In the public and social spheres, creating and publishing white papers is an avenue to attract new partners and funders, document a problem you want to highlight or solve, influence policy, summarize your work, and make scientific findings more accessible to non-research community. Download this template to add to your toolkit of promotion.
Government leaders should adopt the perspective of a citizen passing through the end-to-end experience of a particular process and seek to optimize the complete journey.
This quote from a recent McKinsey survey is simultaneously obvious and revolutionary. Of course government leaders should optimize citizen services. But most government processes seem so cumbersome and plodding that just a little customer service would be welcome, never mind the optimization.
Students go into debt to pay for college. In the United States, the amount of student debt has surpassed $1.3 trillion, which puts it on par with auto loans. Americans like to think the student debt is an American phenomenon, but this article from the New York Timesshows that students in other countries also borrow, and borrow almost as much.
Borrowing may not be American, but struggling to repay is.
Tax dollars at work! The U.S. government has published draft visual style guidelines for web sites. You can download their font files and color swatches. The guide is intended for government web sites, but you can apply the same advice and resources to your brochures, and white papers.
In a recent presentation, research and senior TED fellow Genevieve von Petzinger showed 32 ancient graphical symbols that she found repeated in cave paintings and hieroglyphics arounds the world. This consistent set of symbols appeared 30,000 – 40,000 years ago and remained in use for thousands of years. It’s possible that this is the precursor to writing.
In her TED talk, “Social Services Are Broken: How We Can Fix Them,” Hilary Cottam displayed a chart mapping 20 years of social services interventions in the life of one family (screen shot shown above). Color-coded shapes along two timelines mark each encounter in which schools, police and social services interacted with the mother, sister or son in a family. The inset timeline shows the accelerating nature of interactions with the system, while the main timeline shows the 50+ incidents that occurred in a single year.
I was prowling TED recently and came across Emily Pilloton’s talk about applying design to improve education in rural North Carolina. I liked her view of radically improving a public service like education through fresh application of design and distribution.