This video of a talk I gave at the wonderful Reboot conference in Copenhagen in June 2009. I’ve delivered different versions of this talk at a number of venues, and I think it’s the best synthesis of the theory of change that is the foundation of the work of the ChangeCamp project and community. I also think it needs a lot of work, but that’s life.
Rahaf Harfoush heard Will.I.Am’s call Yes We Can and decided to join the Obama campaign at Chicago HQ. Now Rahaf is no ordinary door-knocker. She is a Gen-Y social media maven, consultant and frequent collaborator with Don Tapscott, including on Wikinomics and Grown Up Digital. So now that everybody and their brother is looking to the groundbreaking Obama campaign for insight, Rahaf is a close-to-the-frontlines voice you need to pay attention to.
Her excellent presentation is online at her blog. Video is online at the Rotman site, including an intro by Alexander Manu, formerly of the Beal Institute and currently professor of Business Design at Rotman. I’m embedding the slides here:
Great story and insights. Most important insight for me was that the social media tools worked because the underlying strategy and philosophy of the campaign was itself new, different and consistent with those tools:
- The 50-state strategy
- Targeting the “disaffected center”
- Small donor focus
Social media isn’t a set of tactics, it is an orientation and philosophy and needs to integrate a focused brand and clear compelling message together with an inclusive and adaptable approach as well as an organization that is culturally ready to live those principles.
Strategy, message, culture. As powerful as these technologies are, it is the subtleties of their use and the human behaviours they enable that is the key to unlocking their value.
Wow. Dan and I are still processing the impact and learnings of the first AgendaCamp and TVO’s The Agenda on the Road, which took place in Windsor earlier this week. Overall, it was a huge success and something we’re going to build upon for the next four events and shows in other communities. The best part for me was the end of day reaction of Steve Paikin, host of The Agenda and one of Canada’s most respected journalistic talents.
The format called for 6 simultaneous 1 hour sessions. After 50 minutes, participants were asked to wrap up their discussion and tasked to produce a 2 and a half minute video that summarized their conversation using our inexpensive Flip Video cameras. It proved to be a powerful format and we will tweak it in order to help gather even more and better video content from our amazing participants. You can check out the content on the budding AgendaCamp wiki, YouTube, Flickr and get content updates by following AgendaCamp on Twitter.
We just love our participants’ passion and we felt their desire to come together as a community to make the place they call home a better place. They tackled the big questions of economic renewal in the context of a rapidly declining auto industry, and they planted their seeds of their own future.
The next step is to support this budding community as they continue their work together, providing them with tools to help their collaboration and ongoing conversations. I hope that we can find a way to connect this grassroots energy and enthusiasm to power and influence in a way that can meaningfully effect change, but that really depends on the community.
The thing we’re most interested in seeing evolve is how AgendaCamp participants and content interact with the broadcast. With five events, five shows and five different producers in five communities, we’ll get to see a number of variations on this combination of bottom-up engagement, online interaction and major current affairs broadcast platform. So much fascinating stuff! We’re excited for the next event in Sault Ste. Marie November 16th and 17th.
A broad progressive (neo-progressive?) movement is emerging on the web, rallying Canadian netizens to defeat the Harper Conservatives in the October 14th federal election. Dozens of sites and groups have suddenly emerged in the blogosphere and on Facebook with a single unified goal – to defeat the Harper government.
I’m helping with one of these campaigns, AnyoneButHarper.ca, which is a viral media and strategic voting campaign launched from a Facebook group in less than two weeks. The idea is to create, distribute and share viral media that will drive anti-Harper forces to take action in the form of strategic voting. The campaign includes videos produced by community members that are hosted on Vimeo and YouTube and a strategic voting widget hosted at Widgetbox.
The strategic voting widget is a democracy hack response to the current situation that progressive Canadians face. Today, the Conservative party can achieve a majority government and push ahead a neo-conservative agenda with only 38% of the popular vote. This is due to the first-past-the-post electoral system and a splintered centre-left composed of four parties lined up against a united right wing Conservative party. Other approaches to hack this situation include sites and groups that facilitate strategic vote swapping between progressives living in different ridings supporting different centre-left parties.
Meanwhile our friends at Fair Vote Canada are creating a home for Ophan Voters – voters whose votes do not help elect anyone in a first-past-the-post system. They hope to raise awareness of the need for electoral reform, but they are challenged in building the momentum they need when the beneficiaries of the current system control the path to reform. It appears that fundamental reform is not gaining sufficient traction, certainly not in the short term.
Why now? I think this activity can be seen as the result of some underlying forces:
- The social web and the technologies of so-called Web 2.0
- The experience of MoveOn.org and the Obama campaign in the U.S. election
- A frustrated and digitally enabled electorate, looking for change but lacking a galvanizing leader (like an Obama) to rally behind
Can regular Canadians, using the tools of the web, work around the limitations of first-past-the-post electoral system to snatch a progressive outcome from a system otherwise gamed in the favour of the incumbent Conservative party?
This emerging movement is going to try. It remains to be seen what it can do in the short three weeks remaining in this electoral cycle.