You Have More Power Than You Think

You have more power to achieve the changes you are after than you think. Not as much as you might like. But more than you realize. The trick is to claim it. And not let the boundaries of that power … Read More

The Lakehead of Democracy

When I was growing up there were a couple of small sized cities at the head of Lake Superior named Port Arthur and Fort Williams. Everyone referred to them affectionately as the “Lakehead.” Including the people who lived there. The … Read More

After the Black Out

The impact was dramatic. First we lost all our government funding as part of an omnibus bill within a massive restraint program. Then we were obliged to submit to a long onerous and time consuming Income Tax audit. The third … Read More

Preston Manning’s Barometer of Canada

It is worth paying attention to Preston Manning.  His impact on Canada over the last twenty-five years is profound.  He created a political movement from scratch and founded two political parties (Reform Party and the Reform-Conservative Alliance ) which became … Read More

Why Government Needs our Help

The central characteristic of most advocacy is to get the right proposition in front of government and to lobby for its acceptance and implementation.  However even when a commitment to action is secured there is often a failure to implement.  … Read More

Patsy George – A Happy Social Worker Has No Analysis. 8th, On Poverty

Patsy George is the social worker we all wish we could be.  She has spent more than four decades pursuing social and economic justice in Canada and globally.  She worked for the provincial government in British Columbia for most of … Read More

Sean Moore – Becoming Visible 2011 – Improving the Lives of Canada’s First Nations people

Sean Moore is Canada's most experienced practionner, advisor, writer and teacher about public policy advocacy.  For the past several years he has devoted his time to assisting civil society organizations upgrade their lobby and advocacy skills.  To that end he … Read More

Delyse Sylvester – Becoming Visible 2011 – Making Change Through Tri-Sector Partnerships

Delyse Sylvester is Director of Community with Ashoka's Changemakers.  Changemakers is a remarkable vehicle for convening people using an on line platform and mobilizing their creativity to solve tough problems.  In this context she was called to lead a Changemakers … Read More

A Gesture of Appreciation – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (50)

Is there a politician, editorial writer, public servant, fellow advocate, foundation staff person, competitor, colleague, business leader, funder, community activist, high profile commentator who did the right thing, took a stand, supported you, 'saw' what you are trying to do, … Read More

Uploading versus Downloading – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (49)

What we need is a new model of citizenship based on the act of participation itself, not on some quality or thought or right enjoyed by its possessor.  This participatory citizenship doesn't simply demand action from existing citizens; it makes … Read More

Adapting the Social Finance Task Force Recommendations to Your Sector -Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (48)

Many leaders within British Columbia's disability sector are promoting and adapting a social finance strategy that parallels the seven recommendations of the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance released on November 30th.They are doing it because they: realize the days … Read More

The Time Has Come the Walrus said to ‘Do’ Public Policy Ourselves and establish a Social Finance Task Force – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy(47)

Sean Moore, the wise and big hearted walrus of public policy first remarked this several years ago.  Most government departments have either eliminated or pared to the bare bones their policy development arms.  This means there are few staff dedicated … Read More

The Spaces In Between – The Back Story of the Task Force on Social Finance – an illustration of Solution Based Advocacy (46)

It took a million steps and thousands of relationships to launch the Canadian Task Force on Social Finance.  Here are a few of those stories. I welcome your contributions, additions, amplifications.  Let's record our history. Eight years ago Tim Brodhead … Read More

The Inner Activist – A Site for Sore Eyes – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (45)

And for flagging spirits, tired bodies, troubled minds and suffering souls. Social change can be harsh, hard, unyielding work.  It can take a toll on you, your families, your friends, your acquaintances, your adversaries…  It has on occasion turned me … Read More

What Makes a Hand a Hand? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (44)

The fingers? Yes.  Obviously, but… What about the spaces in between?  The hand is a system comprised of fingers and the spaces in between.  The fingers don't exist without the spaces in between.  Without the spaces in between the fingers … Read More

I’ll Get My Data to Talk to Your Data! – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (43)

According to David Eaves, one of the world's expert on open data and open government there are more than 300 different data sets in the federal government alone! How are they able to 'talk' to each other let alone to … Read More

A British Columbia Jewel at the G-20 Seoul Summit – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (42)

Here's a positive footnote to the recently completed G-20 Summit in Seoul, South Korea.  The G-20 leaders committed more than half a billion dollars to support social finance. That's serious money for sustainable and socially responsible businesses.   While critics and … Read More

So the Minister is full of sh##? – Tips for Solution Based advocacy (41)

I didn't even see it coming.   A big, slow, deliberate set-up.  How could I miss it?  My adrenalin was gushing.  Our campaign to get the Minister to close down a children's facility providing sub standard care was picking up momentum.  … Read More

Who invented the committee? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (40 )

A foolish question perhaps.  How about Task Force? Advisory Body?  Expert Panel?  Regardless these forms have been around for a long time.  Now a new vehicle or container is emerging simultaneously in many parts of the world. It's generic description … Read More

The Courage of Daw Aung San Suu Kyi – a Profile of Solution Based Advocacy (39)

"Saints, it has been said, are the sinners who go on trying. So free men and women are the oppressed who go on trying and who in the process make themselves fit to bear the responsibilities and uphold the disciplines … Read More

The Thousand Faces of Peter Nares – A Case Study in Solution Based Advocacy (38)

Poverty is a tough, gnarly, complex problem.  It has been resistant to countless efforts, strategies and expenditures over decades, even centuries.  It has befuddled many many sharp, smart people.  The poverty activists I pay attention to are those who start … Read More

What Can We Learn About Power and Love from Aung San Suu Kyi? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (37)

Burma will be in the news over the next few weeks.   November 7th is the 'official' election day – an election in which the party that won the previous election (1990) is both boycotting and ineligible to run.  This … Read More

Fractals – The Thumbprint of Creation – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (36)

  "Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones, coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth, nor does lightning travel in a straight line." – B. Mandelbrot Benoît Mandelbrot died this month.  Most won't know him but he … Read More

Sean Moore’s ‘Do It Yourself Public Policy’ – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy ( 35)

Since the 1990’s the federal government and most provincial governments have eliminated 'in- house' policy units. If you want to get government to do something you have to learn to do public policy yourself.   Sean Moore Stacey Corriveau at the … Read More

Power plus Love equals Advocacy – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (34)

This is another riff on Adam Kahane's delicious new book, Power and Love – A Theory and Practice of Social Change.  (Incidentally Adam is speaking at Robson Square, Vancouver on Monday November 1st.  Details below.) In an earlier incarnation as … Read More

Rubber Duckies ‘Banned’ in Canada – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (33)

Here's a great story of persistent advocacy and creative strategy.  Canada announced last week it has formally added BPA ( Bisphenol A) to the list of toxic substances.  BPA is found in clear hard plastic containers and toys, the lining … Read More

Lennon without McCartney: Tips for Solution Based advocacy (32)

Can you imagine a catcher without a pitcher? Lennon without McCartney?   A working functional democracy without a responsive, talented public service?  I can't. One of the many weaknesses of my early advocacy career was ignorance about  the individuals who make … Read More

The Keilburger Kids versus Justin Bieber – who’ll win? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (31)

When the Keilburger brothers, Craig and Marc, were born they probably fixed the broken cribs in the nursery, persuaded all the mothers to buy some rocking chairs and rallied all the babies into a cry against infant formula. All mere … Read More

John Lennon’s Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (30)

 "You say you got a real solution.    Well, you know, we'd love to see the plan. You ask me for a contribution. Well, you know, we're all doing what we can. But if you want money for people with minds … Read More

Why don’t public servants open their windows in the morning? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (29)

Ah bureaucracy – the institution we love to make fun of, to ridicule, to denounce.  Paradoxically it is attacked for its abuse of power and its bungling inefficiency.  Yes there is red tape,  yes there is insensitivity, yes there is … Read More

Which type of community organizer is Obama? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (27)

Chicago is to community organizing as New York is to apples. Big!  The birth of modern community organizing goes back to the days of Saul Alinsky and his Back of the Yards movement. His agressive strategies and tactics taught many … Read More

No survey without service – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (26)

When Paul Pholeros or his HealthHabitat team visit indigenous Australian communities to survey improvements to their housing the first thing they do is offer to replace fuses, repair toilets or shower heads.  Paul understands one of the basic rules of … Read More

La Leche League – getting Mothers’ milk ‘into the water supply’ – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (25)

The boldest, grandest and most desirable objective for people who want to change the world is to get their principles, ideas, approaches, solutions into the 'water supply.'  By that I mean their social or environmental innovation becomes so common place, … Read More

Stick out Your Tongue and Change the world – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (24)

Social entrepreneurs and dear friends Richard and Shelli Steckel are doing it again.  Their Milestones Project is changing the world one tongue at a time. The Milestones project has the rather majestic goal of banishing hatred.  They want to tackle … Read More

Ducks and Icebergs(Part Two) – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (23)

In my last post, Part One of Ducks and Icebergs, I summarized some of the challenges public servants and of course, the rest of us are facing in the next 15 years.  Here are five trends public servants are exploring … Read More

Ducks, Icebergs and Public Servants (Part One) – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (22)

Ducks and icebergs have a lot in common.  To get a complete picture you have to look beneath the surface.  Ducks, calmly gliding through the surface of the water, while busily paddling underneath.  Icebergs, massive enough as they float, revealing … Read More

Follow The Money – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (21)

I was asked by a young parent recently, what is the most common mistake made by advocates. My reply was immediate.  Not following the money trail in Government. Or, as was the case in this circumstance (he was advocating for … Read More

Le Tour du Momentum – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (20)

Summertime and the living is easy.  Except for cyclists in the grandest sporting event of the summer, Le Tour de France.  And perhaps solution focused advocates.  It may be the perfect time to maintain momentum – the secret of successful … Read More

A Matter of Justice: Social Finance – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (19)

Not sure why some non profit leaders, advocates and academics dismiss the growing social finance developments so readily and without serious consideration. This lack of curiosity is irresponsible. We can learn a lot from successful social, economic and environmental justice … Read More

The World’s Older Profession – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (18)

Imagine performing for extraordinary long hours every day of the week, in an arena full of people whose predisposition is to boo your every move.  Every weakness, every imperfection, every mistake is magnified. You can't hide.  Your friends are suspect.  … Read More

Love and Power – a potent combination: Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (17)

My wife Vickie Cammack is clear – our work at PLAN and in social innovation generally cannot succumb to 'either – or' thinking.  Instead she has infused a practice of, 'both – and'.  A paradox to be sure but one … Read More

Cutting Your Issue – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (16)

One of the first strategic decisions to make when advancing your cause is to 'cut your issue'.  Cutting an issue means being specific about what you will ask Government to do or what you want to see changed.  There are … Read More

Laura Bush loves her husband – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (15)

Laura Bush has a new book out, Spoken From the Heart and she reveals herself to be more complex than we observed when she lived at the White House. She appears as a passionate advocate for a number of causes, … Read More

When the Centre Cannot Hold – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (14)

What happens when a political leader has lost his/her credibility or moral authority? When a leader is so far down in the polls there are rumours about a leadership change?  Prevailing wisdom suggests in these circumstances the politicians are so … Read More

Look! Who’s Talking? – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (13)

The Cabinet Minister you have an appointment with may: love flying; play the trumpet in a marching band; volunteer building homes in South America; or have just been diagnosed with prostrate cancer. They may even keep a letter of resignation … Read More

Love the One You’re With – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (12)

I am encountering more and more people who are frustrated with our current elected political leadership (either federal or provincial) and are considering 'downing tools' and abandoning any effort to make contact with those Governments including contacts with Cabinet Ministers.  … Read More

A Mother’s Day Tip for Solution Based Advocacy (11)

This Mother's Day video will make you laugh, and smile.  And appreciate an effective 'get your attention' strategy.  You can put it in your tools for Solution Based Advocacy kit.  Only 90 seconds! See below or click here. Happy Mother's … Read More

Getting ‘Their’ Attention – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (10)

What do you do when the organization, government department or institution you want to influence completely ignores you, your organization and the cause, you represent?  No matter how hard you try, your efforts are met with silence, inaction, and stalling. … Read More

Regrets – I Have a Few – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (9)

While campaigning for the closure of institutions in British Columbia in the 1980's we created a team that was effective in getting media attention as a means to put pressure on our provincial government.  Through trial and error we arrived … Read More

The Original Community Organizer – Thomas Clarkson – Tips for Solution Based Advocacy (8)

On my last day in London I came away with a portrait of one of my heroes, Thomas Clarkson, one of the most successful community organizers and social entrepreneurs of all time. In 1787 he was the youngest  among 12 … Read More