A couple of years ago we produced a newspaper for an event. We had an open Google doc people could contribute to. We found it again recently and were struck how this hadn't dated at all. So, here it is.
by Catherine Cuthbert, Sarah Jennings, Kate Hughes, Charlotte Stamper, Steph Gray, Dave Briggs, Nancy Corbin, Bridget Aherne, Alun Ireland, Stuart Harrison, Elaine Walton, The Current Mrs R, Andy Mabbett, Tom Phillips, Dan Slee, Stuart Williams, Si Whitehouse, Philip John, Emily Turner, Adrian Short, Steve Finegan, Paul Hayes, Carolyne Mitchell, Ben Black and Sasha Taylor.
1. Let your staff talk to each other through something like Yammer.
2. Don’t think that residents are always wrong. Sometimes they won’t be.
3. Call it a cut if its a cut. Not a weasel word like downsizing.
4. Just because we’ve always done it is no reason to do it.
5. Ask. Just ask. Because three people in a room won’t have the answer even if they’re the Dalai Lama, the Pope and the President of the United States.
6. You don’t have all the answers
7. People don’t mind if you don’t know. However, they will if you pretend you do.
8. Finding the person with the answer to your question is easier online.
9. Give five people five minutes to brainstorm then one minute to present using a flip chart.
10. Have a slice of cake and mull over the solution.
11. Write the snotty email. Then save it. Then delete it. Then write a better one.
12. What's the type and what’s the frequency, if it's a one off don't knee jerk reaction.
13. Crowdsource on Twitter.
14. Don’t have the row. See what your boss thinks. Then get them to have a row for you.
15. Count to 10. If that doesn’t work count to 20.
16. Shouting doesn’t help. Unless you are a beater trying to flush out grouse.
17. Never argue with an idiot. You end up on the same level and to two passers-by it’s just two idiots arguing.
18. Ban jargon. Read out loud to test something makes sense. Use storytelling. Real is more powerful.
19. Stop talking about it and start doing something that may actually make a difference.
20. We're sooooo great at doing things that we're rubbish at telling people about them.
21. A picture's worth a thousand words. A video on YouTube could be worth a million hits.
22. Ask yer Dad! Want more? Ask yer Mum! Still struggling? Run it by the nippers in place of a bedtime story.
23. "We need a communications plan. Let's pay some consultants." Okay, so lets not.
24. The solution does not lie with a consultant all the time.
25. You don’t have to like everything.
26. Ask a neighbouring authority what they do.
27. Draw it.
28. Sometimes consultants can be genuinely helpful.
29. People you're nervous about getting advice from nearly always see it as a compliment when you do and go above and beyond.
30. Put up “wanted” posters around the building explaining the problem and inviting ideas and solutions.
31. If you can't explain it to a seven year old, you don't really understand it.
32. If at first you don't succeed, try again.
33. If it works, share it. If it doesn't work, share it. Help others avoid same mistakes. Say thanks. People remember.
34. Get a bunch of secondary school kids and see what they make of problem.
35. Write problem down and read it out loud to each other.
36. The reason accessibility matters is you could be disabled tomorrow.
37. Don't let perfection be the enemy of good enough.
38. Would you be happy for your mother, boss or partner to read this? if not, why are you posting it?
39. Remember. We're catering for the online majority who aren't geeks.
40. It's ok to say no, sometimes we can't do everything.
41. Ask yourself how selection of well known public figures might solve it.
42. Put all viable answers in hat. Pick one out. Do it.
43. We let people use our apps to tell us what they think, good or bad. So will you let me use it?
44. Our staff are people too. Not only that. They’re also voters and as taxpayers they’re employers too. Don’t forget that.
45. Leave the problem alone for a fortnight, then go back to it.
46. Ask people their views. But go back to tell people the answers too.
47. You can't polish a turd. But you can coat it in sequins.
48. People aren't interested in policies and strategies. What are the stories to bring it to life?
49. Ask people for things they can give you. Different people can contribute different things.
50. Don't be afraid to change your mind.
51. Offer the problem as a topic on the local government social media discussion #lgovsm.
52. Research, evidence, plan, do, evaluate.
53. You don't always need a big change. Lots of small changes can make a big difference.
54. Present the problem as a limerick with an answer in the last line. Rewrite until it works.
55. Teamwork makes the dream work.
56. Just flipping do it.
57. Look on Wikipedia and see if there’s an answer there.
58. Make sure the gadgets work before inflicting them on tetchy colleagues. We love you, but the public don’t. *grumble*
59. Still grumpy! Go offline and find people where they gather. Shops, doctors’ surgeries etc. Why should they come to some boring ass crap in the town hall?
60. Don’t build a website and expect people to go there. They may have just built their own Facebook page.
61. Golden bullets don’t exist outside of James Bond films.
62. People care about stuff that matters to them. So don’t bother asking about stuff they don’t care about. Their favourite Chinese takeaway is always going to be more interesting than a review of libraries ( via James Clarke) [possibly a wee bit misquoted ;-) ]
63. Council websites are boring, difficult to navigate and full of stuff very few people are interested in or ever access - shall we cull and just have the most searched for or navigated to stuff?
64. Trust your staff. Go on. Try it.
65. A good plan, violently executed now, is better than a perfect plan next week.
66. Residents are not the enemy.
67. Think worse case scenario, the worst national headline and a plan to stop that happening will fix anything.
68. Say the word: ‘f*** it.’ It sometimes helps.
69. Just because you tried it once and it didn't work doesn't mean it wasn't a good idea. Circumstances change. Tweak and try again.
70. Persistent people are irresistible.
71. Go with your gut. If it feels right, it probably is.
72. If you could predict the future you wouldn’t be working in localgov.
73. Go and make a cup of tea. Think about it. If you don’t have the answer go out for a double egg and chips.
74. never go from the mindset "can we just stick out a generic press release?". Make everything good, real & relevant to your audience
75. Non-comms people can do comms. Not journo stylee maybe, but yeah, they can do it.
76. Everyone is customer service. Everything is a channel.
77. Think more. Write less.
78. Try to get it right first time and you'll be more likely to fail. Instead, get something out there and fail a little bit instead, then continuously improve.
79. Put the kettle on.
80. Local folk speak passionately about a local cause and get people talking more effectively than local government folk can. Why do we try to talk for them?
81. Design for the hardest to reach people and the rest will take care of themselves.
82. Does it really have to be your way or no way? Can you compromise and make it work?
83. Recognise that everyone approaches problem solving differently. Creative, unstructured or organised? What counts are results
84. If it matters never give up, change tactic compromise even, but never give up.
85. Remember your audience or they won't remember you.
86. Leave space between things.
87. Check your maths
88. Destroy ego.
89. If using statistics, make them meaningful and in context. Oh and make sure they’re accurate.
90. Don't forget the politicians. No one voted you in.
91.'So what?' is more important than 'sez who?'
92. The medium is not the message.
93. Sometimes tech and social media aren’t the answer. Comms can also be a personalised letter or a knock on the door.
94. Don’t forget the little man - sometimes they have big ideas but just not a loud enough voice.
95. Sometimes the best solutions come from those that are not techies
96. Always work within boundaries set by the organisation you work for - its easier in the long run, but constantly challenge if limiting
97. Have social media policies and guidance drawn up by those that use and understand social media, otherwise it will fail
98. Try solving problems without using email. Emails don't carry humour and that's often needed. Pick up the phone instead
99. We make better decisions when we think like citizens.
100. Toss a coin.
101. And remember: wear sunscreen