To Engage Citizens, Focus on Self Interest

Government agencies are always looking to engage with citizens. However, often when government agencies do reach out for engagement, they get little in return.

So how do you truly engage citizens? I recently watched an old video from Tom Steinberg of mysociety (embed below) where he has a simple idea – “focus on self interest” – the WIIFM – what’s in it for me? The beauty of these individual self interested initiatives (like trying to get my pothole fix or FOIA request answered) often these selfish actions have positive community side effects when structured correctly.

I personally agree with Tom’s comment too often we reach out for engagement under a “too rosy” theory of democracy that everyone really cares about issues and wants to be a great citizens. People are busy – so focus on the WIIFM and make it easy to engage.

Check out the great video

Leave a Comment

One Comment

Leave a Reply

Dick Davies

WIIFM is an excellent consideration. I don’t see a “too busy” society. I see communicators who have a bewildering point of view and a low value message. Drinking too much of your own coffee can be debilitating. Trying for WIIFM gives a better chance of realting something worth saying.