Government Investments, Not Government Subsidies

government investments

The terms we use matter when designing and promoting public and social goods. I don’t like the term “subsidy” when applied to government programs. It lacks the related themes and ideas that I think we want associated with public spending. The term has also taken on negative connotations that further hinder strengthening our communities through the marketing of social goods. I prefer to think about government investments.

I’ll illustrate my point with a personal story from my early career at Microsoft.

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Turning Bright Spots Into Products and Services

Turning Bright Spots Into Products and Services

Look for bright spots of success and hope among your market audience, and you may find your next big idea. Here are lessons from a story about how one underfunded aid worker used turning bright spots into products and services to change a nation.

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The power of promotion: advertising healthy eating to kids

vegetable-characters

Kids don’t often eat healthy foods. The temptations of snacks and sweets is powerful. The tactics major food companies use to promote their products exacerbates the problem. What if those same tactics were employed on behalf of vegetables?

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Organizational narrative: Lucky Iron Fish

organizational narrative example

Lucky Iron Fish is a certified B Corp working to improve health around the world, starting in Cambodia. They’ve made a short video, with the help of Google, to tell their organization’s origin story. The video is a great two-minute organizational narrative example that uses the five parts of Joseph Campbell’s mythological story form to tell an compelling story:

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Marketing free school lunch in the summer

school-lunch-girl-725x482

Low-income kids fall behind during the summer, not just academically, but in health and nutrition as well. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA),

“During the school year, 21 million children receive free and reduced-price breakfast and lunch. But when school is out, many of the children relying on these school meals go hungry. Summer Meal Programs help close that gap. Summer Meals give children the nutrition they need so they are ready to learn when they return to school.”

How do communities reach these 21 million children when they aren’t in one handy location such as the neighborhood school?

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Health marketing done right in Brazil: a case study

Brazil school lunch

In business school, we poured over case studies, stories about how companies solved, or didn’t solve, a particular challenge. So here’s a challenge for you: how would you use existing products, distribution channels and means of promotion to improve nutrition in one of the largest and richest countries in the world?

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Organizational narrative: criminals and sleuths

Crime Scene

One popular post on this blog covers the villains, victims and heroes in organizational storytelling. This triad of characters has driven stories for thousands of years. Starting in the 1800s with authors such as Edgar Allen Poe and Wilkie Collins, writers focused on the theme of crime using a specialized triad of characters: criminal, victim, and sleuth. You can use these roles in your organizational storytelling.

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City design: Redesigning failed municipal golf courses

failed municipal golf course

More golf courses have closed than opened since 2006, according to Bloomberg. Many a failed municipal golf course opened during the stock market bubble of the 1990s and the housing market bubble of the 2000s, only to suffer during the Great Recession. In 2013, 14 new courses opened in the U.S. while 157 courses closed.

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The power of distribution: free school lunch in the summer

Food Truck in a School Bus

School’s out for the summer, but it’s not always a happy time for kids.  For students participating in the federal free and reduced lunch program, summer time can mean going hungry.  Many schools continue to offer subsidies meals during the summer, but not all students can trek to school during the summer when buses are no longer running.

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The power of distribution: non-profit grocery stores

Las Ramblas Market 01

Here’s a puzzle: an estimated 33 to 40 percent of food produced in the U.S. is wasted, and yet at the same time, one of six Americans are classified as food insecure, meaning that they lack reliable access to affordable, healthy food.

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