But, why not you?
I want to challenge you. Think of the last time you didn’t act or didn’t say something and then something bad happened. It could have been debris you witnessed on the freeway that later caused a horrific accident, or a person experiencing homelessness shivering to stay warm in the bitter cold. You may have heard later on the news of people lying outside freezing to death, which caused you to reflect on the person you passed by earlier. You may have further thought of all of the potential warmth and life-giving jackets and blankets you possess, possibly sitting idle in your home. You may have even thought of a room that doesn’t get frequented in your home that could provide shelter to a person less fortunate, an economic refugee. Or, maybe your moment of inaction was the time you opted out of voting in a local election. Then later you discovered that the issue or winning candidate was decided by only a few votes. Little things do matter. Your actions matter. So does your inaction. If you don’t believe that, reflect for a moment on the provocative poem written by Pastor Martin Niemöller, “First they came .…” His poem is a powerful statement about the failure of Germans to speak out against the Nazis.
Your thoughts become your words and when shared with others, become conversations. Those conversations when acted upon become movements, community forms, and the world eventually shifts, hopefully in a wholesome, humane direction. This beliefs-thoughts-words-actions-communitycycle has repeated across the millennia. In modern time, civil society no longer tolerates and accept things like slavery. Once was a day that people didn’t think twice about purchasing products made from cotton that was harvested by slaves, or burning coal that was broken down by “breaker boys,” the children that should have been in school, but instead broke big chunks of coal into little chunks of coal for wealthy mine owners. Mine owners didn’t think this as morally reprehensible as we do today. Other examples abound.
“The world moves, and ideas that were good once are not always good.” Dwight D. Eisenhower 34th President of the United States (1890-1969)
What actions or inaction are we involved in today that we’ll look back on 100 years from today and think to be morally reprehensible? It’s a question you should bring to your own dinner table. Does it matter than some products are ethically sourced while others marginalize people? It should matter because people matter. All people, everywhere.
“A good community will not be invented, discovered or “just grow.” It must be forged from the purpose and quality of the lives of the people living in it.” Arthur Ernest Morgan Community Organizer, Educator, Civil Engineer, U.S. Administrator (1878 – 1975)
But, how big is a community? Your community thinking should be at least as big as your interdependency. It is likely you drink coffee and eat chocolate and use a cell phone. Those items comprise resources not found in your region. That makes you dependent upon a larger community. You should (if you don’t already) care about that global community. Your care (and conversation) should ensnare others, similarly.
What the world needs now is for global citizens to rise up together, not in revolution and in more conflict, but in a culture of care, with informed engagement, to spark new thinking and new dialogue. It’s time we all had an honest conversation about the world we wish to live in a leave behind. You should be a part of that conversation. If not you, who?
Chapters that especially pertain to this blog post include Chapter 9: The Neighborhood in The Experience Design Blueprint and in L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow:
Chapter 5: Wealth & Economy
Chapter 8: Social
Chapter 9: Environment
Gregory Olson founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. He believes that we all have the potential to do better, as individuals, organizations, and communities, but sometimes we need a little help. Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social investor and financial institution, Oikocredit International.
A LIGHT-HEARTED AND DEADLY SERIOUS BOOK TO SPARK CONVERSATIONS AMONG GLOBAL CITIZENS.
An exploration of the world we wish to live in and leave behind.
SEATTLE, WA., (Jan 1, 2016) – In an era of political ineptitude that erodes trust, conflict that spawns refugees, corporate behavior that harms, consumption patterns that are unsustainable, technology that enables while displacing workers, policies that marginalize people and pretend as though the earth’s resources are infinite, and a host of other human follies — we need new thinking, fresh conversations, and bold actions. Frankly, we need a little hope. Escape the present and explore a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans. L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, is a dreamer’s handbook.
In this book, Olson shows us what is possible, sparking our imaginations. No doubt you’ll recognize some ideas as recurrent themes that dreamers have envisioned before. Some ideas will entertain you while others will inform you. The future is not divorced from the present or the past. Olson provides historical context and primers along the way to best prepare our minds. Entrepreneurs face technological hurdles. And, they have to overcome social, cultural, and political opponents who would prefer to keep things as they are. The impossipreneur is the courageous entrepreneur who pushes headlong against these forces. Things are only impossible until they are not.
In this hopeful journey through tomorrow Olson challenges each of us to think differently, spark our own conversations, and play a role in nudging the world forward to create a better future for all across most all of life’s categories including: Health & Beauty, Love & Relationships, Wealth & Economy, Transportation, Food & Comfort, Social, Environment, Politics & Crime, Family & Pets, the World of Work, and Compunications. What the world needs now is for good global citizens to rise up together, not in revolution and in more conflict, but in a culture of care, with informed engagement, to spark new thinking and new dialogue. It’s time we all had an honest conversation about the world we wish to live in a leave behind. This book is essential reading for global citizens concerned with a more sustainable and prosperous future for all.
Gregory Olson is the author of The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true. He founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. A lifelong learner, his formal education includes a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and a Masters in Business Administration. Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social investor and financial institution, Oikocredit International.
Subscribing and Connecting to Delightability Musings
Greetings Global Citizens,
I recently changed the blog subscription service for the Delightability blog from feedburner to Jetpack. That is a bunch of blah blah for most of you. You don’t really need the details but, what this does mean is that if you previously subscribed, you’ll need to
re-subscribe. I apologize for the inconvenience foisted upon me by the gods of technology.
Here is how to subscribe:
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In my blog posts I aim to make us all a little smarter, more thoughtful, and more productive. I hope that each post has a multiplier effect, on you initially and then in turn on others you share with.
What Subscribing Will Mean for You
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Connecting on Social Media
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Subscribe if you like. If not, I’ll occasionally see you out and about in the social universe. Thank you for reading and sharing and being a better global citizen.
about Gregory Olson
Gregory Olson is a consultant, speaker, and author. His upcoming book is l’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow.
Greg also authored, The Experience Design Blueprint, a book about designing better experiences and then making them come true. The models in the Experience Design BLUEPRINT are equally relevant to organizations of all types and sizes including start-up entrepreneurs, nonprofits, for-profits, and government.
Glimmer of Hope in Your City
This blog post is an extension of a recent talk I gave to my colleagues at the Olympic Club, a forward-thinking group that has been meeting at The Rainier Club, since 1942. Special thanks to Councilmember Nick Licatta who accepted my guest invitation and joined us for lunch and stimulating conversation.
Our headlines are filled with negativity.
Most of the news networks serve to inflame us, rather than inform us. It feels as though we never make any progress and the problems are never-ending. But, this isn’t really the case. There is progress, but it rarely makes it to the front page or carries headlines.
Glimmer of Hope
So, today I’m going to depart from the negative headlines and share a glimmer of hope. There is something that has been subtly brewing in the background that has gone largely unreported. I’m reporting on it now.
This glimmer of hope started 26 years ago in a land far, far away, actually South America, in a city about twice the size of Seattle. That glimmer of hope delivered on its promise and then spread to surrounding Latin American cities before it moved on to cities throughout Europe. Finally, in 2009, this glimmer of hope began reaching cities in the U.S., first in Chicago, then in Boston, then New York City, and more recently Vallejo, CA among others. Earlier this year it got a little toehold in our very own Seattle. Councilmember Nick Licata was the ambassador to bring this idea to Seattle.
What is the “glimmer of hope” I’m referring to?
I’m referring to participatory budgeting or PB for short. It sounds pretty boring on the surface but it holds great promise. Have you have heard of this term? I suspect not, given the limited media exposure and small communications budgets of city governments. After all, public services from governments, no matter how beneficial and important, rarely show and shout as much as for-profit enterprises do. Think of Apple, AT&T, Comcast, etc. Most likely you can perfectly recall commercials from all of them. Think of all of the media coverage the Apple Watch received while at the same time most people are wholly ignorant of participatory budgeting.
So what exactly is participatory budgeting or PB?
Participatory budgeting is a democratic process in which community members directly decide how to spend part of a public budget. Here is roughly how it works:
Residents brainstorm ideas
Then proposals are developed from those ideas
Then residents vote on proposals
The ones with the most votes win funding
It is a bit like using Kickstarter or another crowdfunding platform but you work directly with your neighbors and instead of using your credit card you use public money.
So what’s the big deal? Why does PB matter?
Well, in an era with so much wealth and power concentration, participatory budgeting is important:
It can restore trust and increase government transparency
It gets youth involved in the workings of government and the democratic process
It increases civic participation for youth and adults alike
It can reduce voter apathy
But, it goes beyond that.
It can actually take the guesswork out of governing
Innovation in government services and programs shouldn’t be top-down. They should be informed by the collective intelligence and participation of the communities they serve
PB also improves governance at the local level
In short, participatory budgeting helps to create more meaningful and inclusive democracies.
So you might be wondering how much traction does this little idea have?
Well, there are now over 1500 participatory budgeting processes in the world. Participatory budgeting has been used for cities, states, counties, public housing, schools, and community organizations. Funds have been set aside for capital projects as well as for services and programs.
PB is successful across the world.
In the city where it started Porto Alegre, Brazil, PB has been used continuously since 1989, 26 years now. Of the 1.3 million residents, about 50,000 have participated annually and each year decide on 20% of the budget or around $200 million.
Winning projects have been about urban infrastructure and upgrading the quality level of the population. They have doubled sanitation coverage, doubled the number of students in schools, and expanded bus service to neglected areas.
But PB represents much more than this. In Porto Alegre, today, the citizens know and decide on public issues, They are becoming agents of their own future and are actively participating in public affairs. More than70 other cities in Brazil are now using PB.
So what else have people decided to do with the public money that has been set aside?
It really depends upon the city. In Chicago, PB Chicago has now completed their third cycle with around 3500 residents around the city voting on how to spend $5 million in public funds.
Among the 26 winning projects in 2015, there are the usual suspects: street resurfacing, street lighting and sidewalk repairs, tree planting, bike lanes, and park improvements. But there were also some uncommon projects:
Murals to spruce up viaducts
Green roofs for commercial properties on Chicago Ave
A culinary Institute Job Training Program
A small business micro-lending program
That is pretty innovative and it all came directly from the community. Aside from the direct benefits of these projects, Chicago has also reported an increase in participation of minorities and low-income residents and an increase in voter turnout. This is really promising.
In Paris, France the results of the 2015 budgeting process are in. Parisians will spend 65 million euros on projects including:
urban renewal projects
co-working spaces for students and young entrepreneurs
improved waste sorting
In an effort to build a more collaborative city leadership plans to allocate 500 million euros between 2014 and 2020, making it the largest PB initiative to date.
Participatory budgeting isn’t limited to cities, or even adults, PB is being utilized by schools as a way for students to learn about the democratic process. In British Columbia, at a school in West Vancouver, students from kindergarten to seventh grade decide how to allocate $2,000 of the school’s budget to projects voted on through a PB process.
So, where are we at in our own little city of Seattle?
We’re just getting started. There have been a couple of public forums earlier this year to explore what PB could like in Seattle. Earlier in the week, Seattle City Councilmember Licata and Mayor Murray announced a PB project moving ahead in Seattle. Read the original announcement here or an article courtesy of The Stranger.
June 2016 Update: Results from First Seattle PB Initiative
In May 2016, more than 3,000 youth ages 11-25 voted on 19 project proposals deciding how to spend $700,000 of the City’s budget. See the winning projects.
PB is sorely needed in our city so that the interests of all residents are represented.
I see big possibilities for PB in Seattle. On August 11, Seattleites will participate in National Night Out. Imagine as part of the discussion, every person was made aware of PB and began putting forward ideas that mattered to them. Or, they got behind other people’s ideas. I’d love to hear what people are thinking, in my own region, as well as across Seattle. I’d love to share my own ideas.
I’ve seen much PB progress around the world once I started digging into this subject. This, in spite of the major news outlets being basically dark on the subject. I hope that the toe-hold we have here blossoms into something much larger and more meaningful. I’m looking forward to seeing what unfolds next in Seattle and to participating in it directly. I hope you’ll join me. If you are not in Seattle, I hope you’ll start a similar conversation in your city. Learn more or download a toolkit from the Participatory Budgeting Project.
All of us have a role to play in advancing and supporting ideas that make cities better for those who live, work, recreate, or visit. These chapters especially pertain to this important and shared civic responsibility.
Chapter 6: Aiming for Remarkable, Unbroken and Generous Design
Chapter 7: Improving the Journey
Chapter 8: The Promise Delivery System
Chapter 9 The Neighborhood
Chapter 11: Barriers to Innovation
and Overcoming the Wall
Chapter 12: The Three Psychological Zones
His latest book is L’ impossi preneurs: A Hopeful Journey Through Tomorrow, a light-hearted and deadly serious book about a brighter future where we live more meaningful lives, governments invest in people and sustainable progress, and technology serves humans. Participatory budgeting appears in Chapter 5: Wealth & Economy.
Gregory Olson founded strategy and design firm Delightability, LLC. with the belief that if you delight customers then success will follow. He believes that we all have the potential to do better, as individuals, organizations, and communities, but sometimes we need a little help. Gregory also serves as a volunteer board member for Oikocredit Northwest, a support association for social investor and international financial cooperative, Oikocredit International.
Why You Should Read The Experience Design BLUEPRINT
The Experience Design Blueprint is a fusion between how to create better customer* experiences and how to build a healthy innovation culture. Experience and innovation are big words, not easily agreed upon by any 3 people so, why are they important?
* of course customers may also include visitors, staff, guests, patients, donors, board members, volunteers, clients, investors, shareholders, partners, suppliers, citizens, voters, tenants, officials, members, employees, caregivers, participants, residents, soldiers, inmates, interns, passengers, and more depending on your organizations and its priorities.
Experiences are important because they are all around us. Sometimes they happen to us, good or bad. At other times we are the ones creating and influencing the experiences of others. Most of us, from the CEO on down to front line employees, don’t understand the factors that make up an experience, much less how to intentionally design a great one. If we don’t know how to create better experiences then our path to get there is at best, a hodgepodge laid by specialists that might see the trees, but not the forest. Each of us needs to understand the Experience Hoop and Halo of Chapter 1.
Unless you are working in a government granted monopoly or protected regime, to thrive in this hyper-connected, socially aware, world community, you’ll need to do better to win the hearts and minds of others.
This book is written for those who serve in the capacity of employee, volunteer, leader, board member, teacher, etc. While a customer experience (CX) professional or innovation practitioner will gain new perspective and add to their toolbox, it is also written for those “outsiders.” The people behind the scenes, those that make decisions that affect others and impact organization’s performance. If you want to build a healthier organization with happier customers then read this book.
A Journey of Confidence and Competence
My goal in writing this book is for you to feel knowledgeable and skillful in creating better experiences, no matter your audience. I want you to feel confident and empowered to actually play a part in designing better experiences, no matter what your official title or role is. That is why I begin with defining experiences. In the first section of the book, we make the invisible visible. We walk through situations you can relate to like renting a car. We first see how to model them looking from the organization’s perspective, but also from the customers viewpoint. We then understand the factors that can be leveraged to improve what our audiences experience. (Ch 7 Improving the Journey). This is a multidisciplinary systems approach. Most people are not trained in designing and delivering better experiences though each of us is fully capable. See the related post on Tapping Your Inner Designer.
But, that is only the first section of the book. I also want you to be able to deliver on the promise of better experiences so that your audience takes notice and you make an impact in the real world. So, the second part of the book is about innovation and contributing toward making a healthier organization.
Once you know how to design more remarkable experiences, it is equally important to make those possibilities come to life.
Once you know how to design more remarkable experiences, it is equally important to make those possibilities come to life. Imagine if Disneyland was an unrealized vision, never brought to life.
Providing Great Experiences is Everybody’s Business
While VP’s of Customer Experience or Chief Innovation Officers will benefit by reading this book, it is directed toward all of us, those leaders and individual contributors in small business, nonprofits, and governments who need such customer experience strategy and leadership, but aren’t likely to add it to the payroll. In fact, designing and delivering great experiences is everybody’s business from the CEO to the newbie only recently hired – the customer experience isn’t about a particular title or department.
Designing and delivering great experiences is everybody’s business
Easy Learning for You to Make an Impact and Share with Others
In this book, I’ve worked hard to provide mental models with practical applications and examples that you can easily grasp and put to use immediately. This book can help to bridge the divide between the new digital youngsters that know everything and the old school practitioners that remember what it was like to be a customer in a more empathetic world comprised of organizations who cared.
Happier Customers and Healthier Organizations
No matter where you sit in the organization or what type of organization you’re involved in, happier customers and a healthier organization should be front and center. But, if you are like most people, your conversations fall short and your tools are incomplete. If you want to want to make a bigger impact and help those alongside you do the same, this book is for you. It has 78 full-color images and illustrations, 25 inspiring real-world examples, and 56 recipes that can be applied to creating happier customers and building a healthier organization.
Curse of the Lumpy Snowball
If you’re currently working for a “customer experience immune” monopoly or regime, this book may help you in your next assignment, after the customer revolution renders your current employer’s empire irrelevant. That’s a special case called the Curse of the Lumpy Snowball that I explore in Chapter 8.
I hope you’ll read my book and join me on this journey of continuous improvement, relevance, and sustainability. Your audience deserves it and your innovation culture is waiting to flourish. Below is a breakdown of the book by chapter and further down are links to reviews and how to get a copy of the book for yourself.
Chapters in The Experience Design Blueprint:
Section 1: Making the Invisible Visible
Chapter 1: What Makes an Experience?
Chapter 2: Making the Customer Come Alive
Chapter 3: Who is in the Sandbox?
Chapter 4: Modeling the Customer Journey
Chapter 5: The Rental Car Journey
Chapter 6: Aiming for Remarkable, Unbroken, and Generous Design
Chapter 7: Improving the Journey
Section 2: Making a Bigger Imprint
Chapter 8: The Promise Delivery System
Chapter 9: The Neighborhood
Chapter 10: Bees and Raccoons
Chapter 11: Barriers to Innovation and Overcoming the Wall