Trying to gain political influence for your community isn’t new. Holding your first assembly inside the White House walls? That’s thinking wrong.
“This initiative allowed us a platform to be able to do this and to have common strength together across all of our ethnicities and to be able to say, ‘We’re here. We’ve arrived.’”—Lorna Randlett, Commisioner, White House Initiative for Asian Americans & Pacific Islanders
Challenge: The Obama administration had recently reinstated the White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. This incredibly diverse (and sometimes divergent) demographic group includes Indonesians, Indians, Japanese, Samoans, Laotians, Pakistanis, Chinese and many more. But they do have one thing in common: they’re extremely underrepresented in politics and policy. The Obama administration’s intent was to grow the group’s political engagement so they’d have a more powerful voice in DC. But how?
Story: The White House Initiative for Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders was an effort that had waxed and waned over several decades. But this time the White House brought 100 community leaders to the White House for a conversation, and invited us to help facilitate it.
Throughout the day, members of the administration—from the secretary of education to the secretary of transport to the secretary of commerce – gave presentations to the group followed by panel discussions.
But, rather than a Q&A session after each, we introduced Think Wrong drills to help the group create a shared vision of how they could apply what they were learning to their own communities within the public or private sector.
Our focus was on what we call “Moonshot” drills – defining and expanding shared goals. Very quickly the group saw the potential of uniting their voices and gaining political influence. They began to envision themselves not just as leaders, but leaders of change.
Result: By the end of just one day, the group had decided to form an ongoing Leaders Forum that would run independently of any White House commission and focus on issues that are mutually beneficial to the Asian American and Pacific Islander communities. They also formed both a democratic and a republican PAC to advocate for more Asian American and Pacific Islander candidates at all levels, in all branches of government. Instead of simply coming together for one day, this disparate group thought wrong together and formed a lasting, powerful alliance.
Solve Next serves government clients and organizations who serve government clients. From the DoD, to non-profits and foundations, to City Halls and the White House.
A selection of public sectors clients Solve Next has helped think wrong public service and social impact.
A selection of challenges Solve Next has helped our public sector clients think wrong about.
“How might we America’s Promise and our partners working in concert, achieve the greatest impact on children’s success?”
“What shared interests might unify and activate the Asian American and Pacific Islander community across the United States?”
“How might we equip and train civil entrepreneurs in ways that enable them to get more from their limited resources so that they can have even greater impact in the communities they serve?”
“How might we increase trust among members of the US Navy in a way that builds openness, agility, and adaptability so that the participants learn ways, means, methods, and behaviors that will enhance the dynamics and effectiveness of any future team they join?”
“How might we prevent disease before they start?”
“How might we develop and deliver systems edgefighters need in ways that are as fast and adaptive as the enemy so that our forces will be more secure and more likely to succeed in their missions?”
Want to generate your own moonshots? Try out the Moonshot Drill in our Free Brains Blog.
Contact Kim Scales to explore how to think wrong about public sector challenges and opportunities.