#trulysocial idea wins communication change award

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11th December 2014 was a good day.

It was good because an idea that made things happen was recognised with an award. The award was ‘Best Communication for Change’ at the Comms2point0 Unawards. The ‘Un’ is quite befitting in the context of why it won and I’ll come back to this later.

The folk behind the awards and supporting the communications network across the country, and those in that network, know their stuff. There was some stiff competition too and some really good work was on show and got shortlisted.

The #trulysocial idea was a real simple one. What if where we worked was a more sociable organisation that helped make a more sociable place to live, work and play?  So things like making it easier to find people, connect and share, introducing social networking, web casting of council meetings and providing web chat to help people searching and doing things on the council website.

Being nominated, getting short-listed and winning is great recognition and reward for all those that have contributed. The real winners however are those who have benefited from what happened as a result of what changed. The various stories of the #trulysocial campaign were documented in a blog.

It wasn’t until it was nominated for an award that happened to best fit a category about ‘change’ that the #trulysocial campaign was really considered a communication change activity that supported a wider culture change programme.

We didn’t spend money on posters, exhibitions or a campaign website. We mostly encouraged people to listen and spread the word that many things they do might be able to be done in a more sociable way, connect people and perhaps be more about outcomes and less about outputs. It was mostly done by stealth, which I suppose reflects the ‘Un’ part of the award in that it wasn’t a traditional in your face campaign. It probably wouldn’t have worked as well if it was.

And there is still a long way to go on this sociable journey. I still see where things can be improved, where conversations aren’t started or where listening isn’t an outcome and where things don’t meet basic expectations. Times are getting tougher but that’s no excuse for not having a conversation and seeing what might be. If ever there was a time then here we are. And sometimes this stuff works best one person at a time too.

When I returned to work on 12th December, a colleague said to me “why don’t I know about this campaign? you should have told us; you should be shouting about winning this award from the rooftops.”

The response was “you already do these things, you’re not a target audience”

So, hell yeah, we won the award and our work has been recognised nationally for doing something that really mattered.

It won’t stop here.

Phil Jewitt

8/01/15

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