Surprising things heard in workshops
How Susan learnt to save money. Saw her uncle save every $5 note he received in a locked change box. When she decided to save she did the same thing with every $2 coin she received. The first time she emptied her jar there was $846. “That’s how I’m saving for a home deposit.”
“I used to walk around the office turning off lights at the end of each day. One day an employee I’d never spoken to said: ‘You’ve gotten inside my head’.”
“When council lends its marketing to community events we get a 50-100% increase in turnout.” – Geelong Council’s environment manager
“There is a moral advantage in not using contract labour. The landholders look after the sites more.” – Libby, Three Creeks Landcare Group, Vic.
A facilitator who carefully said “Welcome Bruce, or Melissa.” after every introduction.
The power of calling people out for bad behaviour: Marc McKenzie of RARE Consulting told about facilitating a meeting for wind, solar and gas industry stakeholders. The aim was to develop a common case for extending the Australian Government’s renewable energy target. But for the first 2 hours “all they did was argue about their differences”. Before morning tea Marc made this announcement “There’s clearly no consensus here. I can’t see any point in continuing this meeting unless you tell me otherwise.” Morning tea lasted 45 minutes and then the three industry association CEOs returned to Marc with an common agenda for the rest of the event, which lasted 2 instead of 3 days and resulted in a four page manifesto signed by all 3 CEOs.
Some rough-and-ready criteria for assessing a community change program (from discussion with WA Dept of Transport staff)
– I’d want to go even if I wasn’t being paid (“magnetism”)
– I’d want to tell my friends and neighbours about it.
– Legacy value (leaves a permanent benefit for the community)
– Addresses real community frustrations
– Connects people to people
– Reach per $
– Likely number of participants per $
Notes in the margin
Russell Brand’s arresting frankness at a Parliamentary committee on drug policy.
– How Methadone keeps people helpless and in the drug cycle.
– Treat addiction is an illness not a crime problem. Support people.
– Recognise that abstinence is the only solution for addicts.
Dumb Ways to Die, Melbourne Transit’s beguilingly fun way to make a point about train safety went massively viral, with 43 million hits between Nov 2012 and March 2013. Creator, John Mescall, from ad agency McCann Worldgroup Australia, said its “conservative” estimate was that the campaign had generated $50 million in “global-earned media value” so far, in addition to more than 700 press hits. “The old ad is on the way out, it’ll never entirely die out. More and more of what we do is designed to live online…” More. 

Two cool social marketing campaigns I liked:
Dear Coal, we need to talk…
They will come for us
Stuff that’s out there:
How can I…
Set up a campaign website? Do Gooder lets activists set up fully featured campaign websites for free. By Digital Eskimo.
Organise a petition? Go to, an online petition platform.
Consult with really busy people? Just ask a minute of their time. A neat, and much-needed, community engagement idea from US-based agency, Local Projects.
Make public place recycling fun? Make it a game: a magnificent idea, simply realised in Lucerne, Switzerland. Lucerne Shines!!
Make a better mission statement? Forget your mission statement, instead ask: What’s your mission question? A thought-provoking article in Fast Company.
Start a business?
– Open a complete online store through Squarespace or Storenvy.
– Automate a vege box business with Bucky Box…just grow the food and find the customers.
– Create an exchange network to buy/sell food from local growers with Good Eggs.
Raise funds for a good idea? Circle Up, ProHatch or KickStarter.
Communicate your values? It’s just an advert, but one that sets a standard for employees as well as its customers. Keep in mind that, if you market your values, you’ll be under much stronger scrutiny from your customers to live up to them. 
Inspire community action? Singapore’s National Environment Agency recently used OpenIDEO to answer to the question: “How might we inspire and enable communities to take more initiative in making their local environments better?” The result: 271 Inspirations; 102 concepts; 20 final concepts and one winner.
Involve kids in bushcare or Landcare? BushKids, an inititative of Lane Cove Bushland and Conservation Society; “I couldn’t believe my eyes, 7 year old planting trees from tubes and caring for toddlers.” There’s a waiting lit to join. And the mothers started their own bushcare group.
Get inspired by street art?
Tackle community violence? Cure Violence demonstrates the power of switching your paradigm. Instead of seeing violence as a crime, they saw it as an infectious disease. They are now running anti firearm violence programs in 12 US cities. “Violence is like a disease and can be treated like one.” Their method borrows from epidemiology:
1) Interrupt transmission. For example, employ an “interruptor” who detects and intervenes with “infectious” people where violence threatens to break out in a community. They are trained network of leaders to talk to people who’ve committed violence.
2) Change the thinking of the next likely transmitters of violence. Using outreach workers who talk to high risk individuals, modelling, practicing better responses to situations, eg. reducing retaliations, encouraging gang members to go back to school.
3) Change group norms. Use multiple messengers to change the conversation around violence in a community.
Manage a small team? Trello: a very neat platform that lets a small team manage its workflow collaboratively.