Independent Thinking Blog

Obama Changes the U.S. Brand

Like many people, I was impressed yesterday by how effectively the Obama transition team had worked behind the scenes to rebrand the U.S. government. By 12:02 p.m., the first tweets were showing up alerting people that now belonged to the new president.

I realize that every new adminstration, like a corporation after a merger, moves quickly to slap its name up on the door. But the Obama team has already gone one step further by setting up a blog, identifying the White House’s director of new media (Macon Phillips), and creating an opportunity for ordinary Americans to provide feedback.

Time will tell how effective President Obama and his team will be in creating a truly participatory process. Governing isn’t easy, and the mechanics of government can, at times, be unwieldy. On his Innovation Insights blog, Scott Anthony offers three lessons from the corporate world to guide government transformation: 1) you can’t just get better at what you’re already doing; 2) start small; and 3) invest in human capital.

In his inaugural address, the president said that the question “is not whether our government is too big or too small, but whether it works.” If he can successfully harness 21st century tools to bring more voices to the fore, and to incorporate into policy our collective views, expertise, and experience, our nation will surely be better for it.

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