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Public servants could try living by their wits

The July/August issue of Fast Company has a two-page spread that’s an edited transcript of four advertising agency men talking about creating their own products rather than promoting others’ products. They’re doing this…why else? Because business is slow.

In the process of creating products, they’ve learned lots about package design, distribution, finances and all those things entrepreneurs deal with.

Here are the two quotes that spurred this post:
You have to embrace collaboration. We did some package design that we thought was really cool, but our partner fancied a different scheme. We said, “Yeah, right, we’ll nail this; let’s book the research and wait for the glow.” We were so wrong it was unreal. Their stuff won by the greatest gap I’ve ever seen. We were so humbled.

… it’s your own money on the table. When it’s literally off the bottom line, the best idea must win. You have to be open to people being more expert than you, and that’s an alien concept to a lot of folks.

Note the civility---collaboration, humbled, open to people being more expert than you.

Not too long ago I heard an administrator refer to those who work on grant money as people who live by their wits. Wouldn’t it be interesting to let public servants run their work groups as if they were on grants? What research can you pull together to show what the public wants or values today? What is worth doing? How are you going to pay your salaries and provide value to the public? Define the service or product as you would need to do in a grant. For the next six months (duration of grant), you have this income from citizens.

You’d have to do research. You'd have to collaborate and communicate. Some new products or services would be winners; some wouldn’t but the workers would learn and be energized to show their value because their jobs depend on it. I think the production level would be far more than the structure of today produces. The workers would be happier because they’d be taking on new challenges and invested in what they create. It’s a whole lot of respect for one another and that’s civility in a nutshell.

Fast Company: More Creative Shops Are Commercializing Their Own Product Lines


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