For social goods like health care, the buyer and the end consumer are often two different parties. In much of health care, an insurance company or a government agency is the buyer, while the individual patient is the end consumer. At least in the United States, for-profit medicine companies exploit this split. They charge large organizations much higher prices than an individual consumer could afford. At the same time, they obscure the price of urgent treatments from patients. One way to avoid this exploitation is using nonprofit healthcare models.
In the United States, there’s an immigration problem. People are coming to our borders seeking refuge from war, terrorism, gang violence, and climate change. Many more people come than our current immigration system will accommodate. Instead of debating the partisan politics of this issue, let’s look at how a marketing mindset guides us in designing immigration solutions.
There’s huge opportunity in improving the design and distribution of government and nonprofit services. This is doubly true for making services more digital. How do you get started? Begin with a service design workshop. Read more and download free workshop materials.
As U.S. cities grow more gridlocked and Millennials adopt mobility services like Uber out of desperation, transit becomes a crucial social good. Without the ability to easily move people and goods, cities become paralyzed. We need a way of designing better transportation systems.
“That’s the way we’ve always done it.” More stifling, even deadly, words are hard to find. Changing the way we look after the social good can be hard. It pays to start small. You may not sway an entire country, but you can impact your community. It often starts when you change local regulations.
Plenty of people, including public sector marketers, think design means making things look cool or trendy or pretty. However, looking good is only a by-product. Design is the thought and intention behind creating a product or service that succeeds in filling a need. To ensure success, true marketers create systems not things.
If you design goods and services for your clients, instead of with them, you are forced to make assumptions. Inevitably, your assumptions will be wrong. With bad assumptions you risk your goods and services not meeting your clients needs. That means you are wasting your time and money, and your clients’ time and money. With basic needs like health and sanitation, you are also be risking your clients’ lives. At the intersection of nonprofits and client-centered design lies fulfilling your mission for your clients.
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.
In the US, public debts keep mounting, taxpayers keep insisting on lower taxes, and vital services and infrastructure keep declining. We need to find a new way of designing and paying for government. Cost cutting isn’t enough. We need transformation. Lean production principles can transform public and social sector work.
Can you do well while doing good? This is the ultimate question for marketer the social good. Doing well in the public and social sector means more than just money. Earning money leads to sustainability and scale, two qualities that communities desperately need and funders desperately seek.