The power of audience: ending homelessness for veterans

Veteran homelessness

“If you define the problem correctly, you almost have the solution.” –Steve Jobs*

People are drawn to work and volunteer in the public and social sectors because they want to tackle big, meaningful problems like poverty and hunger and homelessness. And then they burn out because they find that big, meaningful problems are hard to tackle. Maybe they, and we, are just defining the problem incorrectly.

Continue reading The power of audience: ending homelessness for veterans

The power of program design: housing first – Update

Homeless Paul

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently called for $100 million in the city’s 2016 budget to help change the homeless crisis in his city. At this point, this is just a budget proposal so it’s hard to know exactly this money, if eventually appropriated, would be spent.

Continue reading The power of program design: housing first – Update

The power of program design: housing first

Housing First

Many people hear “design” and think of tangible things like clothing or furniture or posters. But since design is really about thinking through the needs of your audience and how to meet those needs, then intangible things like processes and services can (and should) be designed, too. Program design is still design, and is arguably a larger part of the social and public sector than the design of things.

Continue reading The power of program design: housing first

Page design that improves economic mobility

bridge-to-self-sufficiency

In my series on page layout, I argue that documents are a core product for public sector marketers, and that page layout is a key skill for making those products useful and powerful.

Empathways in Boston has developed the Bridge to Self-Sufficiency, a proven program to help women transition from poverty to meaningful self-sufficiency for themselves and their families. Central to the transition process is a single piece of paper laid out using a five-column template.

Continue reading Page design that improves economic mobility

Extreme customers give public and social organizations an edge

Botswana road sign - Disabled Parking

Why can’t government operate more like a business? We’ll probably here this refrain as the mid-year elections ratchet up their noise. Often this question is used rhetorically to bash governmental inefficiency. But, there are real ways in which government doesn’t, can’t, and shouldn’t operate like a business.One difference is the target market.

Continue reading Extreme customers give public and social organizations an edge

City services: treating the homeless like abandoned cars

William Donald Schaefer

The other day, as I was walking to BART at the end of a workweek, I saw a homeless man sleeping on the sidewalk. He looked abandoned, as if someone simply left him there and walked away. Seeing that abandoned man made me think about William Donald Schaefer, mayor of Baltimore for most of the 1970s and 1980s.

Continue reading City services: treating the homeless like abandoned cars