Tag Archives: Steve Clift

CityCamp Minnesota: using Community 2.0 to build and leverage trust

I Steve Clift convening participants at CityCampMN 2011attended CityCamp Minnesota (an unconference) yesterday at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs on the U of MN’s West Bank. Longtime colleague Steve Clift was one of the chief organizers.

The broad theme was "Community 2.0" in which participants tried to answer these questions:

    • In a world of scarce public resources, how do we take advantage of the 2.0 online, social media, and open source world to help build awesome local communities?
    • How can we connect the interested public with 2.0 skills to work with government, community groups, neighborhood associations, local ethnic associations, and more?
    • How can our local communities be bold, inclusive, open, accessible, wired and darn right innovative when bottom-up connects with top-down for collaboration?

An attendee named Marc Drummond has blogged a detailed description of how the unconference format worked, including his critique and suggestions. You can see comments from others during and after the conference by viewing the #citycampmn hashtag on Twitter.

GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns at CityCampMN 2011 GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns at CityCampMN 2011
I was pleased to see GovDelivery CEO Scott Burns in attendance, as I’d not talked to him since my days at gofast.net in the late 90s when his and many other high tech companies were located in the Lowertown Cyber Village in downtown St. Paul. 

Scott gave a condensed version of his October 2011 presentation, posted to Slideshare:

When he put up slide 10 that says:

Leverage the trust that this guy has been building up for years

it caught my attention. It’s that word ‘leverage.’ When coaching leaders on their use of social media, I’ve long emphasized the importance of leveraging one’s influence (for example, see my blog posts here, here, here as well as this guest blog post).

But his phrase "leverage the trust" started me thinking about how it applies to leadership. As a leader, your position automatically puts you in a position of influence.  But your behavior over time is the only way to build trust, and that, of course, ratchets up your influence.

Scott’s presentation also got me thinking about how this is true for organizations, too—especially government and its relationship to the citizens it serves. The Edina Citizen Engagement project that I’m working on now with the City of Edina could also be seen as a way for the City to build more trust with its citizens through meaningful online engagement. Will it work? And how will City officials leverage it?  Stay tuned.

Reach the Public blog
In the meantime, read GovDelivery’s Reach the Public blog and follow Scott on Twitter.

Social Media: Engaging Democracy and Communities Online

Steven-CliftSteve Clift, founder and Executive Director, E-Democracy.org has asked me to do a presentation tonight for a class he’s teaching at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs titled Social Media: Engaging Democracy and Communities Online.

He’s asked me to talk about my civic leadership blogging coaching, as well as my current citizen engagement consulting work. I plan to take the class on a web tour while I speak to them about both.

Civic leadership blogging

  1. July, 2004: UK e-gov delegation visits Northfield
  2. Feb, 2005: Trip to the UK
  3. July, 2005: field trip to Northfield for the International Symposium on Local E-Democracy
  4. Fall, 2005: Guide to Civic Leadership Blogging (U.K. edition) How to use blogs as an effective local leadership tool
  5. Oct. 2008: UK CivicSurf booklet
  6. Featured civic leadership bloggers

Citizen Engagement Online

  1. Northfield.org(since 1994)
  2. Locally Grown Northfield(since 2006)
    • 3,400 blog posts
  3. Webinar on social media use by local government (Nov. 2010)
  4. Edina Citizen Engagement (since May, 2011)

Nov. 1 Webinar – Social media use by local government in the US: What are the hurdles to doing it well?

Nov. 2 update:

With my civic and business hat on, I’m hosting a free webinar on social media use by local government on Monday, Nov. 1, at 8 PM CDT. It will feature:

  • A tour of several local government websites (primarily cities in the US) to see some best practices of how social media tools (blogs, web forums, email lists, webinars, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn, etc.) are being used to enable more transparency and engagement.
  • A discussion about the hurdles that local government officials face when implementing the use of social media.

The panelists (all bloggers), all have some Northfield connections:

Betsey Buckheit Steven Clift Scott Neal

Some photos of Betsey, Steve and Scott in Northfield from 2004-05 with their blogger hats on:
UK delegation at the Cow 2004 UK delegation at the Cow 2004 - 2 Blogging panel at the Archer House 2005

Please register for the free webinar on social media use by local government for Monday, Nov. 1, at 8 PM CDT.

If you’re unable to attend, the webinar will be recorded and archived on the web.

Got questions or comments? Attach a comment here or contact me.

Nov. 2 update:

Budget cuts: an opportunity for local government to deliver services WITH citizens. Social media can help.

@Ross Currier, my Locally Grown co-host, tweeted on Monday, “As citizens increasingly challenge politics as usual, is it no longer left vs. right, nor faith vs. reason, but individual vs. institution?”

Listen Participate TransformThen Steve Clift @democracy retweeted this from @72prufrocks today, a report titled Listen, Participate, Transform: A social media framework for local government from the UK-based Young Foundation. It’s part of their Local 2.0 project (see the Local 2.0 Blog here), funded by the Department of Communities and Local Government

The report’s emphasis on the importance of public officials building relationships with citizens, using social media in part, is encouraging and is the best writing I’ve seen thus far on the topic.

In my hometown of Northfield, this is more than a little timely because:

  1. Significant budget cuts have to be made soon and the process is receiving some criticism
  2. Citizens are being asked to support a referendum for new police and fire facilities
  3. The Northfield City Council has a goal of improving communication with staff, citizen advisory groups and community

From the report’s introduction:

Impending budget cuts mean that local government will need to change the way it works, largely moving away from a model of delivering services to and for people, to a model of delivering services with people. Public servants will be required to build new relationships with citizens, relationships to help support civil society in responding to inevitable challenges.

As a consequence, local and central government needs to find better ways to forge new partnerships, involving citizens and the state working together to generate new ideas, tap into latent community capacity and make better use of local assets.

These challenges come at a time when social media has become part of everyday life for millions of people. For those in central and local government, social media will undoubtedly become part of everyday business, a channel for improved dialogue, wider networks and a new kind of mutualism that will be central to delivering effective public services. However, at this point social media is largely uncharted territory for many councils and public agencies.

  1. Listen Participate Transform - graphicListen to social media users and conversations about local issues
  2. Participate in conversations, building dialogue with citizens through social media, but also by energizing them around local issues, providing spaces for residents to support each other, and ultimately empowering them through decision making. The impact of participation should also be measured.
  3. Transform service redesign, replacing or complimenting existing ways of working and adopting new models of working

This reinforces the Citizens League’s finding on the importance of the quality of the dialogue between pubic officials and citizens that I blogged about last August:

One hypothesis about citizen involvement processes is that citizens view processes as “authentic” if the processes results in policies that citizens favor. This turned out not to be true. The most critical element citizens used to evaluate the authenticity of their involvement in MAP 150 projects was the quality of the dialogue with public officials. The quality of the dialogue was more important than the eventual result.

The disincentives for public officials to meaningfully engage with citizens are strong (see related blog posts here, here, and here) but the financial pain that everyone is about to experience as pubic services are cut back just may be enough to overcome them.

For those who want to go deeper, I recommend two other recent Young Foundation papers:

Public services and civil society working together Birth of the relational state

L: Public services and civil society working together 

R: The birth of the relational state