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Showing posts from June, 2015

How To Restore Public Trust In Government - Without Paying A Single Cent

More than 3 out of 4 Americans don't trust the federal government. In 2014, only 24% of Americans said they trusted the government to do what's right "always or most of the time." Sixty years ago, in 1964, that figure was more than 50 percentage points higher - 77%. (Source: Pew Research Center, 2014) Government leaders know that communication is a vital government function.Recognizing this, nearly 20 years ago, in 1996, U.S. Vice President Al Gore formed the Federal Communicators Network. "The Vice President's vision was to reach federal workers with important reinvention messages, promote a climate in which reinvention can flourish, and create a grass-roots demand to break down agency barriers to reinvention." (Source: National Partnership for Reinventing Government archive via University of North Texas Libraries and the Government Printing Office.)Unfortunately, however, the Vice President's vision was not realized.In 2013, only 50.3% of the federal…

When Hiring Tech Doesn't Solve The Problem

I read with great interest this month's Fast Companycover story "Inside Obama's Stealth Startup," which is available free online in its entirety. The article is about the new and promising U.S. Digital Service out of innovation hub 18F in Washington, DC. The President's idea is to hire private-sector, Silicon-Valley type tech talent into the government and then deploy it across agencies to solve urgent technology problems blocking excellent customer service. Think of the disastrous rollout of and you get the idea immediately. The President is on the right track with this one. This is not a political statement, but rather the result of having worked in government for upwards of a decade and watching stovepiped and overpriced individual tech departments at individual government agencies squander millions, probably billions of dollars while the rest of the organization sat by and helplessly watched. Instead of leaving every agency to flail on its own, the…

20-Min. Wakeup: Personal/Professional Branding Thru Twitter, LinkedIn, Quora, Instagram, Facebook

The #1 Dysfunction Preventing Wise Investment In Employee Engagement

You SAY you are bothered by the fact that employees are "checked-out." You CLAIM you want them to innovate. You DISCUSS over and over the fact that they just seem to sit there, taking up space, not doing nearly as much as they could or should. But what, exactly, are you DOING about it? The fact of the matter is that at any given time, most of the people working for you are doing exactly what you're worried they're doing: sitting there, underutilized and under-motivated, thinking about how soon they can log out, go home and get their sanity back. You know this. You don't need to see yet another survey confirming this fact, do you? And you say you want to do something about it. Maybe you really do, who knows: You're willing to consider their requests for a training class, after all. But it's not clear to me that you REALLY want to motivate your staff, after all. Because if you did, you would ACTUALLY do something about it. You don't do anything, even though you …

5 Services Every Federal Communicator Ought To Know About

This is a photo collage of the FDA TV Studios. Below is Proxy, their dummy, which they "rescued from a dumpster" and which is used when they need to block out a shot with a human being but don't have one available. (If you ever get out there, ask them about the time a delivery person actually thought that Proxy was human and got offended when it didn't say "good morning.") Proxy is one of those characters you only meet when you physically visit an off-the-beaten-track-type-of-place like FDA TV. If you're a federal employee working in any communications capacity, you will definitely want to know about them and the professional television production services they offer. Don't be put off by the name. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration owns this facility, but any agency can make use of their services. It's #1 on my list of helpful resources for federal communicators that most probably never even heard of. Here is #2: the Government Publishing Office, …

Decoding "Mad Max: Fury Road" - A Radical Feminist Vision

It feels important to establish that Mad Max: Fury Road is indeed a radical feminist vision. Because there's so much debate going on right now about what feminism is, and whether we actually need it or not, and even whether feminists are nothing more than a gang of extremist, man-hating fools.

For the sake of clarity, a brief clarification of terms:
Feminists believe in the empowerment of women and corresponding end of any inequality based on sex, gender or sexuality:"Sex" - biological identity - whether you're physically a male or female."Gender" - who you identify with - the socially determined traits of "masculinity" or "femininity""Sexuality" - whether you want to sleep with men, women, both or neither.There are three basic theories associates with feminism. These are ideas about what strategy will help women to become more equal, or empowered:"Liberal" - adopt the traits associated with maleness and masculinity (th…

Your Brand As A Moral Decision Filter

"Why are we here? TO WORSHIP ME." -comedienne Judy Tenuta (photo via her website) Every other year, the National Science Foundation does the General Social Survey to discover how Americans are thinking and feeling. The combination of quantitative and qualitative methods easily makes this survey "the gold standard" of sociological research in America, as Tobin Grant puts it. And the NSF is carefully attuned to the methodology it uses. The 2014 interview panels alone included 30 randomly selected national samples totaling 59,599 respondents and 5,900 variables. A 2015 research paper by Michael Hout (New York University and the social science research center NORC) and Tom W. Smith (NORC) analyzed trends in religious belief, drawing on the most recent NSS dataset. For the past 20 years or so, the relative percentage of believers hasn't changed much.(Normally a change of 10 percentage points is considered statistically significant.) A majority, 58%, believe definitively…

Crowdsource Me

Giving a talk on radical humanism next Friday. "Where's the ROI?" Dial in information is here. Here are my slides. They're a work in progress. Do you believe the future = breaking down the walls? I invite the community to edit. - D _____ All opinions my own and not those of my agency or the federal government. Photo by Sreejith K via Flickr.

Branding Advanced Manufacturing: 5 Lessons For Practitioners

Since November 2014, I've been working to brand a public-private government initiative called the National Network For Manufacturing Innovation (NNMI).
The NNMI is a collection of advanced manufacturing technology R&D institutes, each focused on a particular technology.
(The term "advanced manufacturing" means new and improved materials, made in new and improved ways, i.e. connected to the Internet.)
These institutes matter because the USA has been slowly losing the know-how to manufacture its own inventions for the past 15 years.
Flat-screen TVs and lithium-ion batteries are just two examples.
And very often, as with robots, the means to make a thing can also become a product in and of itself. The industrial robot that assembled a car can also be the sex robot that serves as a personal companion. 
These technologies, when successful, have enormously wide-ranging capabilities. 3D printing, for example, is a means to produce everything from the aforementioned cars …

Can A Song Take Down ISIS?

A few months ago the New York Timesran an article about theUSA's struggleto combat ISIS as a brand. It emphasized the failure to coordinate communication effectively, but I didn't see that either as the problem or the cure. To me it's a matter of military strategy, and policy. I would blow their freaking heads off. There was a lot of debate in the comments section. Some people blamed the U.S. for creating the problem in the first place. Others thought the communication actually did play a role. Here's what one person had to say (excerpt): The Center for Strategic Counterterrorism Communications would do best to contract with small groups of nimble marketers and hackers: recent college grads who wear baseball caps and hoodies and who are perpetually two steps ahead of social media.It is precisely such American young people, who watch and intelligently criticize "Girls" for its waning significance, that can take down the incompetent goons of ISIS Public Relations. …