Building an issue â€œcommonsâ€
I wasn't able to attend Great Ideas, but this morning I came across an idea that I thought was a great one. In the spirit of the week, I wanted to share:
For whatever reason, the International Association of Business Communicators (IABC) has never been very involved in advocacy work. But now theyâ€™re thinking of changing that. So far, it seems some of that consideration process has followed fairly traditional linesâ€”the board has formed an Advocacy Work Group to research and develop recommendations on how the association should move forward. Nothing I havenâ€™t seen a number of times.
But theyâ€™ve also launched the IABC Advocacy Commons, a blog that offers IABC members a chance to hear whatâ€™s going on as it happens and provide input through the process. (Nonmembers can read and post as well.) According to the blogâ€™s â€œAboutâ€ page, â€œDiscussions will center around ways to promote the visibility, vitality and value of the communication profession to non-communication audiences as well as how IABC and its members can address a broad spectrum of social, economic, ethical and professional issues.â€
What a smart thing to do! I've observed a number of work groups established to discuss a particular issue and report back to an association board. My experience has always been that input from the general membership is requestedâ€”perhaps via e-mail, a newsletter article, and the association websiteâ€”and some is received, but the comments donâ€™t tend to directly address the information that the work group has on hand as it makes decisions. Why not post information and resources as the work group considers them, and let members have the opportunity to make truly informed and relevant commentsâ€”and point out other resources or perspectives that a small working group may not have readily available?
Admittedly, not every member will take the time to read or post on such a blog, but I would think that this kind of open and more transparent process would generate goodwill and buy-in among members with a strong interest in the issue at hand â€¦ and theyâ€™re the ones most likely to be vocal if they disagree with the final decisions of a task force.
I hope IABCâ€™s Advocacy Commons is a great success. I look forward to seeing how their conversation progresses.