for it) is something my local government has been trying to find a solution for.

    So far- all digital. I can go digital with people I've already met face to face (or went to high school with). *However* if I wanted to make headway at the State and Federal level- I'd pick up a pen. It's a matter of standing out amidst the overall background of noise and that pen and paper thing really does work.

    So, what makes it sexy? Any marketeer will tell you. Marketing is about 3 things. People, People and People. All business is personal.
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      Mar 20 2012: Ziska: I love your perspective.
      What is the application of People People People? It sounds like a strategy that is augmented by social network.
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        Mar 20 2012: Thanks Bret.

        "All politics is local."

        Strategies are pretty simple and very much the same as classic social networking.

        Be polite.
        Show up.
        Don't just talk about yourself.
        Find shared interests.
        Be responsive.
        Be concise.
        Be consistent.
        Compromise on the small stuff.
        If people are getting huffy- post a picture of a puppy.
        Be polite.
        • Mar 21 2012: Americans tend to think of technology as sexy, but what's truly sexy is human connection. To push the sex analogy, Viagra may be quick and easy, but it's only useful when sexiness itself isn't working.

          To make bureaucracy sexy, think of ways to get "the hands" connected to hearts. One of the most effective campaign organizers I know got people excited about coming in again and again to stuff envelopes because she realized that these were human beings who were fueled by the connection to the rest of the team.

          Create teams of "hands" by feeding the bodies they are attached to with meaningful conversation, shared vision, shared dreaming, and then you'll have a whole lot of bureaucratic chemistry going on.

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