The Power of Audience: Ending Homelessness for Veterans

“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 rural poverty or childhood hunger and ending homelessness. And then they burn out because they find that big, meaningful problems...Continue reading

The Power of Program Design: Housing First – Update

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.

The Power of Program Design: 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. Changing homelessness services to put housing first is...Continue reading

Social Design: Re-purposing Buses as Homeless Shelters

Honolulu will convert retired city buses into facilities for homeless people. Some will be made into hostel-like sleep quarters, some into shower and bathroom facilities, and some into recreation areas. Hey, doesn’t everyone want a living room?

Page Design That Improves Economic Mobility

In my series on page layout, I argue that documents are a core product for public sector marketers. That makes page layout 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 build greater upward economic mobility.

Extreme customers give public and social organizations an edge

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

City services: treating the homeless like abandoned cars

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...Continue reading

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