Why it’s time for the government to be part of the public conversation about health and health care

Listen more than ask.

Procter & Gamble (P&G) maintains one of the savviest marketing teams in the world. They focus on deeply understanding their customers and then tailor their products, packaging, and advertising to fill people’s needs. Traditionally, they ran year-round phone surveys and focus groups, but within the last decade started to shift their resources toward monitoring the public conversation on social media.

Deputize the people formerly known as the audience.

Openness gets people on your side. When you invite people into the conversation before an event or a product launch, it builds anticipation, makes them feel part of the process, deputizes them to disseminate your message, and provide feedback when it is inevitably in need of improvement.

Science and evidence are our kernel.

A core principle of Open Source software development is to release a product before it is perfect and invite other users and developers to help you improve it. Linux is the most famous example. By opening up the process, it has become one of the best operating systems in the world — more reliable than anything produced by a single corporate team of developers working in isolation and secrecy.

Flip the public conversation.

The White House turned part of the State of the Union press strategy upside down when they posted President Obama’s prepared remarks on Medium at the same moment they released them to the mainstream press. Instead of placing the document under embargo, giving it only to the anointed, the press office opened it up to anyone with internet access.

  • How might we, in government, “listen more than ask” as we do our work?
  • How might we learn from cultural leaders as we step into new roles?
  • If you work in government, what is an example of a “minimum viable product”? How might you share it early, to get feedback internally? How might you extend this to include external experts?
  • What can we post online to show we welcome public attention and input?

--

--

We promote the use of innovation across the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to better enhance and protect the health & well-being of Americans.

Love podcasts or audiobooks? Learn on the go with our new app.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
HHS IDEA Lab

HHS IDEA Lab

We promote the use of innovation across the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services to better enhance and protect the health & well-being of Americans.