My friend John Creighton and I have been discussing and writing about a shift that has taken place from an “institution-centric” world to a “citizen-centric” world. The question for public leaders is how to respond to this new ecosystem. We are creating videos about a number of different aspects to this question, and also working on some other materials that we’ll tell you about when they’re ready.

In our last video, we made the case that public leaders have to respond to new realities in public life. In our latest video, we discuss some of the pitfalls that can arise when public leaders set about engaging with citizens:

Creighton And Rourke Interview: New Challenges When Institutions Engage The Public from Brad Rourke on Vimeo.

Bottom line is that, unless an organization changes how it approaches the people it serves (so they aren’t just “voters” or “clients” but instead are “partners” or “citizens” who make choices on their own) — the tried-and-true engagement methods will fall flat. Public leaders will work as hard or harder than ever at engaging people, but unless it is in sync with the fact that citizens no longer need institutions to hold “gatekeeper” roles, it can be very frustrating for staff and public alike.

We’ll be posting many more conversations like this one as time goes on, so stay tuned! Your comments are welcome.