Communication & Government
Municipal communication should be clear and explicit. Campaigns must engage. Positivism and fun are important ingredients to achieve engagement. The tone must be energetic, the style lively. An optimistic view is essential. You must be empathetic and never underestimate the audience.
Approach the residents of your towns as strong self-reliant citizens. Individuals involved with their habitat.
Rotterdam for instance is a cosmopolitan city of nearly 1.2 million people with 160 nationalities. Rotterdam is not one single flavor. Rotterdam is a diversity of native and foreign spices. A rich palette of integrated but not assimilated, residents. Everyone is different and depending on the situation our roles may change. The generic citizen does not exist. It is absurd to speak to the inhabitants of the city as one solid mass. Recognize the differences and differentiate the target groups and topics.
The recognition of the messenger should never outshine the message. Always put your audience at the center. One-way communication is over. The time of top-down broadcasting has passed. People want to exchange. A campaign should provoke response and facilitate the dialogue.
Innovation & Government
The ability to involve and activate your audience is the core of innovation within governmental communication. Involving the citizen as a consultant, partner or sponsor.
Innovation in governance is about:
• the involvement of citizens in policy making
• public-private cooperation’s on an equal level
• adequate support of civil initiatives.
Technology should never take the lead. Innovations in governance are influenced by technological development but democracy should never be dictated by technocracy. The new techniques should facilitate participation.
The inhabitants of our cities must take and get more responsibilities.
The vitality and prosperity of the city should not depend on its government. The citizens provide sustainable and meaningful social structures. The market shall ensure a thriving economy. The government (merely) offers the frameworks to make this possible.
Innovation is not something you can buy. Innovation is a continuous change. Implementing a self-adjusting behavior within your daily performance. Renewal for the municipality means a new way of operating.
For communication and design it means that projects cant be defined rigidly and don’t necessarily have to be at the end of administrative process. This calls for a different way communication departments collaborate with their creative agency and internal clients. My studio for that reason works (more and more) with workshop sessions and open platforms with the client, our designers and the final target groups to collaborate on defining requirements, developing or improving products and communications.
A continuous process of experiment, proto-typing, user research (internal and external), implementation, evaluation, feedback, anchoring, improvements and renewed experimentation keep the innovative process alive.
I am really enthusiastic about this way of working and hope we can do even more municipal campaigning in this way.