Why I need to talk to Non-designers

Had a lovely chat with Szelena Gray at Rootstrikers today. A couple quick thoughts.

1. It’s astounding how “design thinking” is still a paradigm shift for people outside our little design field. A great moment in our conversation was framing advocacy as an act of empathy. e.g. Instead of, “Hey, I’m here to tell you this is why you need to fix campaign finance before you can fix the climate.” framing it as, “We do need to address the climate. Here how addressing campaign finance can help move the ball forward on climate change legislation.” By focusing on the desires of the people we are appealing to, we are better able to recruit them to our cause.

2. It’s so easy to get wrapped up in secondary research (i.e. research that doesn’t involve talking to people.) I could dig through data in Sunlight Foundation all day, but I will never have gained the insight about what people do or do not understand about campaign finance until I talked to Szelena. The kicker was this:

"Often we (the Rootstrikers) find that people will follow us all the way through the argument, and agree that campaign finance is causing this dependency corruption. But they don’t feel it is addressable, so they go back banging on their particular issue, hoping that it will pass."

Here I have been working on the “convincing people that dependency corruption is a problem" piece, when perhaps my time is better spent on "address dependency corruption is possible" piece.