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Beyond Branding is written by members of The Medinge Group

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January 28, 2006

Restoring democracy 

Cross-posted from Jack Yan: The Persuader Blog

has probably become the most high-profile co-author of Beyond Branding. In the latest Time he is quoted in ‘No More Heroes’, a piece on the public’s disappearing in :

Simon Anholt, an international who advises political leaders on ways to improve their , thinks the answer lies in moving away from the current obsession with polls and focus groups. “Most provide second-rate customer service rather than ,” he says. “Governments are popular when they have real problems and deal with them well.”

   The article is noteworthy for this other matter, in my view:

So what’s the solution? and a willingness to listen and adapt and help. While November’s unrest and arson attacks affected many suburbs around Paris, the town of to the south of the French capital was largely spared. There, Mayor André Santini has bet heavily on infrastructure in a successful bid to attract international firms such as Hewlett-Packard and Cisco Systems. He’s also used technology to interact more openly with Issy’s 63,000 residents. Issy was the first French town to start an Internet-based local TV service, and last December it held an for councilors for Issy’s four districts. Candidates campaigned via their own pages and discussed issues with voters through the town’s website. Such measures have bolstered Santini’s local support: he won a landslide victory in the last municipal .

   I’m awaiting the first nation that can implement this level of trust and transparency. I suggested it to New Zealand’s Prime Minister, but she passed the matter on to one of her Cabinet members and I never heard more. The has the infrastructure, though I doubt it’d be courageous enough. The are the most likely, in my book, with their binding referenda—but it would be perfect to see it done in a larger nation.
As you may recall Jack, Brand Transparency is one of about 10 terms that members of Medinge/BB and original branches of World Class Brand Network coined many years ago. Here are some of the dialogues and constructs that we have established

When it existed , The Institute of Brand Leadership compiled a 100 page booklet on Brand Transparency cases and which methods of branding could be ranked as transparent or not

John Moore and I took Brand Transparency to the UK's number 1 congress of Uk marketing professors with a view to seeing if they wanted to make it a worldwide agenda at a time when the AMA had expressed interest but wanted some professors to do likewise

Transparency is of course an issue -in fact the paramount system times system change of the networking age of global and local - whenever 2 systems come together . Historically we can also analyse the disastrous costs to society when corporate and national governance fail to interface transparently; if there are disconnects between the borders of such systems, degradation of transparency compounds as night follows day

In talking with Doc Searls and with Don Tapscott both reaffirmed transparency as the major new dynamic the world of networking needs to act on at every level we connect what previously was separated

And of course industry sectors are turning against humanity wherever there exponentials (such as these 21 crises) are governed so as to externalise the greatest human risk that sector knows more about than ordinary people or uptodate legislature

Recently we have been able to rank all forums of corporate governance recommendations on transparency. Basically if you view an organsiation as a system of productive and demanding relationships but do not value one or more of the coordinates' right to be honored by the governance system as much as another cooridnate, then your organisation will destroy trust in its purpose over time. Its always the deepest human purpose that gets eroded. lost transparency caused Nasa to lose the space ship challenger in over 50 disconnecting ways, all the while because numbers of schedules and costs were being measured but connectivity was not. The post mortem report called that poor management. Similarly the chief economist of the Work Foundation can now show 9 times oout of 10 that lower productivity in one relatively advanced country versus another is no longer a worker problem but a management transparency problem. If you don't give workers all the time to retrain that you could if you were detecting chnage ahead of time, that's nontransparent management.

Short-term big killings are made by speculators by lost transparency and its bubbling up; long-term lost trasparency zeroises the value of any organsiation or permanently downtilts a country's exchanges with the rest of the world (unless it goes to war to take them back, which is a different transparency tragedy)

what's odd is the number of boardrooms who claim not to know the systemic consequences of lost transparency; given how many companies have lost all through non-transparency in recent years, the line between ignorance and illegality is changing. And can be changed faster the more we people all use this traffic light system to do transparency ratings with as much gusto as Moody does credit ratings

One of the most intriguing things is that all the system mappping members of the transparency industry know and openly rank each other's experience-why should we want to reinvent tghe wheel on transparency!- so you don't need to listen to me on the wretched state of non-transparent governance in 90% of the world's 1000 largest organisations - go eg to or if you want really tough stuff I can put you in touch with a lady who had to get about 10 organisations that had messed up nuncear in a place over 30 years to come together and admit the mistakes at each of their boundaries before anything could be improved

This is not complex-if your corporation has not yet breached trasparency over and over. Its very simple to be transparent about whose living and learning and demanding you are wholly including in a brand's future providing you are prepared to ask everyone to help you detect emerging future conflicts, as the environment changes which is the one dynamic that the 21st C is accelerating most of all

Chris Macrae
Transparency Communities Portal-  
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