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News — Community building

Blinkered: how government does change badly

Community building Silo-busting Strategy

You have to admire the sheer consistency of non-self-reflection in indigenous affairs in this country. The location of Aboriginal problems, is, of course, Aboriginal people. And to prove it there is a seemingly endless cavalcade of studies evaluating Aboriginal communities. But, although I’ve read every evaluation of the NT Intervention, I can find only one study that actually evaluates the performance of government program managers. Tellingly, it’s a Department of Finance study that was suppressed as ‘Cabinet in Confidence’ until Channel Seven got hold of it under Freedom of Information in 2011. Although it’s written in cold technocratese, it’s a...

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Four winning projects

Community building Innovation

Hi colleagues I’m delighted to announce the winners of the DOING SOMETHING INTERESTING? competition. (Remember? Way back in April.) Copies of Changeology are winging their way to them. My secret intention was to flush out innovative examples I could share. I’m very happy with the result. In no particular order the winners are: 1) Impromptu kinder engineers, Wyndham City Council, Vic For imagination and agility in speedily improvising a delightful community engagement project on the fly. Here is Cliff Eberly’s description: I’m thrilled to be able to share this story with you.  Wyndham City’s Road Resurfacing Team has been doing some wonderful engagement work around the repaving and reconstruction...

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Shut up and listen

Community building Facilitation Motivation Strategy

Anyone who wants to change anything or improve anyone else’s life has to see this arresting TED talk by Ernesto Sirolli. An anguished observer of the comprehensive failure of western aid in Africa, Sirolli innovated a seemingly radical approach to community change: “You never initiate anything, you never motivate anybody. Instead you become a servant of local people’s passion. People who have a dream of how to be a better person. So you shut up. You never arrive in a community with any ideas …we sit with local people in a café, or at the pub and we become friends and we...

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Signs and Wonders #3 - give peas a chance, streets as living rooms, sex education with vegetables, and more

Community building Innovation Marketing and communications

Give Peas a Chance The humble green pea gets a fun profile boost in this clever healthy eating campaign from Wyndham City Council. I love the footpath stickers that guide people to a pop-up kitchen in the local shopping centre, where they can add their favourite pea recipe to a book. This works because it’s novel and fun. I suspect the mandatory healthy eating information is the least effective element…it’s the little green faces and personal recipes that do the trick of grasping attention and priming people to make different choices as they proceed to wander down the supermarket aisles. Created by...

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How to start a community conversation

Community building Facilitation

"No conversation, no change" is an important principle. Positive conversations between people in their own social networks tend to be preconditions for all sorts of social changes. So, how to stimulate conversations? I can think of four ways: 1) Broadcast remarkable stories though the media (Chip and Dan Heath's book Made to Stick covers this ground nicely). 2) Bring people together for facilitated discussions (field days, workshops at the like). 3) Recruit and train Popular Opinion Leaders. For example. 4) Conversation-starting initiatives and events. There are a host of ways we can use events or public installations to start conversations....

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