TEDxBloomington was a great event that brought together local government officials, citizens, students, researchers, celebrities, employees, business owners, to share knowledge about today and ideas for the future. A question that was on many lips and on even more minds was
How can we make sure that some of these ideas turn into effective action?
SociaLens has recently started using a series of questions to help organizations reflect on the things that either inhibit or enable their ability to turn their ideas into effective action. While we tend to focus specifically on helping clients with the strategic and digital challenges that face them, the general gist of these questions can also apply to the Bloomington community. It is important to know that these questions are built on the assumption that in order to get things done, every organization and every community (every person, really) goes through some version of the following general process when trying to turn their ideas into effective action:
Using this as a starting point, we then ask organizations the following set of questions. Any boxes in the diagram below that an organization finds difficult to mark “most” or “often enough” represents an area that may be a sticking point for turning ideas into a reality (to apply this to Bloomington, we would change the wording in the questions a bit of course to include things beyond just digital).
(here is a pdf version of this) *
TEDx has given us a huge boost in the “prepare” part of this process by providing a large group of folks with a better shared knowledge of where our world is today, and some ideas for how it might be able to improve in the areas of environmental, psychological and sexual health, mutual understanding and cooperation, educational initiatives, and many others. It has also made that shared knowledge more vivid (easy to remember) for us. Our next step as a community is to put together a simple strategy or strategies (and by this i mean a shared goal or two) that are vivid (easy to remember) and relevant (are easy for a person to turn into everyday actions), and to move around this cycle in ways that allow us all to answer “yes” to each of these questions.
* This set of questions does not get at everything that a city or organization needs in order to thrive, of course (there are also questions of financial and natural resources, values and beliefs, governance, etc.), but we are finding that it helps to reveal a lot of the common barriers that keep people, organizations or communities from turning their ideas into effective action.